The Reichstag resides in Berlin, Germany as a symbol of the turbulent and intricate
history of the German people and their government. From its original construction beginning in
1884 through the final reconstruction in the 1990’s, the Reichstag is a national symbol that tells a
story consistent with the rise and fall of the German Third Reich and Germany’s eventual
reunification that would make it the official home of the German Bundestag in 1999.
The history of this building begins in 1872 with a newly united Germany (Reichstag,
2001). With the German Parliament, or “Reichstag”, trying to meet in buildings that could not
accommodate their size, it was decided that a building should be constructed solely for the
purpose of housing the Reichstag (Reichstag, 2001). This is where the building gets its name.
The Reichstag was the name of the original German Parliament of the German Empire. The
German word “reich” translates into English as “empire”. That year, 1872, a contest consisting
of 103 contestants was held to find a suitable design for the new building (Reichstag, 2001).
However, the design winner was never decided on because of arguments between Wilhelm I,
Otto Von Bismarck, and the Reichstag (Reichstag, 2001). In 1882 a second contest was held to
find another design (Reichstag, 2001). This time a design by a Frankfurter named Paul Wallot
would win (Reichstag, 2001). With the new design settled on, construction began, under
Wilhelm I, when the foundation was laid on June 9, 1884 (Reichstag, 2001). Wilhelm I died on
March 9, 1888 and is succeeded by Fredrick III who is ill with cancer and dies after only 99 days
of rule (Year of Three, 2007). Fredrick’s son, Wilhelm II, then is declared ruler on June 15
the same year (Year of Three, 2007). This year is famous in German culture and known as
or “Year of three Emperors” (Year of Three, 2007). On December 5, 1894 the