Berlin (/bɜːrˈlɪn/, German: [bɛɐ̯ˈliːn] (About this sound listen)) is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second-most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the centre of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.
In the early 20th century, Berlin had become a fertile ground for the German Expressionist movement. In fields such as architecture, painting and cinema new forms of artistic styles were invented. At the end of the First World War in 1918, a republic was proclaimed by Philipp Scheidemann at the Reichstag building. In 1920, the Greater Berlin Act incorporated dozens of suburban cities, villages and estates around Berlin into an expanded city. The act increased the area of Berlin from 66 to 883 km2 (25 to 341 sq mi). The population almost doubled and Berlin had a population of around four million. During the Weimar era, Berlin underwent political unrest due to economic uncertainties but also became a renowned centre of the Roaring Twenties. The metropolis experienced its heyday as a major world capital and was known for its leadership roles in science, technology, arts, the humanities, city planning, film, higher education, government and industries. Albert Einstein rose to public prominence during his years in Berlin, being awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power. NSDAP rule diminished Berlin's Jewish community from 160,000 (one-third of all Jews in the country) to about 80,000 as a result of emigration between 1933 and 1939. After Kristallnacht in 1938, thousands of the city's Jews were imprisoned in the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Starting in early 1943, many were shipped to death camps, such as Auschwitz. Berlin is the most heavily bombed city in history. During World War II, large parts of Berlin were destroyed during 1943-1945 Allied air raids and the 1945 Battle of Berlin. The Allies dropped 67,607 tons of bombs on the city, destroying 6,427 acres of the built-up area. Around 125,000 civilians were killed. After the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, Berlin received large numbers of refugees from the Eastern provinces. The victorious powers divided the city into four sectors, analogous to the occupation zones into which Germany was divided. The sectors of the Western Allies (the United States, the United Kingdom and France) formed West Berlin, while the Soviet sector formed East Berlin.
All four Allies shared administrative responsibilities for Berlin. However, in 1948, when the Western Allies extended the currency reform in the Western zones of Germany to the three western sectors of Berlin, the Soviet Union imposed a blockade on the access routes to and from West Berlin, which lay entirely inside Soviet-controlled territory. The Berlin airlift, conducted by the three western Allies, overcame this blockade by supplying food and other supplies to the city from June 1948 to May 1949. In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in West Germany and eventually included all of the American, British and French zones, excluding those three countries' zones in Berlin, while the Marxist-Leninist German Democratic Republic was proclaimed in East Germany. West Berlin officially remained an occupied city, but it politically was aligned with the Federal Republic of Germany despite West Berlin's geographic isolation. Airline service to West Berlin was granted only to American, British and French airlines.
The founding of the two German states increased Cold War tensions. West Berlin was surrounded by East German territory, and East Germany proclaimed the Eastern part as its capital, a move the western powers did not recognize. East Berlin included most of the city's historic centre. The West German government established itself in Bonn. In 1961, East Germany began to build the Berlin Wall around West Berlin, and events escalated to a tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie. West Berlin was now de facto a part of West Germany with a unique legal status, while East Berlin was de facto a part of East Germany. John F. Kennedy gave his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in 1963, underlining the US support for the Western part of the city. Berlin was completely divided. Although it was possible for Westerners to pass to the other side through strictly controlled checkpoints, for most Easterners travel to West Berlin or West Germany was prohibited by the government of East Germany. In 1971, a Four-Power agreement guaranteed access to and from West Berlin by car or train through East Germany.
In 1989, with the end of the Cold War and pressure from the East German population, the Berlin Wall fell on 9 November and was subsequently mostly demolished. Today, the East Side Gallery preserves a large portion of the wall. On 3 October 1990, the two parts of Germany were reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany and Berlin again became a reunified city. Walter Momper, the mayor of West Berlin, became the first mayor of the reunified city in the interim. City-wide elections in December 1990 resulted in the first “all Berlin” mayor being elected to take office in January 1991, with the separate offices of mayors in East and West Berlin expiring by that time, and Eberhard Diepgen (a former mayor of West Berlin) became the first elected mayor of a reunited Berlin. On 18 June 1994, soldiers from the United States, France and Britain marched in a parade which was part of the ceremonies to mark the withdrawal of allied occupation troops allowing a reunified Berlin (the last Russian troops departed on 31 August, while the final departure of Western Allies forces was on 8 September 1994). On 20 June 1991, the Bundestag (German Parliament) voted to move the seat of the German capital from Bonn to Berlin, which was completed in 1999. Berlin's 2001 administrative reform merged several districts. The number of boroughs was reduced from 23 to 12.
The complete history of German bond yields, from Napoleon to Angela Merkel
Any given day in the global bond market can be fairly snooze-worthy. Bond yields tick up by a few basis points, and down by a few basis points. Ho-hum. That’s the case today in the market for German government bonds (known as bunds). Yields on the 10-year bund declined by about four basis points, or 0.04 percentage points, to 1.12%. In other words, low.
But in my experience, the best way to make sense of
But there’s more. We grabbed estimates of long-term bund yields from data provider Global Financial Data. With the best numbers we have going back to 1815, these are the lowest German bond yields on record. Pretty remarkable.
Now, it’s best to think of these numbers as a broad estimate of interest rates. The benchmark 10-year bund that hit a low today didn’t exist 200 years ago, not least because Germany as we know it today didn’t exist 200 years ago.
Back in 1815, the dominant power in the confederation of German-speaking states, formed that year after the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, was the province of Prussia. So the numbers that start in 1815 in the chart above are estimates based on the yield of Prussian government bonds. German Imperial government bonds were used from the 1870s. Government-backed mortgage bonds began in the 1920s. Bonds issued by Hitler’s Third Reich are the benchmarks for the 1930s and immediately after the war. Through the 1950s and 1960s, a mix of West German government bonds were used. Starting in 1980 the Bundesbank’s constant maturity 10-year bond is used, which is comparable with today’s bond yields.
At any rate, if you’re going to have long-term data series like this in the world of fixed income, a certain amount of stitching and pasting is required.
Also, cutting. You may have noticed the odd gap in the graph around 1920. That’s because I axed the yield data around the hyperinflation of 1922-23, which rendered Germany’s bonds worthless. And it’s not just me. The irreplaceable survey of
The government held yields steady throughout the war years. After the war, yields on West German bonds rose, along with those of most advanced economies (although apples-to-apples comparisons are impossible because of various changes to how the bonds were taxed).
German yields most recently spiked in the 1990s around the time of the reunification. But since then, it’s been pretty much a one-way ride to the record low levels we see today.
OTHER GERMAN GOLD BOND
1. German External Loan 7% 1924 (Dawes)
2. German Reich 5% External Loan of 1930 (Kreuger Loan) Fifty Year Gold Bonds
3 German Government International 5 1/2% Loan of 1930 (Young)
4. Free State of Prussia 6 1/2% Sinking Fund Gold Bonds-External Loan of 1926
5. Free State of Prussia 6% Sinking Fund Gold Bonds-External Loan of 1927
6. General Electric Company 7% Twenty-Year Sinking Fund Gold Debentures 1925
7. General Electric Company 6 1/2% Fifteen-Year Sinking Fund Gold Debentures 1925
8. General Electric Company 6% Twenty-Year Sinking Fund Gold Debentures 1928
9. Bavarian Palatinate Consolidated Cities 7% External Serial Gold Bonds 1926
10. Free State of Bavaria 6 1/2% Serial Gold Bonds 1925
11. Free State of Bavaria 6 1/2% External Twenty Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1925
12. City of Berlin 6 1/2% Twenty-Five year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1925
13. City of Berlin 6 % Thirty year External Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1928
14. Consolidated Hydro-Electric Works of Upper Wurttemberg 7% First Mortgage Thirty-Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1926
15. Brown Coal Industrial Corporation 6 1/2% Sinking Fund Mortgage Gold Bonds Series A 1928
16 State of Bremen 7% Ten Year External Loan Gold Bonds 1925
17 Protestant Church in Germany Welfare Institutions Loan 7% Twenty Year Secured Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1926
18 German Atlantic Cable Company 7% First Mortgage Twenty-Year Sinking Fund Gold Dollar Bonds 1925
19 Central Bank of German State & Provincial Banks, Inc. 6% First Mortgage Secured Gold Sinking Fund Bonds Series A 1927
20 Central Bank of German State & Provincial Banks, Inc. 6% Mortgage Secured Gold Sinking Fund Bonds Series B 1927
21 German Provincial and Communal Banks Consolidated Agricultural Loan 6 1/2% Secured Sinking Fund Gold Bonds Series A 1928
22 German Central Bank for Agriculture 7% First Lien Gold Farm Loan Sinking Fund Bonds 1925
23 German Central Bank for Agriculture 6% Farm Loan Secured Gold Sinking Fund Bonds 1927
24 German Central Bank for Agriculture 6% Farm Loan Secured Gold Sinking Fund Bonds Second Series of 1927
25 German Central Bank for Agriculture 6% Farm Loan Secured Gold Sinking Fund Bonds Series A of 1928
26 German Consolidated Municipal Loan 7% Sinking Fund Secured Gold Bonds 1926
27 German Consolidated Municipal Loan 6% Sinking Fund Secured Gold Bonds 1927
28 Dortmund Municipal Utilities 6 1/2% Twenty Year Dinking Fund Mortgage Gold Bonds 1928
29 City of Duesseldorf 7% External Series Gold Bonds 1925
30 City of Duisburg 7% Serial Gold Bonds 1925
31 Unterelbe Power & Light Company 6% Twenty Five Year Sinking Fund Mortgage Gold Bonds Series A 1928
32 Electric Power Corporation 6 1/2% First Mortgage Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1925
33 Electric Power Corporation 6 1/2% First Mortgage Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1928
34 City of Frankfort-on-Main 7% Serial Gold Bonds External Loan of 1925
35 City of Frankfort-on-Main 6 1/2% Twenty-Five Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds Municipal External Loan of 1928
36 Municipal Gas & Electric Corporation of Recklinghausen 7% First Mortgage Twenty-Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1927
37 Roman Catholic Church in Bavaria 6 1/2% Twenty-Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds Series A 1926
38 Berlin Electric Elevated and Underground Railways Company 6 1/2% Thirty YEar First Mortgage Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1926
39 Gesfurel 6% Sinking Fund Gold Debentures 1927
40 Mannheim and Palatinate Electric Companies 7% Fifteen Year Sinking Fund Mortgage Gold Bonds 1926
41 Good Hope Steel and Iron 7% Twenty Year Sinking Fund Mortgage Gold Bonds 1925
42 Hamburg Elevated Underground and Street Railways 5 1/2% Ten Year Gold Loan 1928
43 State of Hamburg 6% Twenty Year Gold Bonds 1926
44 City of Hanover 7% Ten Year External Convertible Gold Bonds 1929
45 City of Hanover 7% External Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1929
46 Harpen Mining Corporation 6% Gold Mortgage Bonds of 1929
47 Province of Hanover Harz Water Works 6% Sinking Fund Gold Bonds First Series 1927
48 Province of Hanover Harz Water Works 6 1/2% Sinking Fund Gold Bonds Second Series 1929
49 Ilseder Steel Corporation 6% Gold Mortgage Bonds 1928
50 City of Cologne 6 1/2% Twenty-Five Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds of 1925
51 Koholyt Corporation 6 1/2% First (Closed) Mortgage Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1928
52 Municipal Bank of the State of Hessen 7% Serial Gold Bonds 1925
53 Luneburg Power, Light and Waterworks, Ltd. 7% First Mortgage Twenty Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1928
54 Mansfeld Mining and Smelting Company 7% Fifteen-Year (closed) Mortgage Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1926
55 Miag Mill Machinery Company 7% Closed First Mortgage Thirty Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1926
56 City of Munich 7% Serial Gold Bonds 1925
57 North German Lloyd Bremen 6% Twenty Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1927
58 City of Nuremberg 6% External Twenty-Five Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1927
59 Oberpfalz Electric Power Corp 7% First Mortgage Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1926
60 Free State of Oldenburg 7% External Serial Gold Bonds
61 Prussian Electric Company 6% Sinking Fund Gold Debentures 1929
62 Rheinelbe Union 7% Twenty-Year Sinking Fund Mortgage Gold Bonds 1926
63 Rhine Westphalia Electric Power Corp 7% Direct Mortgage Gold Bonds 1925
64 Rhine Westphalia Electric Power Corp 6% Consolidated Mortgage Gold Bonds 1928
65 Rhine Westphalia Electric Power Corp 6% Consolidated Mortgage Gold Bonds 1930
66 Rhine Main-Danube Corp 7% Sinking Fund Gold Debentures Series A 1925
67 Roman Catholic Church Welfare Institutions in Germany 7% Twenty-Year Secured Sinking Fund Gold Bonds Series A 1926
68 Ruhr Chemical Corporation 6% Sinking Fund Mortgage Bonds 1928
69 Ruhr Gas Corporation 6 1/2% Secured Sinking Fund Bonds Series A 1928
70 Ruhr Housing Corporation 6 1/2% First Mortgage Sinking Fund Bonds 1928
71 Leonhard Tietz, Inc. 7 1/2% Twenty-Year Mortgage Gold Bonds 1926
72 Consolidated Municipalities of Baden 7% External Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1926
73 Westphalia United Electric Power Corporation 6% First Mortgage Sinking Fund Gold Bonds Series A 1928
74 United Industrial Corporation 6% Hydro-Electric (closed) Mortgage Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1925
75 United Industrial Corporation 6 1/2% Sinking Fund Gold Debentures 1926
76 United Steel Works Corporation 6 1/2% 25 Year Sinking Fund Mortgage Gold Bonds Series A 1926
77 United Steel Works Corporation 6 1/2% 25 Year Sinking Fund Mortgage Gold Bonds Series C 1926
78 United Steel Works Corporation 6 1/2% 20 Year Sinking Fund Debentures Series A 1927
79 Vesten Electric Railways Company 7% First Mortgage Twenty Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1927
80 Rhine-Ruhr Water Service Union 6% Twenty-Five Year Sinking Fund External Gold Debentures 1928
81 Housing and Realty Improvement Company 7% First (Closed) Mortgage Twenty Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1926
82 State of Wurttemberg Consolidated Municipal External Loan 7% Serial Gold Bonds 1925
83 City of Heidelberg 7 1/2% External Twenty-Five Year Sinking Fund Gold Bonds 1925
84 Siemens & Halske Stock Corp. 6 1/2% Twenty Five Year Sinking Fund Gold Debenture 1926
85 Siemens & Halske Stock Corp. 6% Participating Debenture Series A 1930