Although it was unified for less than half a century, ImperialGermany already had a strong military tradition inherited from its founding state of Prussia.

'''Army of Pointy Hats: Imperial German Army'''

Seen today mostly on the heads of [[BadassBiker motorcyclists]], the ''[[ Pickelhaube]]'' ("pointed bonnet") is perhaps the most iconic symbol of Prussia and the German Empire. It was eventually phased out about midway through World War I, as it was realized that the spike made it an attractive target for sharpshooters. It was soon replaced by a [[{{Foreshadowing}} simple steel helmet of a swooped-back design]], that became commonly known as the "coal scuttle" and officially known as the ''[[NazisWithGnarlyWeapons Stahlhelm]]'', a modernized version of which is still used by the [[WeAreNotTheWehrmacht Bundeswehr]] since the early [[TheNineties 90s]] (initially, the Bundeswehr abandoned the ''Stahlhelm'' in favor of American-style M1 "GI pot" helmets for [[ThoseWackyNazis obvious]] [[UnfortunateImplications reasons]], but the design's image had been rehabilitated somewhat since the [[YanksWithTanks U.S. Armed Forces]] and most [[BritsWithBattleships other]] [[GaulsWithGrenades NATO]] [[CanucksWithChinooks armies]] adopted very similar designs starting in the [[TheEighties 80s]] [[BoringButPractical because it offers better ballistic protection than the classic GI helmet]] and the Germans eventually followed suit).

'''Royal Navy, Jr: High Seas Fleet'''

With a narrow coastline and few overseas colonies, Germany did not have a need for a large navy, focusing its attention on the army to protect against the Great Powers that surrounded it. That changed at the dawn of the 20th Century, when Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted to have a navy that could rival his British cousins. When the war started, the German Admiralty knew full well they could barely compete with the Royal Navy's numerical advantage. After some minor skirmishes, the two navies finally clashed in full at Jutland, which is considered the largest naval battle in history. Although the High Seas Fleet claimed a tactical victory by tonnage sunk, they realized they were now ineffectual to break the British blockade and searched for other means to do so. The answer was a submersible vessel that the Germans referred to as an "Unterseeboot" ("underwater boat"), which had quickly entered the English language as "U-boat."

While the last nation to adopt the submarine as a naval vessel, Germany was the first to demonstrate its capabilities. In the first weeks of World War I, U-9 sank three British cruisers in less than an hour. The Imperial Navy was quick to capitalize on this new weapon, using U-boats to heavily target the shipping that Britain depended on.

'''The Flying Circus: Luftstreitkräfte'''

The branch of Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the RedBaron, the Imperial Air Service was technically part of the Army, but nonetheless made a significant mark on the history of aerial warfare. All of the belligerent powers used aircraft for military purposes, primarily scouting enemy positions, from the start of the First World War, and the first pilot to be called an [[AcePilot "ace"]] for bringing down multiple enemy planes, Adolphe Pegoud, was in fact a [[GaulsWithGrenades Frenchman]]. However, it was the German air service who fielded the first truly effective air superiority fighter with the introduction of the Fokker E-Series ''Eindecker'' (Monoplane) fighters in the spring of 1915. The following period of approximately one year before the Allies were able to counter with equally effective fighters such as the Nieuport 11 and De Havilland DH.2 became known as the "Fokker Scourge" and established the reputations of many German [[AcePilot aces]] such as Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke.

'''Heia Safari: The Schutztruppe'''

Though Germany was among the last in the Race for Africa and her colonial period lasted only three decades, her small colonial army, the Schutztruppe, was well-trained. Most of Germany's colonies (in modern Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon and Togo) were lost at the start of WWI, but East Africa was an exception. Under Lt. Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, the Schutztruppe waged a brilliant guerrilla war. Mostly African natives with [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits a smattering of German officers, settlers and Naval auxiliaries]], they tied down over twenty times their number of troops. They were never decisively defeated and only surrendered two weeks ''after'' the Armistice - in ''[[RefugeInAudacity British Rhodesia.]]''

!!Works featuring Imperial Germany's armed forces:

Pretty much any work dealing with UsefulNotes/WorldWarI will feature the Imperial German armed forces in ''some'' context. In contrast to [[NazisWithGnarlyWeapons the Wehrmacht]], Imperial German forces are usually considered less of an AcceptableTarget in English-language media and are more likely to receive a sympathetic, or at least balanced, portrayal.

* ''Main/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront''
* ''Film/TheBlueMax''
* ''{{Film/Flyboys}}''
* ''Film/TheRedBaron'', a recent German {{Biopic}} about [[TropeNamer Baron Manfred Freiherr]] [[RedBaron Von Richthofen]].
* ''Film/ThoseMagnificentMenInTheirFlyingMachines'', features GertFrobe who plays just about every Prussian stereotype in full.