Germany/Second Reich/Kaiserreich (German)
Leader at 1901: Kaiser Wilhelm II
Neighbors: France, England, Russia, Austria
Home supply centers: Berlin, Munich, Kiel
The Germans can often do well in the first year, and can also hinder others; notably Russia in Sweden and France in Holland/Belgium. However, when playing Germany it is vital that you have good relations with England and/or France, as their target is naturally Germany. Playing with Germany can be a challenge as a result of its central position, but its advantage is the great many options that are available to it.
Germany can guarantee the supply centres Denmark and Holland in the first year, and has roughly an equal claim on Belgium together with England and France. Germany could take part in two major alliances in the beginning: Ally with England into France, or ally with Russia, Turkey, and Italy into Austria. France is going to be a large enemy, because Germany is the best way for France to break through. Going through the Mediterranean with West Mediterranean, Gulf of Lyon, and Piedmont is too slow. Keep in mind, most players who win own Munich, since it is the gateway to Western Europe and/or Eastern Europe.
18 Center Goal
Germany is an extremely flexible country—even more so than France. Switzerland is all that stands between Germany and amazing geographical domination, and a massive central-European powderkeg, similar to the battle for the Balkans in Eastern Europe. Germany can deploy units in all directions and rush to conquer the final center required for victory. The ability to build in Munich is key to German flexibility, allowing Germany to throw armies across the stalemate line to conquer VIE or VEN to win.
Germany needs its three home centers, plus the Low Countries (2), Scandinavia (3), England (3), PAR and BRE from France, STP, WAR, and MOS from Russia for 16. Then Germany needs two of MAR, SPA, POR, VIE, VEN, and SEV to win. MAR, SPA, and POR are usually the easiest, but require a strong naval presence. Otherwise, Germany can push troops across the stalemate line to grab the final few centers.
Germany has almost as much flexibility as France, but is not in as safe a position. Germany is guaranteed Denmark and nearly guaranteed Holland, and usually has a finger in the debate over Belgium.
Germany's main choice is where to put his fleet—moving the fleet to Denmark provides leverage against Russia, but moving the fleet to Holland gives a better shot at three builds.
A MUN - RUH, A BER - KIE: Blitzkrieg Openings
Diplomatically neutral, this is the most popular German opening, gives him a shot at three builds, and focuses on the main point of contention for the West in 1901—the Low Countries.
F KIE - DEN: Danish Variation
Recommended opening to every German player, since Denmark is always guaranteed for Germany (lest Fleet Kiel should slack off and do not move, allowing an English Fleet North Sea able to take over). This also opens Germany's way into Scandanavia, over which it may have to fight with England and Russia.
F KIE - HOL: Dutch Variation
Those who think that Denmark can still be captured later prefer this move - it guarantees Holland. Of course, keep in mind that Scandinavia can be taken very quickly.
A MUN - BUR
Most of these are arranged standoffs with France over BUR—it is difficult for Germany to mount an effective attack on France in 1901 because he does not have enough units bordering French territory. All of France's centers can be covered if Germany manages to slip the army in, and the German army is better positioned in RUH to take BEL and HOL.
A MUN - BUR, F KIE - HOL, A BER - KIE
This move requires the alliance of Russia and Austria-Hungary. With this move you have a possibility of 3 gained supply centers by spring 1902. This move is very anti-France and should (with the help of England) be able to take down France fairly quickly.
A MUN - SIL
This move keeps Silesia safe from an errant Russian army and thus all but guarantees that you can hold Berlin/Munich in Fall 1901. However, Russia moves into Silesia in Spring 1901 so infrequently that the diplomatic disadvantages of moving to Silesia (ticking off a major neighbor) likely outweigh the tactical benefits. If Mun-Sil does succeed and Austria also succeeds with a move to Galicia in Spring 1901, then a supported attack on Warsaw in Fall 1901 is theoretically possible, but Austria will likely have other plans for Galicia, or even want to claim Warsaw for himself, which would be awkward.
A MUN - TYR
This move aims to keep Italy's army out of Tyrolia, to the benefit of both you and Austria-Hungary. If Italy's move to Tyrolia is bounced, then Munich and Vienna/Trieste are kept safe in fall. However, the move to Tyrolia can be slightly inconvenient if it succeeds, as now you have likely upset both Italy and Austria-Hungary and given yourself less say in the critical Western theater over the low countries. Rarely, you may have the opportunity from Tyrolia to grab Venice/Vienna/Trieste in Fall 1901, but this is probably ill-advised unless the right diplomatic conditions are present. Most likely it is better to pack your bags and move back to Munich in fall.
A MUN hold
One subtle, overlooked move for Munich is to hold. Holding Munich is defensively sound; additionally, you upset no one and force England and France to fight amongst themselves over Belgium. If you are facing no immediate threats to your homeland in Fall 1901, then your army in Munich can move to Ruhr to set up your own play for Belgium in Spring 1902. Ordering Munich to hold also keeps your diplomatic options open for 1902, when you can surprise one of your neighbors with your two builds gained from Holland and Denmark. For example, you could bait France into building two fleets and then build two armies yourself, giving yourself a decisive advantage in the war over Belgium/Burgundy and all but certainly bringing England into your camp.