Western Europe: Overview of a Region.
Regions are a useful way to divide the world into units of study. The realm of Europe is a large one, flanked and separated by major water bodies and comprised of a number of islands.
Western Europe is considered by some to be the heart of the European realm. The countries that comprise the region include Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein (de Blij and Muller, 2004).
The languages of Western Europe are diverse. For a region with such modest total land area, it is host to a large number of different languages. There are examples from the Germanic group (German, Dutch, and Danish) and the Romance group (French) (de Blij and Muller, 2004). The large number of languages spoken in Western Europe is somewhat of a hindrance to the unified Europe movement, but the EU seems to be dealing effectively with the heterogeneous nature of its membership. Western Europe has an additional advantage in the area of language: it enjoys one of the highest literacy rates in the world. In the western part of this region, English is perhaps the most common language, but its influence diminishes as one heads east in Europe.
The most powerful country in the region is Germany. It is the most populous, has the strongest economy, and is influential in the EU. Its geography features northern lowlands, uplands in the central area, and the Bavarian Alps in south Germany led much of the world into war twice during the twentieth century. After each world war, nations of the world were eager to restrict Germany's industrial power, since it had been so integral in the success of Germany's military. ...