The Federal Republic of Germany lies in the heart of Europe and consists of 16 states. Germany is surrounded by nine neighbouring countries. It stretches from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the north to the Alps in the south. With 80.3 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20 th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany and the eastern German Democratic Republic. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990.