The most significant demographic change of the early 20th century in Germany was increased urbanization. In 1871 only 36.1 percent of the population lived in cities; by the onset of World War I, the figure had risen to more than 60 percent, with the greatest population increase occurring in cities with more than 100,000 people. The overall population of Germany also grew considerably during this period, from 45 million in 1871 to 68 million in 1915; however, the toll of the two wars was heavy. In the postwar divided Germanys, West Germany experienced its biggest growth during the 1950s, increasing from 48 million to 54 million people, while the population of East Germany remained at about 17 million. At the time of reunification in 1990, the total German population was about 82 million.
Germany’s massive industrial buildup during the mid-19th century continued in the 20th century. By 1914, for instance, German coal production equaled that of the world’s largest producer, Britain.
Numerous German technological innovations and scientific discoveries contributed to the nation’s industrial growth. In the automobile industry, the invention by Gottlieb Daimler of the gasoline motor and power carriage were complemented by Rudolf Diesel’s invention of the engine that bears his name. Daimler’s partnership with Karl Benz eventually yielded the world-famous Mercedes Benz and other car lines (see DaimlerChrysler AG), rivaled by models from Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) and Volkswagen.
In 1900 a dirigible airship was devised by Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin. From 1901 to 1930 German scientists won 26 Nobel prizes in chemistry, physics, and medicine. Although most known for giants in quantum physics such as Albert Einstein and Max Planck, Germany’s scientific community has made numerous contributions in every area of the natural and social sciences. "Germany" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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