About Germany and its population...

The Core of German Europe today:

357,021  sq. km.  : land area of the BRD (red) [1]
+ 83,870 sq. km.  : land area of Austria (yellow) [2]
440,893 sq. km.

  • Total population: 90,540,039 ** - est. 90.5 million (15+ million foreigners)
  • Population of the US within an area about the same size as the "core" of German Europe
    (see below for illustration):est. 55.0 million*

The Core of German Europe yesterday:

 357,021 sq. km. : land area of the BRD [1]
   83,870 sq. km. : land area of Austria [2]
        ?                  : pre-WWI retaken (by 1941)
        ?                  : core territory of German-
+                           speaking Europe (by 1939)
696,265 sq. km.

  • Total population within this state: 90,030,775 - est. 90 million [7, 8]
  • Population of the US within an area about the same size as this state (see below): est. 84.0 million

Conclusion: after re-expanding to recover the territories lost in World War I as well as the core of Europe's German population, the state called Germany was not much larger than the U.S. Northeast; this Germany also had a higher population density than the U.S. Northeast in the present, even though the U.S. Northeast contains the fourth largest city in the world, New York City.

"What is Germany?"
based on a Tacitus.nu project by Örjan Martinsson, "The Historical Atlas"

While the definition of "Germany" has changed over time, the German-speaking peoples were initially bound in a loose confederation that was part of the Holy Roman Empire. Called the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, this "Germany" covered modern-day BRD and Austria, and parts of Belgium, France, Northern Italy, the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, etc.:

Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in the 16th century

The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation became a playpen for two major European powers.

  • The first was Austria, which gradually expanded to incorporate the land and people to its east - but also to the north and outside of the German-speaking realm to the south.

  • The second arose through a union, made possible via land inheritance, which matched Brandenburg with a distant crusade territory from whence the rising power would eventually be named: Prussia. In the early history of this union, there was an opportunity for the area in between these territories (below, pin):

The major trade hub therein, Danzig, was already a majority-German settlement. But all the other territories were not, and became increasingly popular for German settlers. The German-speaking realm expanded.

In the early 19th century, France attacked the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which collapsed. In its place, France set up a smaller client state in the same basic region. The arrangement was short-lived, because Austria and Prussia eventually defeated France in 1815.

In the aftermath of the war, Austria and Prussia created an alliance that included several other German states. The alliance, called the German Confederation, had boundaries that were nearly identical to the earlier Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

= Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation/German Confederation limits
= Prussia
= Austria (in union with Hungary)

By 1848, famine, social unrest and anti-monarchical radicalism had spread throughout Europe. Ethnic Germans in Denmark pushed for a liberal constitution and rallied against the Danish crown. Prussia jumped in to support them, hoping to expand its influence. But peace was soon restored.

In 1864, a major conflict broke out between Prussia and the Danish crown. Prussia recruited Austria to its side and defeated the Danes. But soon thereafter, Prussia and Austria began fighting over the spoils of war, which triggered a German "civil war" in 1866. The conflict, called the Austro-Prussian War,, led to the dissolution of the German Confederation and forced most German states to take either Prussia or Austria's side. The conflict did not last long. In less than two months, Prussia was victorious, and its leaders urged peace to prevent bitter tensions with those who had lost. In the aftermath of the war, Prussia annexed several German states that had sided with Austria:

In the post-war period, France tried to push Austria into a new war with Prussia, hoping to watch the giants clash and fall. But Austria concentrated its rebuilding efforts in a southeastern direction, accepting its fate as a patchwork-ethnicity empire and even establishing a union with Hungary.

In 1870, France succeeded in instigating its own war with Prussia. To France's surprise, Prussia rallied most of the remaining independent German states to its side and quickly overwhelmed France in battle. In the aftermath, Prussia was able to establish a united "Germany", although it did not include German Austria or its empire:

By 1914, Austria's frontier was in rebellion. Serbia interferred to support the rebels and conflict broke out between Serbia and Austria. Prussia-led "Germany" backed Austria while Russia, supported by France, backed Serbia. Thus began World War I, which was followed by revolution. In Prussia-led "Germany", a republic was declared in the city of Weimar leading to a new "Germany", sometimes called the "Weimar Republic". It quickly signed an armistice in 1918 and, later, the ill-fated Treaty of Versailles, which stripped the new "Germany" of much of its resources and population. In a seperate treaty, Austria surrendered its empire and was banned from merging into "Germany". Austria also lost a German-speaking region that is still a part of Italy to this day (South Tirol).

In 1933, the National Socialists came to power in Germany. Under their guidance, a new "Germany" was built that included the core of Europe's German-speaking population, including Austria, and the boundaries of the old, Prussian-led German state. These ambitions triggered World War II:

Germany's borders before the invasion of Poland,
which led to war with France and the United Kingdom.

Below: regions of German-speaking peoples in 1939 (green)
and the boundaries of the old German Confederation (red)

By 1945, "Germany" had lost the war and ceased to exist as an independent and sovereign power:

Today's "Germany", the BRD, is much smaller than any version before 1945 and does not include Austria. In fact, it is about the same size as the German-administrated region that was briefly occupied by France in the early 1800s. The percentage of Europe inhabited by native German-speakers is also much smaller than in the past.

   The BRD ed and Austria ye

Historical population figures:
based on a Tacitus.nu project by Örjan Martinsson, "The Historical Atlas"

A historical "Germany" 
population 1000-1800
(in Holy Roman Emp. of German Nation/
German Confed. borders)
yearpop (mil.)

Historical population 
of a "Germany" 1800-1870
(within post-1870 borders)


Historical population of Germany, 1871-1939
(using state-factual, changing borders)

191064.9(58.5 within the borders of 1919)
193366.0(65.2 without Saarland)
193979.8(69.5 within the borders of 1937)
193987.1(including Bohemia-Moravia)

West Germany

East Germany


Federal Republic of Germany
(Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD)


Population of individual states within the German Confederation:

(total in millions)

Population of states within Germany 1870-1939:

(total in millions)

Population of states inside of BRD Germany:

(total in millions)