Germany: Did you know?                                          

  • Germany participated in, and suffered through, the devastating results of World Wars I and II, and many decades of communist influence. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars which left the country occupied by the US, UK, France and the Soviet Union in 1945.


  • Many large cities have been rebuilt since the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the unification of East and West Germany in 1990.


  • Today Germany is one of the most populous and affluent democracies in Europe. Germany is a modern, cosmopolitan country and its society is shaped by a plurality of lifestyles, cultural diversity, a high standard of living and freedom of choice.


  • The Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in Disney World, Florida.


  • As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political and defense organizations.


  • Three of the world’s most famous music composers are German: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827) and Johannes Brahms (1833-1897).

  • Six popular breeds of dogs originated in Germany: the poodle, schnauzer, German shepherd, Doberman pinscher, Great Dane and dachshund. Each was originally bred to do a specific kind of work. The poodle retrieved ducks for hunters and got its name from the German word for water dogs (puddlers). The dachshund was used to hunt small animals such as badgers, which it could follow into narrow burrows. Schnauzers were trained to herd cattle and sheep and to kill rats. German shepherds were also bred to tend sheep. In the 1500’s, the Great Dane served as a guard dog. In the 1800’s, Ludwig Dobermann bred the Doberman pinscher to be a small guard dog.

  • Many fairytales originated in Germany. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first published by the Brothers Grimm (image). The story came from a legend of the Hesse region of Germany where Snow White was said to have hidden among seven hills. In the 1800’s, few German people could read and most stories were told verbally. The two brothers traveled around the Hesse region and wrote down many of the folktales they heard. The Brothers Grimm also published Hänsel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood.