German reunificationAs with other incidents of divided nations, geermany families had members stranded unifiation the other side. On the one hand, East Germany was the most successful economy in the Soviet bloc but its people yearned for uunification freedom enjoyed by their countrymen in the West, and hated the authoritarian regime under which east germany post unification lived. Mikhail Gorbachev himself embarked on reforms that ended with the dissolution of the Soviet East germany post unification, urged the East German government best legal steroids for mass embrace change when he visited East Berlin in Octoberclearing the way for the first free elections in East Germany, which took place on March 18, Despite the fact that economic disparity between the two halves of the re-unified Germany has proved costly, and while the initial euphoria has passed, Germans rejoice in the end of partition. The old capital of Berlinas the seat of the Allied Control Council, was itself subdivided into four occupation zones.
German reunification - New World Encyclopedia
As with other incidents of divided nations, many families had members stranded on the other side. On the one hand, East Germany was the most successful economy in the Soviet bloc but its people yearned for the freedom enjoyed by their countrymen in the West, and hated the authoritarian regime under which they lived.
Mikhail Gorbachev himself embarked on reforms that ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, urged the East German government to embrace change when he visited East Berlin in October , clearing the way for the first free elections in East Germany, which took place on March 18, Despite the fact that economic disparity between the two halves of the re-unified Germany has proved costly, and while the initial euphoria has passed, Germans rejoice in the end of partition.
The old capital of Berlin , as the seat of the Allied Control Council, was itself subdivided into four occupation zones. Although the intent was for the occupying powers to govern Germany together in the borders from , the development of Cold War tension caused the French , British and American zones to be formed into the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin in , excluding the Soviet zone which then formed the German Democratic Republic including East Berlin the same year.
Additionally, in accordance with the terms of the Yalta Conference in February , the provinces of eastern Pomerania and Silesia , as well as the southern half of East Prussia, were annexed by Poland and the northern half of East Prussia now known as the Kaliningrad Oblast was annexed by the Soviet Union. The resulting expulsions of Germans in the east resulted in the death of between , and 2 million civilians. In the West, the U.
It was made into a protectorate of France. In , France, under pressure from the West German government, agreed to hold a referendum which led to a reunification with West Germany in France, however, retained control of the Saar coal-fields until The Allied plans to internationalize or let France annex the Ruhr area, Germany's main industrial center, were finally dropped in mid , due to the emerging Cold War and the resulting change in U.
Another proposal by Stalin involved the reunification of Germany within the borders of December 31, , under the condition that Germany joined the Warsaw Pact Eastern Bloc. From onwards, the Federal Republic of Germany developed into a western capitalist country with a "social market economy" and a democratic parliamentary government.
Prolonged economic growth starting in the s fueled a year "economic miracle" Wirtschaftswunder. While the GDR became the richest, most advanced country in the Eastern bloc, many of its citizens still looked to the West for political freedoms and economic prosperity.
The flight of growing numbers of East Germans to non-communist countries via West Berlin led to East Germany erecting the GDR border system of which the Berlin Wall was a part in , to prevent any further exodus.
Relations between East Germany and West Germany remained icy until the Western chancellor Willy Brandt launched a highly controversial rapprochement with East Germany Ostpolitik in the s.
In the mids, German reunification was widely regarded within both East and West Germany as unattainable. However, after significant political changes in the Soviet Union, the prospect of reunification suddenly arose. The ascension of reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in , caused waves of reform to propagate throughout the Eastern bloc, presenting an opportunity for change in the GDR.
In August , Hungary 's reformist government removed its border restrictions with Austria—the first breach in the so-called "Iron Curtain. Thousands of East Germans also tried to reach the West by staging sit-ins at West German diplomatic facilities in other East European capitals, especially in Prague , Czechoslovakia. The GDR subsequently announced that it would provide special trains to carry these refugees to West Germany, claiming it was expelling traitors, criminals, and antisocial elements.
Meanwhile, mass demonstrations against the East German government began at home, most prominently the Monday demonstrations in Leipzig. On 6—7 October, , Gorbachev visited East Germany to mark the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic, and urged the East German leadership to accept change. Long-time East German leader Erich Honecker remained opposed to any internal reform, with speculation that the government was planning a violent crackdown on the growing demonstrations.
However, Honecker was forced to resign on October More resignations followed when the entire East German cabinet stepped down on November 7. The travel restrictions for East Germans were subsequently removed by the new leadership on November 9, , and many people immediately went to the Wall, where the border guards opened access points and allowed them through.
Emboldened, many Germans on both sides began to tear down sections of the Wall itself, leading to one of the most enduring news stories of the twentieth century. On November 28, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl outlined a point plan for the peaceful unification of the two Germanies based on free elections in East Germany and a unification of their two economies. The SED changed its name to the Party of Democratic Socialism PDS and the formation and growth of numerous political groups and parties marked the end of the communist system.
Prime Minister Hans Modrow headed a caretaker government which shared power with the new, democratically oriented parties. On December 7, , agreement was reached to hold free elections in May , and rewrite the East German constitution. On January 28, all the parties agreed to advance the elections to March 18, primarily because of an erosion of state authority and because the East German exodus was continuing apace; more than , left in January and February In early February , the Modrow government's proposal for a unified, neutral German state was rejected by Chancellor Kohl, who affirmed that a unified Germany must be a member of NATO.
Finally, on March 18, , the first and only free elections in the history of the GDR were held, producing a government whose major mandate was to negotiate an end to itself and its state. As one East German ideologist had noted in , "Poland would remain Poland even if communism fell, but without communism East Germany has no reason to exist. In addition to allaying Soviet concerns, Chancellor Kohl was able to convince the leaders of the United Kingdom and France that a unified Germany would represent no threat to its neighbors by tying German reunification with the tighter integration of Germany into the European Union.
Parallel to the multilateral negotiations, bilateral negotiations between the East and West German governments led to the signing on May 18, of an agreement for an intermediate step, an Economic, Social, and Currency Union, which entered into force on July 1. On September 12, , the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany also known as the "Two Plus Four Treaty" was signed and officially reestablished the sovereignty of both German states.
As these five newly-founded German states formally joined the Federal Republic in accordance with the then-existing Article 23, the area in which the Grundgesetz basic law served as the constitution was simply extended to include them. The alternative would have been for East Germany to join as a whole along the lines of a formal union between two German states that then would have had to, amongst other things, create a new constitution for the newly established country.
Though the option chosen clearly was simpler, it is and has been responsible for sentiments in the East of being "occupied" or "annexed" by the old Federal Republic. To facilitate this process and to reassure other countries, the FRG made some changes to the "Basic Law" constitution. Article was amended so that Article 23 of the current constitution could be used for reunification.
Then, once the five "reestablished federal states" in East Germany had joined, the Basic Law was amended again to indicate that there were no other parts of Germany, which existed outside of the unified territory, that had not acceded.
However, the constitution can be amended again at some future date and it still permits the adoption of another constitution by the German people at some time in the future. The following month, the first all-German free elections since were held, resulting in an increased majority for the coalition government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
This is more than the national debt of the German state. Providing goods and services to East Germany strained the resources of West Germany. Unprofitable industries formerly supported by the East German government had to be privatized.
As a consequence of the reunification, most of the former GDR has been deindustrialized, causing an unemployment rate of about 20 percent. Since then, hundreds of thousands of former East Germans have continued to migrate to western Germany to find jobs, resulting in the loss of significant portions of population, especially in highly trained professions. It is also thought to be the actual cause of the majority of problems in Germany which are blamed on the changeover to the euro.
The Bundesbank Central bank has always insisted that the economic problems are not a result of the euro, and are structural reforms which Germany itself must sort out by. The West had enjoyed four decades of free association within civil society and of participatory democracy at local, provincial and national level. The East had experienced four decades of authoritarian rule, with limited right of association and hardly any genuine participation in governance. In fact, the East had been run as a police state.
Consequently, post-reunification in addition to the economic reconstruction of the East, or of the "new states," civil society also needed to be nurtured. There is debate as to whether the events of should be properly referred to as a "reunification" or a "unification. Others, however, argue that represented a "unification" of two German states into a larger entity which, in its resulting form, had never before existed.
For political and diplomatic reasons, West German politicians carefully avoided the term "reunification" during the run-up to what Germans frequently refer to as die Wende. The most common term in German is "Deutsche Einheit" or "German unity;" German unity is the term that Hans-Dietrich Genscher used in front of international journalists to correct them when they asked him about "reunification" in After , the term "die Wende" became more common; the term generally refers to the events that led up to the actual reunification; in its usual context, this terms loosely translates to "the turn around ," without any further meaning.
When referring to the events surrounding the German reunification, however, it carries the cultural connotation of the events that brought about this "turn" in German history.
New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation.
To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats. The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:. Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed. Credits New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards.
The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: History of "German reunification" Note: