Foundations of German history

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1871 - Wilhelm I of Prussia is declared Kaiser of the German Empire. The Reichstag, meaning "Imperial Assembly", is convened under the restrictive constitution drafted by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. It holds its deliberations at a disused china factory in Berlin.

1884 - Construction of new Reichstag building begins, under the architect Paul Wallot.

5 December 1894 - Kaiser Wilhelm II opens the new Reichstag, describing the architecture as "the summit of tastelessness", and the building as the "Reich's Monkey House". Members have little influence on the government.

9 November 1918 - Germany lies defeated, Wilhelm II takes flight, and from a window of the Reichstag the Social Democrat politician Philipp Scheidemann proclaims the republic. A mile away, the Communist leader Karl Liebknecht declares a Bolshevik-style republic.

31 July 1919 - Fleeing the turmoil of Berlin, liberal politicians adopt a new constitution at a theatre in Weimar. Parliament returns to the Reichstag in the spring of 1920.

30 January 1933 - Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor. He never speaks at the Reichstag.

27-28 February 1933 - The Reichstag is set on fire, allegedly by Communists.

23 March 1933 - Hitler rushes through a law, making him dictator of the new Third Reich.

1933-1945 - The burnt-out Reichstag is restored, but is used as a tourist office for the 1936 Olympics and later as a maternity ward. Suffers severe bomb damage during the war.

30 April 1945 - Soviet soldiers hoist the Red Flag over the Reichstag.

1972 - First attempt to renovate the Reichstag, stranded on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall.

9 November 1989 - East Germany opens the Berlin Wall.

3 October 1990 - Reunited Germany is proclaimed on the steps of the Reichstag.

20 June 1991 - The Bundestag in Bonn votes to move the government to Berlin.

1992 - Sir Norman Foster wins the Reichstag renovation contract.

June-July 1995 - Christo wraps the Reichstag in silver.