German Empire

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The German Empire (German: Deutsches Reich,[1] called by some German historians as Kaiserlich Deutsches Reich or Kaiserreich) refers to Germany from the unification of Germany and proclamation of William I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871 to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of William II (28 November 1918). Deutsches Reich remained the official name of Germany throughout the Weimar period and most of the Nazi period until 1943, when it was changed to Großdeutsches Reich ("Great German Empire").

During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire emerged as one of the most powerful industrial economies in the world and a great power, until it collapsed following its military defeat in World War I and the concurrent November Revolution. The most important bordering states were Imperial Russia in the east, France in the west, and Austria-Hungary in the south.

The German Empire consisted of twenty-six constituent territories (if Alsace-Lorraine is included) but the Kingdom of Prussia contained most of the population and most of the territory of the Empire.


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