The German Empire (1871 - 1918). Historical Maps and Plans

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Germany has been given various names throughout its history but the one to be remembered is of the period 1871-1918 when it went by the glorious name of the ‘’Imperial Germany’’. It was called so for the Empire consisted of 27 constituent territories most of which was governed by the respective royal families. This unique subdivision, totally differing from the present days, can be seen on the old maps of Germany, available at this site. Even though Prussia contained most of the German territories yet its political and cultural influence had diminished and the leaders of Prussia were replaced by leaders from different parts of Germany. However Prussia accounted for 64 percent of the empire’s territory and 60 percent of its population. The three large neighboring countries of the Empire were all its greatest rivals: Russia to the east, Austria- Hungary to the south east and France to the west.
Historical maps of the German Empire display is situated in central Europe comprising of North German Plain, the Southern German Highlands and the Central German Uplands. The empire had no less than 26 territories. The empire had a total area of 540,858 square kilometers. Its highest point was the Zugspitze Mountains reaching an elevation of 2,962 m. The Danube, the Oder, the Elbe, the Weser and the Rhine were its major rivers. The empire started with a population of 41 million people and by 1913 it had increased to 68 million, consequently the expansion of German cities led to rural areas. Majority of the population spoke German 92% and only a handful spoke Polish.

The German Empire became a great power with the world’s strongest army, large railway networks and rapidly growing industrial base. The German Empire had dreamed of colonial expansion and imperialism since 1848 and Bismarck started the process acquiring German New Guinea by 1884. However further colonial expansion in Asia and Pacific caused friction with Britain, Japan, Russia and U.S. on a larger scale. Railways developed and by 1880 Germany had 9,400 locomotives carrying 43,000 passengers. Industries flourished and competed with the so called invincible industries of Britain. The advancement of German industrialization and technologies can be categorized in four ‘waves’- the railway wave (1877–86), the dye wave (1887–96), the chemical wave (1897–1902), and the wave of electrical engineering (1903–18) and during the World War I the Germans switched to war production.

Germany was blamed for starting the war or at least provoking it. The war began and Germany first attacked its arch enemy and neighbor, France. Unlike Russia and Britain, France had joined the war solely for revenge especially for the loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany in 1871. In the East, Germany planned to annex Poland and eliminate 3 million Poles and Jews to make room for German settlers. On the western front the German armies fought against France and Britain but it was a futile struggle as Austria and Turkey constantly demanded troops to be sent. Towards the eastern front the Germans became victorious with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The declaration for unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917 was made to strangle the British, the operation was a failure but it brought the United States into the war along with its large supply of men, armaments, foods and money. By the time the Americans entered in full vigor, Germans had started retreating in August. Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire had completely collapsed. The imperial German Empire met its end with the November 1918 Revolution, the emperor as well as the ruling kings and dukes abdicated their throne, establishing the rule of the republic government.
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Battle at Metz in August 1870 site map, 1905
8.06 x 6.17 inch, 205 x 157 mm
Bautzen city map, 1911
4.08 x 5.99 inch, 104 x 153 mm
Berchtesgaden and closer environs map, 1906
6.08 x 8.28 inch, 155 x 211 mm
Berchtesgaden and farther environs map, 1906
8.23 x 6.12 inch, 209 x 156 mm
Berlin and environs map, 1902
8.91 x 6.15 inch, 227 x 157 mm
Berlin city map, 1897
25.47 x 19.55 inch, 647 x 497 mm
Berlin city map, 1902
27.28 x 17.36 inch, 693 x 441 mm
Berlin city map, 1903 (legend in Russian)
10.33 x 8.35 inch, 263 x 213 mm
Berlin, city centre map, 1906
9.36 x 6.13 inch, 238 x 156 mm
Berlin, city centre map, 1911
10.45 x 6.06 inch, 266 x 154 mm
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