The German Empire of the First World War
The German Empire was the main opponent of the allied forces. Often seen as the protagonist due to the German forces being those that moved first to invade Holland Belgium and France they certainly were on the losing side.
The area that became Germany had been made up of various alliances of principalities cities and territories. These unified fully in 1871 after defeating France in A Franco-Prussian war. Germany had become a nation later than those in Europe that It was opposed to which meant that it came late to the expansion of European colonies throughout the World and more specifically Africa. That said they were able to acquire territories which would become the modern countries of Ghana, Rwanda, and Burundi to name but three.
The German Empire’s main territorial expansion was within Europe as part of a move to bring all Germanic peoples together. This meant that they were allied with the Austro-Hungarian Empire which had been in decline with many difficulties in Italy during the mid-19th century.
The pre-war population of The German Empire was around 65,000,000 people. This larger population led to a larger military of 11,000,000. The casualties recorded for the German army are just as devastating as the other main combatants with the largest number of deaths (greater than Russia who they had defeated). These deaths were 1,770,000 men; when we add the casualties, which were 4,200,000, we can see that over half were recorded as dead or wounded. The numbers taken prisoner were obviously higher but Germany also suffered from the nature of warfare with a large amount of troops unaccounted for.
Whilst Germany was a European powerhouse that had been up and coming with Bismark’s stronger leadership during the 19th century propelling the country onto the world stage in a relatively short time it could not compete with the forces arrayed against it and had to surrender in 1918.