Conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany .

former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich .

local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

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Germany, the home of Oktoberfest, Mercedes Benz, and Dark Chocolate, is a 357,021 square kilometer nation with strategic location on the Northern European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea bordering: Austria, Belgium, The Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Poland, and Switzerland. To give you a basic idea of Germany's size, it's about the size of Montana (yahoofacts, 2003) and with so many bordering nations you can see why Germany is a major trading outpost for Europe. With temperate marine weather, Germany is usually quite frigid throughout the year with wet, cloudy, and cool summers and cold winters. The terrain varies from lowlands in the north bordering the North and Baltic Seas to uplands in Central Germany, and the Bavarian Alps to the south. Germany's resources are semi-abundant and include iron ore, coal, potash, timber, lignite, uranium, copper, natural gas, salt, nickel, as well as 33% of the country being arable land (1998 est.) Germany's only problem is with its current environmental plight; coal burning power plants are polluting the air and causing acid rain, nuclear power plants are thermally polluting the rivers in the country, and raw sewage is being dumped into the Baltic Sea. (Cia.gov, 2003) But strict EU laws and codes are helping to clean up Germany immensely. .

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Germany is Europe's largest economy and most populace nation. The country was devastated by the two world wars in the earlier half of the 20th century and was occupied by allied nations until 1949 when, with the beginning of the cold war, Germany was divided into two separate states by the Berlin Wall: The Federal Republic of Germany in the west was a democratic state that sought to follow in the path of western society and became part of the EC (the predecessor to the EU) as well as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).