The German Empire of 1740 was established on Christmas Day 800 when the Pope placed the imperial crown on the head of Charlemagne in Rome. From that time until far down the Middle Ages the Empire stood forth as the great power in western Europe. Conjointly with the Papacy it was the acknowledged head of Christendom. But the Empire comprised many different racial elements which could not be coalesced. A political unit in name, the Empire was never one in spirit. In the centuries which followed Charlemagne various emperors tried to mold the imperial provinces into an organic whole - Otto the Great (936-973) succeeded in part - but all were ultimately defeated either by intrigues of powerful nobles or by divergence of material interests...