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Völkerwanderung, or the 'wandering of the people', was a term used by German historians in the 19th century to describe the migrations of the Goths, Vandals, Franks and other Germanic peoples initiated by the incursions of the Huns that led to the break-up of the Roman Empire.

The expansion of Germanic people into Central Europe, France, Russia, England, Northern Italy and elsewhere was said to indicate the energy and dynamism of Germanic people. This became part of 19th century German nationalism, and later helped form the Nazi ideology of 'Lebensraum', or 'living space', the theory that the Germans had an ethnic right to expand their population beyond the national borders of Germany.

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