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  • - [Voiceover] Germany has certainly been in the news

  • in recent years.

  • From the bundling politics of Angela Merkel

  • to the famed beer festival in Munich,

  • known as the Oktoberfest,

  • Germany has repeatedly been in the spotlight,

  • and, far and away, the country most requested

  • by our Top Lists fans has been the Bundesrepublik.

  • So now, by popular demand, we bring you the top 10 things

  • you didn't know about Germany.

  • Germany is the largest economy in Europe.

  • It has the fourth largest nominal GDP in the world.

  • It might seem exaggerated to say, but everything

  • that has to do with the European Union and Euro

  • is highly dependent on Germany.

  • In fact, without Germany's economic participation

  • and continued support

  • the Eurozone would be a thing of the past.

  • Germany's support has allowed

  • for the continual participation

  • of substantially weaker economies,

  • such as Spain, Italy, and Greece,

  • and has kept their economies afloat

  • in the midst of horrible debt and economic mismanagement.

  • So theoretically, if Germany cut the purse strings,

  • it could send all of southern Europe into a downward spiral,

  • but that's probably not going to happen.

  • And here is why.

  • Germany is a country haunted by its past

  • and the possibility of being portrayed in a negative light

  • is something that Germans just can't afford.

  • You see, if Germany left the EU and cut off southern Europe,

  • you can only imagine the names it would be called,

  • and that's putting it mildly.

  • Because of this, Germany will be stuck

  • between a rock and a hard place for a long time to come.

  • Unfortunately, it hasn't been all beer and glory

  • as Germany has a pretty checkered past.

  • If you've never been to Germany before,

  • you probably have never heard of the stolperstein,

  • or literally a stumbling stone.

  • Conceived in the eary 1990s, by the German artist

  • Gunter Demnig, the stolperstein is a tile,

  • usually made of bronze, commemorating the victims

  • of the National Socialist regime in Germany.

  • Their names and place of residence are etched into the tile,

  • as is the approximate date of death

  • and sometimes time of deportation

  • to the concentration camps of the Nazis.

  • By now, stolpersteine have spread across Europe

  • to countries outside of Germany,

  • marking the popularity of the idea behind them.

  • According to the Cambridge historian Joseph Pearson,

  • it is not the information on the tiles

  • that gives passer-bys pause, but the lack thereof.

  • "It is not what is written on them which intrigues,

  • "because the inscription is insufficient

  • "to conjure a person.

  • It is the emptiness, void, lack of information,

  • "the maw of the forgotten,

  • "which gives the monuments their power

  • "lifts them from the banality of a statistic."

  • As a part of Germany's unfortunate past there're some things

  • you literally just cannot say in Germany.

  • That is, if you don't want to go to jail,

  • called Volksverhetzung in German, or incitement to hatred,

  • saying certain things about certain groups of people,

  • or denying the Holocaust

  • and the legacy of National Socialism

  • can actually land you in jail.

  • Some of the statute reads as follows:

  • "Whosoever publicly or in a meeting approves of,

  • "denies or downplays an act committed

  • "under the rule of National Socialism

  • "in manner capable of disturbing the public peace

  • "shall be liable to imprisonment

  • "not exceeding five years or a fine."

  • Such legal measures have been debated back and forth

  • on their merits by freedom of speech scholars

  • for several decades now.

  • But the German government seems intent

  • on upholding the measures for the foreseeable future.

  • From dark pumpernickel to light rye

  • to everything inbetween in over 300 types of bread,

  • Germany has more bread variety

  • than any other country in the world.

  • Bread forms a major part of just about every German meal

  • and with over 300 types it's not hard to see why.

  • In fact, one German word for dinner, Abendbrot,

  • literally means evening bread and indicates the importance

  • of one's daily bread in Germany.

  • Another popular sort of bread,

  • rarely seen outside of Germany,

  • is the Broetchen, which literally means little bread.

  • Which, in fact, is lesser type of bread,

  • there is a particular size and shape of bread.

  • Broetchen are typically small and can be held in one hand,

  • as opposed to full loaves of bread,

  • and are possibly the most popular type of food in Germany.

  • While most people think of beer when they think of Germany,

  • they're really missing out on all that bread.

  • Unlike the United States where piss water,

  • otherwise known as Coors Light and Budweiser,

  • counts as beer, Germany is rightly regarded

  • as the fatherland of beer.

  • Going as far back as Roman times,

  • when Germanic tribes were cited by Roman historians

  • for their beer brewing skills,

  • the tradition has continued throughout the Middle Ages

  • to the present, giving us a tremendous variety

  • of trully unique beer.

  • As a testament to German dedication

  • to a pure and tasteful beer, in the Middle Ages

  • there was legislation introduced called the Reinheitsgebot,

  • or purity decree,

  • proclaiming that only the purest of ingredients,

  • namely water, barley and hops, could go into beer.

  • Today, there're dozens and dozens of beers in Germany,

  • many of them regional, such as the Cologne-based Koelsch,

  • which is actually illegal

  • to brew outside of the Cologne region.

  • But rest assured, every type of German beer bears the stamp

  • of umparalleled German quality.

  • Germany was the birthplace of one of the greatest

  • and most long-standing religious and political conflicts

  • in the world.

  • Martin Luther, theologian and religious radical,

  • infamously posted his 95 Theses

  • on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences

  • on the door of a church in Wittenberg,

  • as a critique of the Catholic Church's corruption,

  • and shortly thereafter Europe exploded in conflict.

  • This action on the part of Martin Luther

  • is widely regarded as the beginning of the splintering

  • and fracturing of Christianity in Europe

  • as protestantism was born.

  • This led to centuries of political and religious conflict

  • accompanied by mass bloodshed and loss of human life

  • in such conflicts as the Thirty Years' War,

  • which is widely regarded as one

  • of the most destructive conflicts in European history,

  • and the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in France

  • where Catholics engaged in mass murder

  • of thousands of French protestant calvinists,

  • known as Huguenots.

  • Without the German theologian Martin Luther

  • modern Europe as we know it today

  • and indeed Christianity would be very, very different.

  • You may not know it,

  • but Germany is a comparatively young country.

  • Prior to the 19th century and throughout the Middle Ages

  • much of what was modern Germany

  • had simply been known as the Holy Roman Empire.

  • But in the 19th century, under the visionary authority

  • of the Prussian statesmen Otto von Bismarck,

  • the modern concept of the nation-state of Germany was born.

  • Germany is often referred to as the Bundesrepublik,

  • and this is because modern Germany is composed

  • of 16 federal states, which all differ from each other

  • often in subtle ways.

  • They are: Buden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Hesse,

  • Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Thuringia,

  • North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Hamburg,

  • Bremen, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Brandenburg,

  • Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,

  • and finally, Schleswig-Holstein.

  • The modern German consolation of 16 federated states

  • is relatively new in German history.

  • But each one retains a fiercely independent character

  • dating back to before the time of German unification.

  • For example, the state of Bavaria refers to itself

  • as Freistaat Bayern, which means the free state of Bavaria.

  • The Bundeslander, as they are called in German,

  • all have different customs, histories, foods,