Geoffrey K. Roberts
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The creation of present-day Germany
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The historical background to the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany can be divided into five phases, which are discussed in this chapter. The unification of Germany as the Second Empire in 1871 is the first phase. The consolidation of the new German state and its involvement in the First World War is the second phase. The third phase is the foundation, development and downfall of the Weimar Republic. The fourth phase is the period of Nazi rule and the Second World War, and the fifth phase is the four-power occupation regime put in place following Germany's unconditional surrender in 1945. Even before the unconditional surrender of Germany in May 1945, the Soviet Union sent a group of German communists (who had spent the war in exile in Russia) into areas of eastern Germany to set up local administration and to prepare the way for the Soviet occupation regime.

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