|Capital||Adopts the forming nations capital (usually Berlin)|
Germany (called The German Empire under an Absolute Monarchy or Prussian Constitutionalism government) played an important role in global events during the later part of Victoria II's period and can easily become the most powerful nation in the game. There is a small catch though. It did not exist in 1836, nor in 1861, when the game begins. The player must fill the shoes of the historical statesman Otto von Bismarck and unite Germany through a combination of diplomacy and war.
Germany has a list of unique decisions including The Heligoland Question, Niederwald Denkmal and Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land. On top of that, many of Prussias and Bavarias unique decisions, can also be taken as Germany. Hesse-Darmstadts, Hannovers and Lippe-Detmolds decisions can however not be taken by Germany, even if Germany is formed by one of these countries.
Any country with a North German or South German primary culture can be used to create Germany with the decision Three Hurrahs For Germany!, but for most there will be an intermediary step, the creation of a German Federation. Below are the four entities which can create Germany itself:
It is not required to form the intermediary Federations, but it helps the project.
Any country with North or South German culture can form Germany as well. In order to form Germany, one of these nations must conquer or have sphered all the territory of both the North and South German Federations. Luxembourg, Schleswig and Austria is however optional.
One of the German Empire cores that must be owned or sphered is the state of Alsace-Lorraine, which is initially held by France. The 'Acquire State' CB can be used to take this land at any time, at a moderate Infamy cost. After Nationalism and Imperialism has been researched, the zero-infamy 'National Unification' CB may be used instead. (In theory, France can also be sphered, though knocking France out of Great Power status would likely require completing smashing France in a war, at which point simply taking Alsace-Lorraine would be easier).
When these conditions are met a decision can be taken to form Germany.
A Crown from the Gutter
Germany may also be united not by the dominance of a monarch but by the uprising of its people. Historically, the Frankfurt Congress of 1848 offered a crown of a united Germany to Frederick William of Prussia, who contemptuously refused this "crown from the gutter" due to his abhorrence of the liberal ideology of the congress. In the game, a player monarch may be more welcoming to such a movement.
Once any great power has researched Nationalism and Imperialism, Pan-Nationalist rebels may spawn in any German minor. If they succeed in occupying their target, a random Germanic Great Power that is not Austria will be offered the crown. Accepting the crown turns the country into Germany, makes it a constitutional monarchy and annexes all non-Great-Power German states. An AI Prussia will almost always refuse the offer, unless it already has a quite liberal government.
This is likely the easiest way for a minor state - not Austria or Prussia - to unite Germany. It will be necessary to achieve Great Power status first and to research Nationalism and Imperialism as soon as possible. Accepting the crown will likely create a Germany composed of all the minor states, but not Prussia if they are still a great power. Prussia can either be annexed in a series of infamy-free wars (since Germany will have cores on all Prussian territory), or reduced to a secondary power and sphered.
The Gutter Crown can also create Germany without a war for Alsace Lorraine.
The small country of Luxembourg was not part of the historical German unification, but in Victoria II it can be diplomatically annexed either during or after the formation of Germany by including it in the sphere of influence. If Germany has already been formed then a random event will fire within a few years of adding Luxembourg to the sphere.
Großdeutschland (Greater Germany)
Historically Großdeutschland, or Great Germany, was a dream of uniting all the German speaking peoples of Europe into one nation. In Victoria II this is represented by a union of the German and Austrian Empires which has potential to become the most powerful country in the world even under the AI. In the hands of a skilled player Greater Germany is unstoppable.
Greater Germany will always be formed if Germany is created by Austria.
It will also be formed if Austria or Austria-Hungary is in the sphere of the nation taking the decision to form Germany. A common tactic is to postpone taking the decision until Austria has fallen to Secondary Power status. One can start a war with the "Assert Hegemony" CB (or "Humiliate", for minimal infamy, if Nationalism & Imperialism hasn't yet been researched) and add the "add nation to sphere" wargoal after Austria has fallen from Great Power status (this necessarily takes at least a year after they fall to rank 9). If one destroys Austria's armies and occupies its territory it will have no military nor industrial score. This technique can be used to form the greater German Empire by 1846.
Annexing Austria after the formation
Many people do not realize that Austria can be annexed quite easily at any time after Germany has formed. There are two requirements to make this happen:
- Austria must be in Germany's sphere of influence
- Hungary must exist
The second condition is the tricky one because there is no such requirement for most union nations to annex their member states.
Hungary itself has low literacy, a diverse population, and mediocre resources making it less attractive for annexation than Austria's western states. For these reasons Germany may wish to use the Liberate Country goal which has the added benefit of depriving Austria much of its land and population, helping to push it down into secondary status so that it may be sphered.
On the other hand these challenges are not insurmountable and a Greater Germany with Hungary can be quite impressive. In this case, Germany should use the Free People war goal to carve off one of the less valuable states of southern Hungary. Eastern Siebenburgen is a good choice. It is out of the way and contains no valuable resources. One disadvantage of Free People is that it does not remove Austrian cores, so Germany should move quickly to annex Austria before it decides to reclaim the lost territory.
In Heart of Darkness a massive influence penalty was added to prevent sphereing nations with large populations. This prevents Germany from adding the full sized Austria to its sphere peacefully. The "Add to Sphere" wargoal will still work, but this is only available once Austria has lost its Great Power status. First attack Austria with any CB, then occupy the entire country until it loses GP status, then add the wargoal. Note that GP status cannot be lost during a Crisis war or Great War, but it can be during a regular war.
Once Austria has been added to the German sphere and Hungary exists an event to annex Austria should fire within a few years.
This method works even if Austria has already changed its name to Austria-Hungary. The key is that an independent nation named Hungary must exist.
A word of warning, however, Hungary and other countries released from Austria CANNOT be diplomatically annexed by Germany because they are not members of the German cultural union. This includes Bohemia-Moravia/ Czechoslovakia which can create an ugly blob in the middle of a united Greater Germany if it manages to get free. In order to form the largest nation possible, Germany must ensure that these countries do not become independent.
When Germany is formed, they can take the decision The Heligoland Question to gain cores on the British owned Heligoland in the North Sea.
German colonial empire
As an important Great Power, the unified Germany has a lot of potential to acquire its own colonial empire, assuming that it is formed by the early 1870s.
- Africa: To prepare for the Scramble for Africa, it is recommended that Germany/Prussia go to war and acquire some colonies from minor European powers on or near the African continent. For example: ally with Belgium early on and when the Netherlands attacks them, use that as an opportunity to acquire Dutch Ghana. During France's attempts at reclaiming Alsace-Lorraine from Germany, if the player is overwhelmingly winning they might want to acquire a French colony in Africa such as the Mauritius islands, which can be used to colonize Somaliland if there is a second-tier naval base there. Another option is taking Ghana from Denmark during the war for Schwelsig-Holstein. Researching culture techs will allow you as much as 6 national foci, which can make colonization much more effective. If such steps are taken then Germany has the potential to claim a significant portion of Africa.
- Asia: To follow the historical route of German expansion in Asia, it may be good for the player to acquire Johore or Brunei, or both, and build naval bases in the latter. Then it will be possible to colonize northeastern Guinea (which gives you the Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land decision, giving prestige) and various other small islands in the Pacific, such as Micronesia, Tonga, and Fiji. In addition, if the player builds up enough troops in Asia it is quite possible to take a region or two from China as colonial concessions.