The German Flag
The German flag has three bands of colors running horizontally across it. The colors which, from top to bottom are black, red and gold are also of equal width. The meaning of these colors has been explained in several theories. To bring the meaning comprehensively closer, the two colors, black and gold are associated with the colors of the coat of arms of the Roman Empire.
The fall of the Roman Empire caused these colors to be used in the Habsburg ruling Dynasty of Austria. They later gained their popularity as the ‘Black and Gold Monarch’ during the period of this ruling dynasty (German Culture 2).
It is worth noting that the three bands of colors in the German flag, that is, black, and red and gold, symbolized the movement which fought to get rid of the conservative European order which had been formed after the fall of Napoleon (German Culture 3). The colors are used symbolically as follows; red refers to the Hanseatic League whereas black and gold here directly indicates Austria.
The colors of this flag have a direct affiliation with liberalization in the history of Germany. This combination of colors of the German flag was directly affected by the Austro-Prussian war in 1866, World War I and World War II, in a series of events.
This includes the replacement of gold with white, the replacement of the entire flag with the swastika flag, the return of the black-red-gold flag by the allied forces, the inclusion of communist emblem, by the German Democratic Republic, to the centre of the flag (a hammer and a pair of compasses inside ears of grain). Thus the stability of the German flag was only experienced after the unification of Germany in 1990 (German Culture 7).
History of Germany
Germany has a long history since its formation as a country. His history can not be complete without the mentioning of major European and world wars. The history can be dated back in the year 451, when Germany fought together with the Huns in the fields of Gaul against the Roman Empire (Pinnow 10).
Germany in the nineteenth century was characterized by shorter wars. This is quite different with the seven year war of the 18th century because there was a seven week war in the nineteenth century which was called the Franco-Prussian war.
Germany experienced rapid victory in the seven weeks war. The history of modern Germany was shaped in the 20th century. This was the period when Germany was rising exponentially as an economic powerhouse. This was the period of the demise of Weimer Republic and the rising into power of Hitler.
Germany played a major role in the genesis of both the first and the second world wars. After the defeat of Germany in the Second World War, it was divided into Western Germany and the Eastern Germany by the iron curtain. This division was caused by the cold war between the two superpowers that had been drawn into the European war which was caused by German war campaigns.
During this period, the archaic sociopolitical structure combined with a rapid modernizing economy was of much magnitude. It was the magnitude of this combination which resulted in the unleashing of domestic and international conflicts because this magnitude was too much for Germany to bear. Thus the history of Germany cannot be comprehensively covered without the inclusion of the international community (Fulbrook 7).
Geography of Germany
Germany is a country in Western Europe bordered by the Baltic to the north, the Rhine to the west, and the Alps to the south. The east of Germany has no natural borders and this has caused a lot of problems in the history of Europe (History World 1). However, according to political boundaries, Germany is bordered by France, the Netherlands and Belgium to the West, Poland and the Czech Republic to the East, Austria and Switzerland to the South and the Baltic, Denmark and the North Sea to the North (Rosenberg 1).
The country covers a total area of 357,021 square kilometers with land covering a total 349,223 square kilometers while the remaining part is covered by water. The climate of Germany is classified under temperate and marine types of climate. Temperatures are usually cool and the skies cloudy.
The country experiences seasons of wet winters alternated by summers and occasional Warm Mountain wind (Rosenberg 12). German’s terrain consists of lowlands in the north and the uplands at the central regions of the country. The Bavarian Alps are also present in the Southern parts of the country.
The country is well endowed with natural resources which include fuel resources, metallic minerals, nonmetallic minerals and forests. Natural fuels include natural gas, coal and lignite. The metallic minerals are iron ore, copper, nickel and uranium while the nonmetallic minerals include salt and potash. In addition to this, there is also plenty of arable land. The forests provide wood for the timber industry. The strategic location of Germany creates a critical factor in trade and transport activities.
Legal framework of Germany
Germany is governed by a constitution which was implemented in 1949 and became operational to the united Germany in the year 1990. The president of federal Germany is the head of state. However, the head of state does not have much influence on governance. He is elected for a five year term by representatives called the Bundestag and a number of people who are chosen to represent the parliament. The head of Government is called the Chancellor and is chosen for a four year period by a majority vote from the Bundestag.
The Federal Germany is divided into 16 states called Lander. Each of the state has its own government and is governed by its own legislative and constitutional frameworks. The governments can pass laws affecting their Landers except laws concerned with national security, international and financial policies which are the business of the federal government.
Germany is a federal state which means that the legislature is found in both the state and the federal levels. The German constitution offers certain provisions to the citizens, which include protecting the rights of the citizens like human dignity, rights of liberty, and general personality rights among many others. Employment rights which include respect to workers and other labor laws are also incorporated in the German constitution.
Other constitutional legislatures which the German citizen enjoys include the right to informational self determination. Civil law, criminal law, data protection law is also found in this constitution. The parliament is responsible for enacting these laws which are incorporated into the constitution (233).
Politics in Germany
There are 16 federal states in the Federal Republic of Germany. The federal chancellor is called the Bundeskanzler who is the head of the executive arm of the German government. The Bundeskanzler is elected by German’s parliament which is called the Bundestag. This classifies Germany as a parliamentary system of Government just like Great Britain.
The Bundeskanzler can not be removed from office until the Bundestag agrees on a favorable candidate to succeed him. The Bundeskanzler has always been the leader of the party which has a majority in the parliament. The chancellor appoints the vice-chancellor, also a cabinet official who couples up to become also a foreign minister. However, since there has always been a coalition government, the vice chancellor comes from the smaller party.
The German’s federal assembly is called the Bundestang. It is elected for a period of 4 years which serve as a one term period. The number of representatives is twice that of the number of electoral districts in the country. The constitution allows for a party to have a minimum of 5% of the vote for it to be represented in the parliament. An alternative would be for the party to have at least three directly elected deputies.
At the federal level, we have the Bundesrat, which is the Federal Council (Fact Index 11). It represents the state governments at the federal level and comprises of sixty nine members. The members are also delegates of the sixteen states. In addition the 69 members may also form part of the chancellor’s cabinet (Politics of Germany 12).
The current government of the Federal Republic of Germany is built by coalition of two parties.
Fact Index. Politics of Germany. Not dated.12th Nov. 2010.
Fulbrook, Mary. Ed 2, History of Germany, 1918-2000: the Divided Nation. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2002.
German Culture. German Flag. 2009. 12th Nov. 2010.
History world. History of Germany. Not dated.12th Nov. 2010.
Pinnow, Hermann. History of Germany: people and state through a thousand years. Manchester: Ayer Publishing, 1970.
Rosenberg, Matt. German Geography. 2010. 12th Nov. 2010.