European power struggles plunged Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left it occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the approach of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in Western economic and security organizations, the EU and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990.
Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced the euro. Germany is Europe's largest economy and most populous nation and remains a member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations.
long form: Federal Republic of Germany - short form: Germany
local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland - local short form: Deutschland
former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich