Historical Perspective

Germany had its origin from tribes that inhabited the Baltic coast. These tribes began to migrate south into the rest of continental Europe reaching the Northern parts of present day Germany by 500 B.C. and to the rest of Germany by 100 B.C. Before long they came into contact and conflict with the expanding Roman Empire. In 9 A.D. continued Roman presence along the Rhine caused the Cherusci tribe of Germans under Arminius to stage an ambush in the Teutoburg Forest, annihilating several Roman legions in the process. This marked the end of Roman expansion into German territory forever. After the fall of Rome in the 5th century A.D., various Germanic tribes flooded into the rest of Europe. The Franks among them eventually achieved primacy, establishing under Charlemagne in 800 A.D. the Holy Roman Empire which covered much of central Europe. After the reign of Charlemagne the Empire essentially ended and split into many parts. However various German Kings continued to hold the nominal title until the 19th century. Germany for the most part after the reign of Charlemagne was a loosely affiliated series of Duchies and city-states, among these Prussia and Austria emerged as the most powerful. This condition continued through many centuries until 1870 A.D. when Otto Von Bismarck united them under the Prussian Monarchy. In the 20th century Germany became embroiled in two world wars which saw it endure the end to the Monarchy, the rise and fall of Nazi fascism, division under the Cold War, but finally emerged as a unified country. Becoming an economic power in Europe, and a major partner in the European community.

The area now known as Germany had originally been settled by Celtic tribes. However, between 1000 B.C. and 100 B.C. Scandinavian tribes around the Baltic gradually spread throughout Europe and even into Africa. Amongst the various tribes, the Visigoth migrated into Spain, the Vandals into North Africa, and the Angles and Saxons into England. In the process they conquered the Celts and pushed them further west and into the Roman Empire. Around 100 B.C. they also came into contact with the expanding Roman Empire themselves. These Scandinavian tribes were called Germans by the Romans even though during this period they did not all share a common culture, political units or even a common language. The Romans managed to conquer up to area of the Rhine River and recruited various Germanic tribes into their armies. Among these recruits was one named Arminius. When he returned home after his service, the treatment of his people by the Romans upset him and he set about to ambush the Roman governor Varus and his army detachment. So in 9 A.D. on a march to their winter camp through the Teutoburg Forest, three full legions consisting of 30,000 men were annihilated over three days by Arminius and his forces. Barely 5000 Romans survived the ordeal. This event marked the end of Roman ambitions into German territory henceforth. Roman Emperor Augustus was heard to cry "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!" onto his dying day. The Romans demarcated their territory just east of the Rhine River with 300 kilometers of fortifications to protect themselves from these untamable barbarians.

From the 2nd to the 6th century A.D. the Germanic tribes continued to expand as the Roman Empire began to crumble. The Franks amongst them settled in Gaul (France) but also managed to conquer the other tribes establishing the Merovingian Dynasty from 500 A.D. to 751 A.D. It is during this time that the Germans adopted Christianity. The Frankish Kingdom continued to expand gaining more power reaching its zenith under the rule of Charlemagne (768 A.D. to 814 A.D). He established the Carolingian dynasty and formed what was called the Holy Roman Empire. It held territory from the Spanish marches into central Germany and south into the Northern half of Italy.

Frederick Barbarossa

After Charlemagne's death the Empire broke up into three parts. The Eastern Franks, which became France, the Eastern Franks, which became Germany, and the Middle Kingdom which was the territory between the two. However pressures from invading Vikings and Magyars from the North and East caused the Eastern Frankish Kingdom to break up into a number of small Kingdoms and city-states. These polities were loosely affiliated and elected a King Conrad I (911 A.D. to 918 A.D) from the Duchy of Saxony. He established the Saxon dynasty and his grandson Otto I also known as Otto the Great managed to halt the Magyars westward expansion and also managed to absorb the Middle Kingdom. He then took the title Holy Roman Emperor. However this move also caused the German Kings who was still an elected position to spend too much involved with Italian politics and to neglect the governing of Germany itself. The Saxon dynasty ended in 1024 A.D. and power pasted to a Frankish tribe who establishes the Salian dynasty (1024 A.D. to 1125 A.D.) This period saw the various duchies grow in power and a break down in relationship between the King and the Church, which further weakened an already ineffectual monarchy. In 1138 A.D. the Kingdom again was rested by another Duchy of Swabia who established the Hohenstaufen Dynasty. One of its Kings, Frederick Barbarossa attempted to reassert imperial power which resulted in a war against the Papacy and its allied states. In the end he failed in his goal despite winning many battles, and in fact his years at war in Italy allowed the other German princes to become even stronger. They began to colonize eastwards into Slavic territory. The Order of the Teutonic Knights was also formed at this time being the most notable in the effort to the eastward colonization. The various German principalities eventually became more and more fragmented as inheritance split each polity into ever-smaller parts. This period was called the Great Interregnum (1256 A.D. to 1273 A.D.)

Frederick the Great

Two-handed Swordsmen

The anarchy of the Great Interregnum ended when Rudolf of Habsburg (in Austria) was elected King-Emperor. The Habsburgs with only a few interruptions continued to rule Germany until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 A.D. It was by no means a fast recovery nor did it mean the Emperor had any real power, in fact the Habsburgs were more concerned with enriching their family holdings then governing Germany. Some principalities degenerated to no more then robber barons that would rob travelers in their territory in order to sustain their holdings. However by the 16th century A.D. that Germany due to its central location in Europe became extremely active in international trade. Local alliances between various polities saw the rise of the Hanseatic League and Switzerland as a virtually independent state from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499 A.D. Intellectual growth in Germany accompanied the expansion and economic empowerment. Several Universities were founded during this time, as well as the invention of movable type by Gutenberg in 1450 A.D. During this time Maximillian of Austria created the Landsknecht in order to protect his holding in the Netherlands against France. These troops became the most sought after mercenaries by the European powers because of their excellent training and reputation.

The intellectual climate and the changing social-economic condition eventually led Martin Luther, a professor of theology at Wittenberg University in Saxony to post his theses on a church door in 1517 A.D. This set off the Protestant reformation and popularized by the printing press. Martin Luther also translated the bible into his particular dialect of German, which was instrumental in creating a national language for all of Germany. However religious clashes between the Protestants and Catholics were inevitable. Various principalities clung to Catholicism while others promoted the Protestant cause. This resulted in the Thirty Years war in 1618 A.D. France also invaded during this time in their policy to keep the Habsburgs in check, and the Ottomans were also putting pressure on the Germans from the east besieging Vienna in 1683 A.D. However by 1718 A.D. the Germans were ultimately successful in containing the Ottoman expansion concluded with the Treaty of Passarowitz.

After peace was established Austria emerged as the most powerful German state followed by Brandenburg, Saxony and Bavaria. In 1701 A.D. Brandenburg became known as Prussia when its ruler crowned himself Frederick I of Prussia. His descendents were all capable rulers and proceeded to make many military and governmental reforms, transforming what was a small Kingdom into one of the great powers of Europe. Frederick II, also known as Frederick the Great in 1740 A.D. seized Silesia from Austria, and again in 1772 A.D. took part in the first Partition of Poland, linking previously separated Prussian territories. However neither Prussia or Austria was able to take over one another nor take total control of Germany completely. This period was also known as the Age of Enlightened Absolutism. Literary illuminaries such as Goethe, musical prodigies like Mozart contributed their genius to the flowering of Germany culture.

During the 17th century, the French policy in Germany was to keep Austria and Prussia divided and thus weaker. They sought to do this by manipulating the smaller German states and by intermittent military incursions. For the most part they were sucessful in keeping the Germans in check. However, after the French revolution, Napoleon in 1792 A.D. decided to invade Germany en-masse. By 1794 A.D. the Germans looses the Rhineland to Napoleon and the French occupied it for 20 years. Austria also continued to suffer defeats at the hands of the French. In 1806 A.D. Prussia declares war on the French but again the Germans looses territory. This forced Prussia to finally ally with Austria and also Russia to deal with the French. The Prussians also decided to take on a series of military reforms and by 1813 A.D. finally managed to defeat Napoleon and drive the French out of Germany. However the French occupation was not all bad for Germany, its consolidated the 300 odd independent German states into thirty-eight and introduced some positive economic reforms.

Political unification of these still numerous states was still not achieved until Otto Von Bismarck. He was a Prussian diplomat and managed to engineer a war with Austria in 1866 A.D. in which Prussia won within months. However he decided to impose a lenient peace on Austria realizing they may be useful as an ally in the future while dealing harshly with the other German states that resisted Prussia absorbing their territory for Prussia. In order to incorporate the remaining independent states, Bismarck engineered another patriotic war but this time against the French in 1870 A.D. to retake territory previously lost to France in the 17th century. This culminated with the crowning of Wilhelm I and the establishment of the Second Reich. This being the second time Germany was united under a strong leadership. The First Reich being the Empire established back in Charlemagne's time.

Kaiser Wilhelm II came to power in 1890 A.D. He was envious of England's naval power and decided to increase armament production. Combined with his decidedly aggressive foreign policy all he managed to achieve was a ring of hostile states around Germany. So by 1914 A.D. with the assassination of the Arch Duke Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A series of alliances pulled the world into a war, which eventually lead Germany into a long drawn out war of attrition, and defeat by 1918 A.D. The allied powers imposed the humiliation Treaty of Versailles upon Germany, forcing the Kaiser to abdicate. Germany became a republic but it was beset with political impotence, and the country was shackled with debt and economic woes.

Otto Von Bismarck

Ju-87 Stuka Drive-bombers

It was in this environment that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi's came to power on a platform that blamed the peace treaty, foreign powers, communists, the republican style of government and in particular Jews as responsible for all of Germany's problems. The republic was transformed into a dictatorship and Germany set out on a path of rapid arms build up. Hitler consolidated his power by terror. He also instituted a campaign of racial purification, sending millions of Jews amongst others whom he found undesirable to be exterminated or as slave labor in concentration camps. Hitler achieved diplomatic successes abroad in regaining territory lost in the First World War and won over much the German population but his ambitions were far greater. The Germans developed a new form of warfare called Blitzkrieg or Lightning War, which centered on massive concentrated use of air power and armored fighting vehicles to win a fast and decisive war. They had some initial successes by defeating Poland and France quickly, and in North Africa under the leadership of brilliant Generals like Erwin Rommel. The Second World War came into full swing when England entered the war, and Hitler invaded Russia. Hitler made inroads against England and Russia initially but eventually began to get bogged down. Culminating in a major defeat at Stalingrad. Certain elements of the German high command began to doubt the wisdom of Hitler's war and attempted to assassinate him but were unsuccessful. America entered the war on the side of England and eventually the allies defeated Germany in 1945 A.D. ending six years of war.

Section of Berlin Wall

Before and during the war German scientists had made many advances in science. Some of them left Germany before the war, most notable was Albert Einstein, being Jewish fled to America. His Theory of Relativity ushered in the Atomic age. Others such as Werner Von Braun who developed the V2 rocket, surrendered to the Americans after the war, and became later instrumental in the American Space race.

Germany's defeat in World War Two resulted in the country being divided between the two sides that would develop between the allies. Russia's communist regime opposing the western allies, each gaining a part of Germany under its sphere of influence in what became known as the Cold War. The city of Berlin was literally divided by a wall that went up in 1961 A.D. and remained a symbol of a divided Germany until 1989 A.D. with the collapse of Communism and the end to the Cold War. During the years after the Second World War, the democratic and capitalist side of Germany grew to economic prominence in Europe and an important ally for western democracies. After reunification Germany continues to be economically vibrant and an important partner in the European community.

Overall Strategy for Players Using Germany

Tiger at the Gate
by David Pentland
Germany in Rise of Nations is a powerhouse in the later ages, but by no means do they have to wait till then to get into the action. Their unique infantry is superior to other infantry, and is produced faster and at a lower cost. This can be used for a devastating early attack by flooding the enemy with these units to disrupt their economy from the ancient to the gunpowder age. This allows them to keep up the pressure all game. Their unique infantry units are also very effective against cavalry so they can be very useful as a defensive force against the more traditional cavalry rushing units.

Their wood and gold collecting bonuses will help the German player get ahead in developing their economy and produce the units they will need to sustain their attack in the early ages. It will also help with getting to the later ages where Germany can wield its greatest power on the enemy. However careful balancing between continued harassment and building up one's economy should be exercised to get to the later ages relatively quickly. This is important in providing a comfortable lead-time to put together a sizable modern age force to put the hammer to the enemy. What a hammer it is too, the Germans can produce air units much quicker then normal, combine that with their superior unique tank units. A massive air force with powerful land forces can be amassed to take on and take out just about anything an opponent can throw at you with ease. Truly living up to the concept of Lightning Warfare popularized the real Germans in World War Two. The German U-boats so called wolfpack were the scourge of allied shipping. In Rise of Nations, they can produce submarines and fireships (the submarine's predecessor in the game) at a significant cost reduction. This will allow the German player to create an effective defensive naval force to prevent sneaky opponents from landing deep into your area while concentrating most resources into their land and air units. The cheap German naval units will also be useful for conducting a harassment campaign against enemy shipping and to win the battle as far as economic cost ratios are concerned. However, concentrating too much on a navy to attack land units is not recommended since the resources would be better off spent on a more devastating land and air force.

Germany as modelled in Rise of Nations

Unique units

  • Heavy Infantry Line
Solduri (Ancient Age)
Superior heavy infantry, good against cavalry.

Barbarian (Classical Age)

Vandal (Medieval Age)

Landsknecht (Gunpowder Age)

  • Gun Infantry Line
Volksgrenadier (Modern Age)
More effective infantry.

  • Tank Line
Tiger II (Modern Age)
Hard hitting fast tank good against infantry.

Leopard (Infomation Age)

  • Machine Gun Line
MG-42 Machine Gun Crew (Modern Age)
More effective machine gun.

Unique powers (Power of Industry)

  • Granary, Lumber Mill, Smelter available at start and research available sooner
  • Granary, Lumber Mill, Smelter production upgrades 50% cheaper
  • Building completion bonuses +50%
  • Cities gather extra +5 food, timber, metal
  • Submarines and fireships cost 25% less, built 33% faster
  • Build air units 33% faster
  • Receive two fighters free everytime a New airport is built

Written By: One Dead Angel

References,, Wikipedia, Historica Germania, Spartacus Educational, GAFA.