Thursday, April 5, 2012

Countries: Germany

Countries Around the World: Germany

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. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent 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 key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became 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 a common European exchange currency, the euro.

Word List:
  • to immerse: spend most of your time doing it or thinking about it
  • devastating: causing a lot of harm or damage
  • advent: the introduction of a new product, idea, custom, etc.
  • considerable: large in size, amount, or degree

Country Information
  • location: Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea; bordered by Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland
  • capital: Berlin
  • official language: German
  • type of government: federal republic
  • total area: approximately 357,021 sq km
  • climate: temperate and marine with cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers
  • terrain: lowlands in the North, uplands in the center and the Bavarian Alps in the South
  • major bodies of water: Rhine River, Elbe River, Danube River, Havel River, Spree River, Baltic Sea and North Sea
  • natural resources: includes coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber and arable land
  • industries: includes iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, shipbuilding and textiles
  • agricultural products: includes potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cabbages, cattle, pigs and poultry
Vocabulary
  • European Union (EU) — A family of democratic European countries that are committed to working together for peace and prosperity. Germany is a part of the European Union.
  • euro — The currency of Germany and of several member nations of the European Union.
  • theory of relativity — A famous scientific theory, developed by Albert Einstein, often expressed mathematically as E=mc2.
  • Nazi — A member of a political group, led by Adolf Hitler, that persecuted and killed six million European Jews.
  • Reichstag — The name of the German parliament and the building in which they work.
  • Communist — A member or advocate of a political and economic system called Communism, in which private property is abolished and all goods are owned jointly.
  • currywurst — A dish of pork sausage that is cut into small pieces and seasoned with ketchup and curry powder.
  • curry — “curry powder,” a seasoning prepared from cumin, coriander, turmeric and other spices.
  • harpsichord — A musical instrument that resembles a piano.
  • zither — A musical instrument that is composed of a flat sound box with strings stretched over it, which is played horizontally with the fingertips or a plectrum.
  • Reformation — Protestant Reformation, a religious movement started by Martin Luther in the early 16th century that sought to change what many Christians thought to be injustices and corruption in the Christian Church.