Among the empires that had a significant impact on the history of the Serbs is the German Empire. The idea of the German Empire, the German domination over Europe, started the two world wars, when the Serbs suffered heavily, but in the peaceful times, the German economic and cultural influence on Serbia was always quite substantial. Germany was an empire for less than 50 years (1871–1918), after it was united and until its defeat in the WWI. The real creator of the German confederation was a Prussian politician, Otto von Bismarck, curbing Austrian power and defeating France, thus creating the possibilities for the German principalities to unite. Bismarck also carried out some fundamental reforms, rendering Germany a strong economic power.
The new king, William II dismissed Bismarck, opening up a new period of more aggressive politics. Within the state there were strong social protests against the authoritarian position and the abuse of the military power. The socialists political pressure was increasing and in the First World War all the remaining power of the German emperor was in the hands of the military – which lost the war.
Reich, a German word for the empire, was used long after the fall of the German Crown, until 1943. Аdоlf Hitler, a Nazi leader, called his state the Third Reich, after the First one – the German Roman or the World Roman Empire, which was only German but generally had the German emperors, and the Second German Empire.