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German reunification (german: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
(GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) became part of the
Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...
(FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD) to form the reunited nation of
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...

Germany
. The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity (), celebrated each year on 3 October as
German Unity Day German Unity Day (german: Tag der Deutschen Einheit) is the National Day in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official langu ...
().Vertrag zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik über die Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands (Einigungsvertrag)
Unification Treaty signed by the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
on 31 August 1990 (official text, in German).
East and
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is ...
were reunited into a
single city
single city
, and again became the capital of united Germany. The East German government started to falter in May 1989, when the
removal of Hungary's border fence with Austria The removal of Hungary's border fence with Austria occurred in 1989 during the collapse of communism in Hungary, which was part of a broad wave of revolutions in various communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The border was still clo ...
opened a hole in the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
. The border was still closely guarded, but the
Pan-European Picnic The Pan-European Picnic (german: Paneuropäisches Picknick; hu, páneurópai piknik; sk, Paneurópsky piknik) was a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungary, Hungarian border near Sopron, Sopron, Hungary on 19 August 1989. The opening of ...
and the indecisive reaction of the rulers of the
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
set in motion an irreversible peaceful movement.Thomas Roser: DDR-Massenflucht: Ein Picknick hebt die Welt aus den Angeln (German - Mass exodus of the GDR: A picnic clears the world) in: Die Presse 16 August 2018. It allowed an exodus of thousands of
East Germans East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, the period when the eastern portion of Germany ) , image_map = , map_capti ...
fleeing to West Germany via Hungary. The
Peaceful Revolution The Peaceful Revolution (german: Friedliche Revolution) was the process of sociopolitical change that led to the opening of East Germany's borders with the west, the end of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany The Socialist Unity Party of Ger ...
, a series of protests by East Germans, led to the GDR's first free elections on 18 March 1990, and to the negotiations between the GDR and FRG that culminated in a Unification Treaty. Other negotiations between the GDR and FRG and the four occupying powers produced the so-called "Two Plus Four Treaty" (
Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany The Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (german: Vertrag über die abschließende Regelung in Bezug auf Deutschland; rus, Договор об окончательном урегулировании в отношении Гер ...
) granting full
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...
to a unified German state, whose two parts were previously bound by a number of limitations stemming from their post-
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
status as occupied regions. The 1945
Potsdam Agreement The Potsdam Agreement (german: Potsdamer Abkommen) was the 1 August 1945 agreement between three of the Allies of World War II : Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill meeting at the Cairo Conference ...
had specified that a full peace treaty concluding World War II, including the exact delimitation of Germany's postwar boundaries, was required to be "accepted by the Government of Germany when a government adequate for the purpose is established." The Federal Republic had always maintained that no such government could be said to have been established until East and West Germany had been united within a free democratic state; but in 1990 a range of opinions continued to be maintained over whether a unified West Germany, East Germany, and Berlin could be said to represent "Germany as a whole" for this purpose. The key question was whether a Germany that remained bounded to the east by the
Oder–Neisse line The Oder–Neisse line (german: Oder-Neiße-Grenze, pl, granica na Odrze i Nysie Łużyckiej) is the basis of most of the international border between Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Ber ...
(the international border with Poland) could act as a "united Germany" in signing the peace treaty without qualification. Under the "Two Plus Four Treaty" both the Federal Republic and the Democratic Republic committed themselves and their unified continuation to the principle that their joint pre-1990 boundaries constituted the entire territory that could be claimed by a
Government of Germany The Federal Cabinet or Federal Government (german: Bundeskabinett or ') is the chief Executive (government), executive body of the Germany, Federal Republic of Germany. It consists of the Chancellor of Germany (1949–present), Federal Chancellor ...
, and hence that there were no further lands outside those boundaries that were parts of Germany as a whole. The post-1990 united Germany is not a
successor state Successor is someone who, or something which succeeds or comes after (see success and succession) Film and TV * ''The Successor'' (film), a 1996 film including Laura Girling * ''The Successor'' (TV program), a 2007 Israeli television program Mu ...
, but an enlarged continuation of the former West Germany. The enlarged Federal Republic of Germany retained the West German seats in international organizations including the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Economic Community
(later the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
),
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
, and the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
. Memberships in the
Warsaw Pact The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP), was a collective defense Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement ...
and other international organizations to which East Germany belonged ended because East Germany ceased to exist.


Naming

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 Peaceful Revolution (german: Friedliche Revolution) was the process of sociopolitical change that led to the opening of East Germany's borders with the west, the end of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) in the German Democratic Repub ...
'' (roughly: ''the turning point''). The 1990 treaty defines the official term as ''Deutsche Einheit'' ("German unity"); this is commonly used in Germany, and it is this term that then-Vice Chancellor
Hans-Dietrich Genscher Hans-Dietrich Genscher (21 March 1927 – 31 March 2016) was a German statesman and a member of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), who served as the Federal Minister of the Interior from 1969 to 1974, and as the Federal Minister of Forei ...

Hans-Dietrich Genscher
used in front of international journalists to correct them when they asked him about "reunification" in 1990. After 1990, the term ''die Wende'' became more common. The term generally refers to the events (mostly in Eastern Europe) that led up to the actual reunification; in its usual context, this term loosely translates to "the turning point", without any further meaning. When referring to the events surrounding reunification, however, it carries the cultural connotation of the time and the events in the GDR that brought about this "turnaround" in German history. However, anti-communist activists from Eastern Germany rejected the term ''Wende'' as it had been introduced by the
Socialist Unity Party of Germany The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (german: Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, SED), often known in English as the East German Communist Party, was the founding and ruling party of the German Democratic Republic (GDR; East Germany) fr ...
's Secretary General
Egon Krenz Egon Rudi Ernst Krenz (; born 19 March 1937) is a former East German politician who was the last communist leader of East Germany during the Revolutions of 1989, final months of 1989. He succeeded Erich Honecker as the Secretary (title), Genera ...
.


Precursors to reunification

Germany was officially divided into four occupation zones as result of the
Potsdam Agreement The Potsdam Agreement (german: Potsdamer Abkommen) was the 1 August 1945 agreement between three of the Allies of World War II : Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill meeting at the Cairo Conference ...
on 1 August 1945, under the four
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
governments A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature A legislature is a deliberative assemb ...
of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union. The capital city of Berlin was similarly divided into the four sectors. Between 1947 and 1949, the three zones of the western allies were merged, forming the
Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...
and
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is ...
, aligned with capitalist Europe (which later developed into the
European Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Community
). The Soviet zone became the
German Democratic Republic German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
with its capital in
East Berlin East Berlin was the ''de facto'' capital city of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990. Formally, it was the Soviet sector of Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, la ...
, a part of the communist
Soviet Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' ...
. The FRG was a member of the western military alliance, NATO; the GDR was a member of the Warsaw Pact. Germans lived under such imposed divisions throughout the ensuing
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
. Into the 1980s, the Soviet Union experienced a period of economic and political stagnation, and correspondingly decreased intervention in
Eastern Bloc politics Eastern Bloc politics followed the Red Army The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army,) frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Sociali ...
. In 1987,
US President The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the Federal government of the United States#Executive branch, executive branch of the Federal govern ...

US President
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
gave a speech at the
Brandenburg Gate The Brandenburg Gate (german: Brandenburger Tor; ) is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent Germans, German state th ...

Brandenburg Gate
, challenging Soviet General Secretary
Mikhail Gorbachev Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician, lawyer, and statesman. The List of leaders of the Soviet Union, eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the ...

Mikhail Gorbachev
to " tear down this wall" which divided Berlin.
The wall ''The Wall'' is the eleventh studio album by the English rock band Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. Gaining an early following as one of the first British psychedelic groups, they were distingui ...

The wall
had stood as an icon for the political and economic division between East and West, a division that
Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highe ...

Churchill
had referred to as the "
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
". Gorbachev announced in 1988 that the Soviet Union would abandon the Brezhnev Doctrine and allow the
Eastern bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' ...
nations to freely determine their own internal affairs. In early 1989, under a new era of Soviet policies of ''
glasnost In the Russian language Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languag ...
'' (openness) and ''
perestroika Perestroika (; russian: links=no, перестройка, p=pʲɪrʲɪˈstrojkə, a=ru-perestroika.ogg) was a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) ...
'' (economic restructuring), and taken further by Gorbachev, the
Solidarity movement Solidarity ( pl, Solidarność, ; full name: ''Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarity”''—''Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy "Solidarność"'' ) is a trade union founded in August 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, ...
took hold in Poland. Further inspired by other images of brave defiance, a wave of revolutions swept throughout the Eastern Bloc that year. In May 1989, Hungary removed their border fence. However, the dismantling of the old Hungarian border facilities did not open the borders, nor were the previous strict controls removed, and the isolation by the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continenta ...
was still intact over its entire length. The opening of a border gate between Austria and Hungary at the
Pan-European Picnic The Pan-European Picnic (german: Paneuropäisches Picknick; hu, páneurópai piknik; sk, Paneurópsky piknik) was a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungary, Hungarian border near Sopron, Sopron, Hungary on 19 August 1989. The opening of ...
on 19 August 1989 then set in motion a peaceful chain reaction, at the end of which there was no longer a GDR and the
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
had disintegrated. Extensive advertising for the planned picnic was made by posters and flyers among the GDR holidaymakers in Hungary. The Austrian branch of the
Paneuropean Union The International Paneuropean Union, also referred to as the Paneuropean Movement and the Pan-Europa Movement, is the oldest European unification movement. It began with the publishing of Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi's manifesto ''Pa ...
, which was then headed by
Karl von Habsburg Karl von Habsburg (given names: ''Karl Thomas Robert Maria Franziskus Georg Bahnam''; born 11 January 1961) is an Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no ...
, distributed thousands of brochures inviting them to a picnic near the border at Sopron. It was the largest escape movement from East Germany since the
Berlin Wall The Berlin Wall (german: Berliner Mauer, ) was a guarded concrete barrier A barrier or barricade is a physical structure which blocks or impedes something. Barrier may also refer to: Places * Barrier, Kentucky, a community in the Unite ...

Berlin Wall
was built in 1961. After the picnic, which was based on an idea by Karl's father
Otto von Habsburg Otto von Habsburg (given names: ''Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius''; 20 November 1912 4 July 2011), was the last crown prince of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, of ...

Otto von Habsburg
to test the reaction of the USSR and
Mikhail Gorbachev Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician, lawyer, and statesman. The List of leaders of the Soviet Union, eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the ...

Mikhail Gorbachev
to an opening of the border, tens of thousands of media-informed East Germans set off for Hungary. The media reaction of
Erich Honecker Erich Ernst Paul Honecker (; 25 August 1912 – 29 May 1994) was an East German communist politician who led the German Democratic Republic (East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokra ...
in the "Daily Mirror" of 19 August 1989 showed the public in East and West that there had been a loss of power by the Eastern European communist rulers in their own sphere of power, and that they were no longer the designers of what was happening: "Habsburg distributed leaflets far into Poland, on which the East German holidaymakers were invited to a picnic. When they came to the picnic, they were given gifts, food and Deutsche Mark, and then they were persuaded to come to the West." In particular, it was examined by Habsburg and the Hungarian Minister of State
Imre Pozsgay Imre András Pozsgay (''Pozsgay Imre'', ; 26 November 1933 – 25 March 2016) was a Hungarian Communist politician who played a key role in Hungary's transition to democracy after 1988. He served as Minister of Culture (1976–1980), Minister o ...
, whether Moscow would give the Soviet troops stationed in Hungary the command to intervene. But with the mass exodus at the Pan-European Picnic, the subsequent hesitant behavior of the Socialist Unity Party of East Germany and the non-intervention of the Soviet Union broke the dams. Thus the bracket of the Eastern Bloc was broken. Tens of thousands of the media-informed East Germans now made their way to Hungary, which was no longer ready to keep its borders completely closed or to oblige its border troops to use force of arms. By the end of September 1989, more than 30,000 East Germans had escaped to the West before the GDR denied travel to Hungary, leaving Czechoslovakia as the only neighboring state to which East Germans could escape. Even then, many people within and without Germany still believed that real reunification would never happen in the foreseeable future. The turning point in Germany, called "
Die Wende The Peaceful Revolution (german: Friedliche Revolution) was the process of sociopolitical change that led to the opening of East Germany's borders with the west, the end of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) in the German Democratic Repub ...
", was marked by the "
Peaceful Revolution The Peaceful Revolution (german: Friedliche Revolution) was the process of sociopolitical change that led to the opening of East Germany's borders with the west, the end of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany The Socialist Unity Party of Ger ...
" leading to the removal of the Berlin Wall, with East and West Germany subsequently entering into negotiations toward eliminating the division that had been imposed upon Germans more than four decades earlier.


Process of reunification


Cooperation

On 28 November 1989—two weeks after the
fall of the Berlin Wall The fall of the Berlin Wall (german: Mauerfall) on 9 November 1989 was a pivotal event in world history which marked the falling of the Iron Curtain and the start of the fall of communism in Eastern and Central Europe. The fall of the inner Ger ...
—West German
Chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the ''cancellarii Cancelli are lattice-work, placed before a window, a door-way, the tribunal o ...
Helmut Kohl Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (; 3 April 1930 – 16 June 2017) was Chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundeskanzler(in) der Bundesrepublik Deutschlan ...

Helmut Kohl
announced a 10-point program calling for the two Germanies to expand their cooperation with a view toward eventual reunification. Initially, no timetable was proposed. However, events rapidly came to a head in early 1990. First, in March, the Party of Democratic Socialism—the former
Socialist Unity Party of Germany The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (german: Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, SED), often known in English as the East German Communist Party, was the founding and ruling party of the German Democratic Republic (GDR; East Germany) fr ...
—was heavily defeated in East Germany's first free elections. A grand coalition was formed under
Lothar de Maizière Lothar de Maizière (; born 2 March 1940) is a German Christian Democratic Christian democracy is a political ideology that emerged in 19th-century Europe under the influence of Catholic social teaching, as well as neo-Calvinism. It was con ...
, leader of the East German wing of Kohl's Christian Democratic Union, on a platform of speedy reunification. Second, East Germany's economy and infrastructure underwent a swift and near-total collapse. Although East Germany was long reckoned as having the most robust economy in the Soviet bloc, the removal of Communist hegemony revealed the ramshackle foundations of that system. The
East German mark The East German mark (German: ), commonly called the eastern mark ) in West Germany and after the German reunification, reunification), in East Germany only ''Mark'', was the currency of the East Germany, German Democratic Republic (East Germa ...
had been almost worthless outside East Germany for some time before the events of 1989–90, and the collapse of the East German economy further magnified the problem.


Economic merger

Discussions immediately began on an emergency merger of the German economies. On 18 May 1990, the two German states signed a treaty agreeing on monetary, economic and social union. This treaty is called ("Treaty Establishing a Monetary, Economic and Social Union between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany"); it came into force on 1 July 1990, with the West German
Deutsche Mark The Deutsche Mark (, "German mark"), abbreviated "DM" or "D-Mark" (), was the official currency of West Germany from 1948 until 1990 and later the unified Germany from 1990 until the adoption of the euro in 2002. In English, it is commonly call ...

Deutsche Mark
replacing the East German mark as the official currency of East Germany. The Deutsche Mark had a very high reputation among the East Germans and was considered stable. While the GDR transferred its financial policy sovereignty to West Germany, the West started granting subsidies for the GDR budget and social security system.Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany London – A short history of German reunification
. London.diplo.de. Retrieved on 19 October 2010.
At the same time, many West German laws came into force in the GDR. This created a suitable framework for a political union by diminishing the huge gap between the two existing political, social, and economic systems.


German Reunification Treaty

The
Volkskammer __NOTOC__ The Volkskammer (, ''People's Chamber'') was the Unicameralism, unicameral legislature of the German Democratic Republic (popularly called East Germany). The Volkskammer was initially the lower house of a Bicameralism, bicameral legisla ...
, the Parliament of East Germany, passed a resolution on 23 August 1990 declaring the accession (''Beitritt'') of the German Democratic Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany, and the extension of the field of application of the Federal Republic's Basic Law to the territory of East Germany as allowed by article 23 of the West German Basic Law, effective 3 October 1990. The East German Declaration of Accession (''Beitrittserklärung'') to the Federal Republic, as provided by Article 23 of the West German Basic Law, was approved by the Volkskammer on 23 August, and formally presented by its President,
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl Sabine Bergmann-Pohl (née Schulz; ; born 20 April 1946) is a German doctor and politician. A member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), she was president of the People's Chamber of East Germany East Germany, officially the ...

Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
, to the President of the West German Bundestag,
Rita Süssmuth Rita Süssmuth (Maiden and married names, ''née'' Kickuth; ; born 17 February 1937) is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (Germany), Christian Democratic Union (CDU). She served as the 10th President of the Bundestag. From 1 ...

Rita Süssmuth
, by means of a letter dated 25 August 1990. Thus, formally, the procedure of reunification by means of the accession of East Germany to West Germany, and of East Germany's acceptance of the Basic Law already in force in West Germany, was initiated as the unilateral, sovereign decision of East Germany, as allowed by the provisions of article 23 of the West German Basic Law as it then existed. In the wake of that resolution of accession, the "German reunification treaty", commonly known in German as "Einigungsvertrag" (Unification Treaty) or "Wiedervereinigungsvertrag" (Reunification Treaty), that had been negotiated between the two German states since 2 July 1990, was signed by representatives of the two Governments on 31 August 1990. This Treaty, officially titled ''Vertrag zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik über die Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands'' (Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on the Establishment of German Unity), was approved by large majorities in the legislative chambers of both countries on 20 September 1990 (442–47 in the West German Bundestag and 299–80 in the East German Volkskammer). The Treaty passed the West German Bundesrat on the following day, 21 September 1990. The amendments to the Federal Republic's Basic Law that were foreseen in the Unification Treaty or necessary for its implementation were adopted by the Federal Statute of 23 September 1990, that enacted the incorporation of the Treaty as part of the Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. The said Federal Statute, containing the whole text of the Treaty and its Protocols as an annex, was published in the '' Bundesgesetzblatt'' (the official journal for the publication of the laws of the Federal Republic) on 28 September 1990. In the German Democratic Republic, the constitutional law (''Verfassungsgesetz'') giving effect to the Treaty was also published on 28 September 1990. With the adoption of the Treaty as part of its Constitution, East Germany legislated its own abolition as a State. Under article 45 of the Treaty, it entered into force according to international law on 29 September 1990, upon the exchange of notices regarding the completion of the respective internal constitutional requirements for the adoption of the treaty in both East Germany and West Germany. With that last step, and in accordance with article 1 of the Treaty, and in conformity with East Germany's Declaration of Accession presented to the Federal Republic, Germany was officially reunited at 00:00 CEST on 3 October 1990. East Germany joined the Federal Republic as the five '''' (states) of
Brandenburg Brandenburg (, also , ; nds, Brannenborg; dsb, Bramborska) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Brandenburg
,
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV; , nds, Mäkelborg-Vörpommern), internationally also known by its name Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, is a in the north-east of . Of the country's , Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 14th in population, 6th in area, and 16th ...
,
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
,
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt (german: Sachsen-Anhalt ; nds, Sassen-Anholt) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper) ...

Saxony-Anhalt
and
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
. These states were the five original states of East Germany, but were abolished in 1952 in favor of a centralized system. As part of 18 May treaty, the five East German states were reconstituted on 23 August. At the same time, East and
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is ...
reunited into one city, which became a city-state along the lines of the existing city-states of
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by t ...
and
Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = Post ...

Hamburg
. Berlin was still formally under Allied occupation (that would only be terminated later, as a result of the provisions of the Two Plus Four Treaty), but the city's administrative merger and inclusion in the Federal Republic of Germany, effective on 3 October 1990, had been greenlighted by the Allies, and were formally approved in the final meeting of the Allied Control Council on 2 October 1990. In an emotional ceremony, at the stroke of midnight on 3 October 1990, the —now the flag of a reunited Germany—was raised above the
Brandenburg Gate The Brandenburg Gate (german: Brandenburger Tor; ) is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent Germans, German state th ...

Brandenburg Gate
marking the moment of German reunification.


Constitutional merger

The process chosen was one of two options implemented in the West German constitution (''Grundgesetz'' or Basic Law) of 1949 to facilitate eventual reunification. The Basic Law stated that it was only intended for temporary use until a permanent constitution could be adopted by the German people as a whole. Via that document's (then-existing) Article 23, any new prospective ''Länder'' could adhere to the Basic Law by a simple majority vote. The initial eleven joining states of 1949 constituted the . West Berlin had been proposed as the 12th state, but was legally inhibited by Allied objections since Berlin as a whole was legally a quadripartite occupied area. Despite this, West Berlin's political affiliation was with West Germany, and in many fields, it functioned de facto as if it were a component state of West Germany. In 1957 the
Saar Protectorate The Saar Protectorate (german: Saarprotektorat ; french: Protectorat de la Sarre) officially Saarland (french: Sarre) was a short-lived protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is ...
joined West Germany under the Article 23 procedure as
Saarland The Saarland ( , , ; french: Sarre ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper) ...
. The other option was Article 146, which provided a mechanism for a permanent constitution for a reunified Germany. This route would have entailed 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. However, by the spring of 1990, it was apparent that drafting a new constitution would require protracted negotiations that would open up numerous issues in West Germany. Even without this to consider, by the start of 1990 East Germany was in a state of economic and political collapse. In contrast, reunification under Article 23 could be implemented in as little as six months. Ultimately, when the treaty on monetary, economic and social union was signed, it was decided to use the quicker process of Article 23. By this process, East Germany voted to dissolve itself and to join West Germany, and the area in which the Basic Law was in force simply extended to include them. Thus, while legally East Germany as a whole acceded to the Federal Republic, the constituent parts of East Germany entered into the Federal Republic as five new states, which held their first elections on 14 October 1990. Nevertheless, although the Volkskammer's declaration of accession to the Federal Republic had initiated the process of reunification, the act of reunification itself (with its many specific terms, conditions, and qualifications, some of which required amendments to the Basic Law itself) was achieved constitutionally by the subsequent Unification Treaty of 31 August 1990; that is through a binding agreement between the former GDR and the Federal Republic now recognising each another as separate sovereign states in international law. This treaty was then voted into effect by both the Volkskammer and the
Bundestag The Bundestag (, "Federal diet (assembly), Diet") is the Germany, German Federalism, federal parliament. It is the only body that is directly elected by the German people on the federal level. It can be compared to a lower house similar to the ...

Bundestag
by the constitutionally required two-thirds majorities, effecting on the one hand, the extinction of the GDR, and on the other, the agreed amendments to the Basic Law of the Federal Republic. Hence, although the GDR declared its accession to the Federal Republic under Article 23 of the Basic Law, this did not imply its acceptance of the Basic Law as it then stood, but rather, of the Basic Law as subsequently amended in line with the Unification Treaty. Legally, the reunification did not create a third state out of the two. Rather, West Germany effectively absorbed East Germany. Accordingly, on Unification Day, 3 October 1990, the German Democratic Republic ceased to exist, and five new federated states on its former territory joined the Federal Republic of Germany. East and West Berlin were reunited and joined the Federal Republic as a full-fledged federated city-state. Under this model, the Federal Republic of Germany, now enlarged to include the five states of the former GDR plus the reunified Berlin, continued legally to exist under the same legal personality that was founded in May 1949. While the Basic Law was modified, rather than replaced by a constitution as such, it still permits the adoption of a formal constitution by the German people at some time in the future.


International effects

The practical result of that model is that the now-expanded Federal Republic of Germany inherited the old West Germany's seats at the UN, NATO, the European Communities and other international organizations. It also continued to be a party to all the treaties the old West Germany signed prior to the moment of reunification. The Basic Law and statutory laws that were in force in the Federal Republic, as amended in accordance with the Unification Treaty, continued automatically in force, but now applied to the expanded territory. Also, the same President, Chancellor (Prime Minister) and Government of the Federal Republic remained in office, but their jurisdiction now included the newly acquired territory of the former East Germany. To facilitate this process and to reassure other countries, fundamental changes were made to the "Basic Law" (constitution). The Preamble and Article 146 were amended, and Article 23 was replaced, but the deleted former Article 23 was applied as the constitutional model to be used for the 1990 reunification. Hence, prior to the five "New Länder" of East Germany joining, the Basic Law was amended to indicate that all parts of Germany would then be unified such that Germany could now no longer consider itself constitutionally open to further extension to include the
former eastern territories of Germany The former eastern territories of Germany (german: Ehemalige deutsche Ostgebiete) are those province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', ...

former eastern territories of Germany
, that were now Polish, Russian or Lithuanian. The changes effectively formalized the
Oder–Neisse line The Oder–Neisse line (german: Oder-Neiße-Grenze, pl, granica na Odrze i Nysie Łużyckiej) is the basis of most of the international border between Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Ber ...
as Germany's permanent eastern border. These amendments to the Basic Law were mandated by Article I, section 4 of the Two Plus Four Treaty.


Day of German Unity

To commemorate the day that marks the official unification of the former East and West Germany in 1990, 3 October has since then been the official German national holiday, the Day of German Unity (''Tag der deutschen Einheit''). It replaced the previous national holiday held in West Germany on 17 June commemorating the
Uprising of 1953 in East Germany The East German uprising of 1953 (german: Volksaufstand vom 17. Juni 1953 ) was an uprising that occurred in East Germany East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), ...
and the national holiday on 7 October in the GDR, that commemorated the foundation of the East German state.


Foreign support and opposition

For decades, West Germany's allies stated their support for reunification. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who speculated that a country that "decided to kill millions of Jewish people" in the Holocaust "will try to do it again", was one of the few world leaders to publicly oppose it. As reunification became a realistic possibility, however, significant NATO and European opposition emerged in private. A poll of four countries in January 1990 found that a majority of surveyed Americans and French supported reunification, while British and Poles were more divided. 69% of Poles and 50% of French and British stated that they worried about a reunified Germany becoming "the dominant power in Europe". Those surveyed stated several concerns, including Germany again attempting to expand its territory, a revival of Nazism, and the German economy becoming too powerful. While British, French, and Americans favored Germany remaining a member of NATO, a majority of Poles supported neutrality for the reunified nation. The key ally was the United States. Although some top American officials opposed quick unification, Secretary of State James A. Baker and President George H. W. Bush provided strong and decisive support to Kohl's proposals.


Britain and France

Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told Soviet General Secretary
Mikhail Gorbachev Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician, lawyer, and statesman. The List of leaders of the Soviet Union, eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the ...

Mikhail Gorbachev
that neither the United Kingdom nor Western Europe wanted the reunification of Germany. Thatcher also clarified she wanted the Soviet leader to do what he could to stop it, telling Gorbachev "We do not want a united Germany". Although she welcomed East German democracy, Thatcher worried that a rapid reunification might weaken Gorbachev, and favored Soviet troops staying in East Germany as long as possible to act as a counterweight to a united Germany. Thatcher, who carried in her handbag a map of Territorial changes of Germany#Interbellum, Germany's 1937 borders to show others the "German problem", feared that its "national character", size and central location in Europe would cause the nation to be a "destabilizing rather than a stabilizing force in Europe". In December 1989, she warned fellow European Community leaders at a Strasbourg summit that Kohl attended, "We defeated the Germans twice! And now they're back!" Although Thatcher had stated her support for German self-determination in 1985, she now argued that Germany's allies only supported reunification because they did not believe it would ever happen. Thatcher favored a transition period of five years for reunification, during which the two Germanies would remain separate states. Although she gradually softened her opposition, as late as March 1990 Thatcher summoned historians and diplomats to a seminar at Chequers to ask "How dangerous are the Germans?" and the French ambassador in London reported that Thatcher told him, "France and Great Britain should pull together today in the face of the German threat." The pace of events surprised the French, whose Foreign Ministry had concluded in October 1989 that reunification "does not appear realistic at this moment". A representative of French President François Mitterrand reportedly told an aide to Gorbachev, "France by no means wants German reunification, although it realises that in the end, it is inevitable." At the Strasbourg summit, Mitterrand and Thatcher discussed the fluidity of Germany's historical borders. On 20 January 1990, Mitterrand told Thatcher that a unified Germany could "make more ground than even Adolf Hitler, Adolf had". He predicted that "bad" Germans would reemerge, who might seek to regain Former eastern territories of Germany#Post World War II, former German territory lost after World War II and would likely dominate Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, leaving "only Romania and Bulgaria for the rest of us". The two leaders saw no way to prevent reunification, however, as "None of us was going to declare war on Germany". Mitterrand recognized before Thatcher that reunification was inevitable and adjusted his views accordingly; unlike her, he was hopeful that participation in a single currency and other European institutions could control a united Germany. Mitterrand still wanted Thatcher to publicly oppose unification, however, to obtain more concessions from Germany.


Rest of Europe

Republic of Ireland, Ireland's Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, supported German reunification and he took advantage of Ireland's presidency of the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Economic Community
to call for an extraordinary List of European Council meetings, European summit in Dublin in April 1990 to calm the fears held of fellow members of the EEC. Haughey saw similarities between Ireland and Germany, and said "I have expressed a personal view that coming as we do from Partition of Ireland, a country which is also divided many of us would have sympathy with any wish of the people of the two German States for unification". ''Der Spiegel'' later described other European leaders' opinion of reunification at the time as "icy". Italy's Giulio Andreotti warned against a revival of "pan-Germanism" and joked "I love Germany so much that I prefer to see two of them", and the Netherlands' Ruud Lubbers questioned the German right to self-determination. They shared Britain and France's concerns over a return to German militarism and the economic power of a reunified nation. The consensus opinion was that reunification, if it must occur, should not occur until at least 1995 and preferably much later.


Four powers

The victors of World War II — France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, comprising the Four-Power Authorities—retained authority over Berlin, such as control over air travel and its political status. From the onset, the Soviet Union sought to use reunification as a way to push Germany out of NATO into neutrality, removing nuclear weapons from its territory. However, West Germany misinterpreted a 21 November 1989 diplomatic message on the topic to mean that the Soviet leadership already anticipated reunification only two weeks after the Wall's collapse. This belief, and the worry that his rival Genscher might act first, encouraged Kohl on 28 November to announce a detailed "Ten Point Program for Overcoming the Division of Germany and Europe". While his speech was very popular within West Germany, it caused concern among other European governments, with whom he had not discussed the plan. The Americans did not share the Europeans' and Soviets' historical fears over German expansionism; Condoleezza Rice later recalled, The United States wished to ensure, however, that Germany would stay within NATO. In December 1989, the administration of President George H. W. Bush made a united Germany's continued NATO membership a requirement for supporting reunification. Kohl agreed, although less than 20% of West Germans supported remaining within NATO. Kohl also wished to avoid a neutral Germany, as he believed that would destroy NATO, cause the United States and Canada to leave Europe, and cause Britain and France to form an anti-German alliance. The United States increased its support of Kohl's policies, as it feared that otherwise Oskar Lafontaine, a critic of NATO, might become Chancellor. Horst Teltschik, Kohl's foreign policy advisor, later recalled that Germany would have paid "100 billion deutschmarks" if the Soviets demanded it. The USSR did not make such great demands, however, with Gorbachev stating in February 1990 that "The Germans must decide for themselves what path they choose to follow". In May 1990 he repeated his remark in the context of NATO membership while meeting Bush, amazing both the Americans and Germans. This removed the last significant roadblock to Germany being free to choose its international alignments, though Kohl made no secret that he intended for the reunified Germany to inherit West Germany's seats in NATO and the EC.


Conclusion

During a NATO–Warsaw Pact conference in Ottawa, Canada, Genscher persuaded the four powers to treat the two Germanies as equals instead of defeated junior partners, and for the six nations to negotiate alone. Although the Dutch, Italians, Spanish, and other NATO powers opposed such a structure, which meant that the alliance's boundaries would change without their participation, the six nations began negotiations in March 1990. After Gorbachev's May agreement on German NATO membership, the Soviets further agreed that Germany would be treated as an ordinary NATO country, with the exception that former East German territory would not have foreign NATO troops or nuclear weapons. In exchange, Kohl agreed to reduce the sizes of the militaries of both West and East Germany, renounce weapons of mass destruction, and accept the postwar
Oder–Neisse line The Oder–Neisse line (german: Oder-Neiße-Grenze, pl, granica na Odrze i Nysie Łużyckiej) is the basis of most of the international border between Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Ber ...
as Germany's eastern border. In addition, Germany agreed to pay about 55 billion deutschmarks to the Soviet Union in gifts and loans, the equivalent of eight days of the Economy of Germany, West German GDP. The British insisted to the end, against Soviet opposition, that NATO be allowed to hold manoeuvres in the former East Germany. After the Americans intervened, both the UK and France ratified the
Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany The Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (german: Vertrag über die abschließende Regelung in Bezug auf Deutschland; rus, Договор об окончательном урегулировании в отношении Гер ...
in September 1990, thus finalizing the reunification for purposes of Public international law, international law. Thatcher later wrote that her opposition to reunification had been an "unambiguous failure".


Aftermath


German sovereignty, confirmation of borders, withdrawal of the Allied Forces

On 14 November 1990, Germany and Poland signed the German–Polish Border Treaty (1990), German–Polish Border Treaty, finalizing Germany's boundaries as permanent along the Oder–Neisse line, and thus, renouncing any claims to Silesia, East Brandenburg, Farther Pomerania, and the southern area of the former province of East Prussia. The subsequent German–Polish Treaty of Good Neighbourship that supplemented the Border Treaty also granted certain rights for political minorities on either side of the border. The following month, the first 1990 German federal election, all-German free elections since 1932 were held, resulting in an increased majority for the coalition government of Chancellor
Helmut Kohl Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (; 3 April 1930 – 16 June 2017) was Chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundeskanzler(in) der Bundesrepublik Deutschlan ...

Helmut Kohl
. On 15 March 1991, the
Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany The Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (german: Vertrag über die abschließende Regelung in Bezug auf Deutschland; rus, Договор об окончательном урегулировании в отношении Гер ...
—that had been signed in Moscow back on 12 September 1990 by the two German states that then existed (East and West Germany) on one side, and by the four principal Allied powers (the United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union and the United States) on the other—entered into force, having been ratified by the Federal Republic of Germany (after the unification, as the united Germany) and by the four Allied nations. The entry into force of that treaty (also known as the "Two Plus Four Treaty", in reference to the two German states and four Allied nations that signed it) put an end to the then-remaining limitations on German sovereignty that resulted from the post-World War II arrangements. Even prior to the ratification of the Treaty, the operation of all quadripartite Allied institutions in Germany was suspended, with effect from the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990 and pending the final ratification of the Two Plus Four Treaty, pursuant to a declaration signed in New York on 1 October 1990 by the foreign ministers of the four Allied Powers, that was witnessed by ministers of the two German states then in existence, and that was appended text of the Two Plus Four Treaty. In accordance with Article 9 of the Two Plus Four Treaty, it entered into force as soon as all ratifications were deposited with the Government of Germany. The last party to ratify the treaty was the Soviet Union, that deposited its instrument of ratification on 15 March 1991. The Supreme Soviet of the USSR only gave its approval to the ratification of the treaty on 4 March 1991, after a hefty debate. Under that treaty (which should not be confused with the Unification Treaty that was signed only between the two German states), the last Allied forces still present in Germany left in 1994, in accordance with article 4 of the treaty, that set 31 December 1994 as the deadline for the withdrawal of the remaining Allied forces. The bulk of Russian ground forces left Germany on 25 June 1994 with a military parade of the 6th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade in Berlin. The withdrawal of the last Russian troops (the Russian Army's ''Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, Western Group of Forces'') was completed on 31 August 1994, and the event was marked by a military ceremony in the Treptow Park in Berlin, with the presence of Russian President Yeltsin and German Chancellor Kohl. Although the bulk of the British, American, and French Forces had left Germany even before the departure of the Russians, the ceremony marking the withdrawal of the remaining Forces of the Western Allies was the last to take place: on 8 September 1994, a Farewell Ceremony in the courtyard of the Charlottenburg Palace, with the presence of British Prime Minister John Major, American Secretary of State Warren Christopher, French President François Mitterrand, and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, marked the withdrawal of the British, American and French Occupation Forces from Berlin, and the termination of the Allied occupation in Germany. Thus, the removal of the Allied presence took place a few months before the final deadline. As for the German–Polish Border Treaty, it was approved by the Polish Sejm on 26 November 1991 and the German Bundestag on 16 December 1991, and entered into force with the exchange of the instruments of ratification on 16 January 1992. The confirmation of the border between Germany and Poland was required of Germany by the Allied Powers in the Two Plus Four Treaty.


Cost of reunification

The subsequent economic restructuring and reconstruction of eastern Germany resulted in significant costs, especially for western Germany, which paid large sums of money in the form of the ''Solidaritätszuschlag'' (Solidarity Surcharge) in order to rebuild the east German infrastructure. Peer Steinbrück is quoted as saying in a 2011 interview, "Over a period of 20 years, German reunification has cost 2 trillion euros, or an average of 100 billion euros a year. So, we have to ask ourselves 'Aren't we willing to pay a tenth of that over several years for Europe's unity?'"


Views and life satisfaction

According to a 2019 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, approximately 90 percent of Germans living in both the West and East believe that reunification was good for Germany, with slightly more in East than West Germany supporting it. Around 83 percent of East Germans approve of and 13 percent disapprove of eastern Germany's transition to a market economy, with the rest saying they weren't sure. Life satisfaction in both the East and West has substantially increased since 1991, with 15 percent of East Germans placing their life satisfaction somewhere between 7 to 10 on a 0 to 10 scale in 1991 changing to 59 percent in 2019. For West Germans, this change over the same time period was from 52 to 64 percent. Additionally, the fall of the Berlin Wall was useful in generating wealth at the household level in both the East and the West. Those who lived in West Germany and had social ties to the East experienced a six percent average increase in their wealth in the six years following the fall of the wall, which more than doubled that of households who didn't possess the same connections. Entrepreneurs who worked in areas with strong social ties to the East saw their incomes increase at an even more rapid rate. Incomes for this group increased at an average rate of 8.8 percent over the same six year period following reunification. Similarly, those in the East who possessed connections to the West saw their household income increase at a positive rate in each of the six years following reunification. Those in their regions who lacked the same ties did not see the same benefit. More broadly, commercial firms, in the same way as households and individuals, also saw profits increase in the years following reunification. Specifically, gains in the form of increased profits were the greatest for firms in the service sector who invested in the East relative to those which did not. The reunification served to increase economic growth in the region through rising household income and commercial profit due to the ability to utilize social connections that were previously restricted by the border.


Inner reunification

Vast differences between former East Germany and West Germany in lifestyle, wealth, political beliefs, and other matters remain, and it is therefore still common to speak of eastern and western Germany distinctly. It is often referred to as the "wall in the head" ("Mauer im Kopf"). Ossis (Easterners) are stereotyped as racist, poor and largely influenced by Russian culture, while Wessis (Westerners) are usually considered snobbish, dishonest, wealthy, and selfish. East Germans indicate a dissatisfaction with the status quo and cultural alienation from the rest of Germany, and a sense that their cultural heritage is not acknowledged enough in the now unified Germany. The West, on the other hand, has become uninterested in what the East has to say, and this has led to more resentment toward the East exacerbating the divide. Both the West and the East have failed to sustain an open-minded dialogue and the failure to grasp the effects of the institutional path dependency has increased the frustration each side feels. The economy of eastern Germany has struggled since unification, and large subsidies are still transferred from west to east. Economically, eastern Germany has had a sharp rise of 10% to West Germany’s 5%. Western Germany also still holds 56% of the GDP. Part of this disparity between the East and the West lies in the Western labor Unions' demand for high-wage pacts in an attempt to prevent "low-wage zones." This caused many Germans from the East to be outpriced in the market, adding to the slump in businesses in eastern Germany as well as the rising unemployment. The former East German area has often been compared to the underdeveloped Southern Italy and the Southern United States during Reconstruction era of the United States, Reconstruction after the American Civil War. While the economy of eastern Germany has recovered recently, the differences between East and West remain present. Politicians and scholars have frequently called for a process of "inner reunification" of the two countries and asked whether there is "inner unification or continued separation". "The process of German unity has not ended yet", proclaimed Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, in 2009.Umfrage: Ost- und Westdeutsche entfernen sich voneinander – Nachrichten Politik – WELT ONLINE
Welt.de. Retrieved on 19 October 2010.
Nevertheless, the question of this "inner reunification" has been widely discussed in the German public, politically, economically, culturally, and also constitutionally since 1989. Politically, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the successor party of the former Socialist Unity Party of Germany, East German socialist state party has become a major force in German politics. It was renamed Party of Democratic Socialism (Germany), PDS, and, later, merged with the Western leftist party Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative, WASG to form the party The Left (Germany), The Left (Die Linke). Constitutionally, the Basic Law of West Germany (Grundgesetz) provided two pathways for unification. The first was the implementation of a new all-German constitution, safeguarded by a popular referendum. Actually, this was the original idea of the "Grundgesetz" in 1949: it was named a "basic law" instead of a "constitution" because it was considered provisional. The second way was more technical: the implementation of the constitution in the East, using a paragraph originally designed for the West German states (Bundesländer) in case of internal re-organization like the merger of two states. While this latter option was chosen as the most feasible one, the first option was partly regarded as a means to foster the "inner reunification". A public manifestation of coming to terms with the past (''Vergangenheitsbewältigung'') is the existence of the so-called Marianne Birthler, Birthler-Behörde, the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, which collects and maintains the files of the East German security apparatus. The economic reconstruction of former East Germany following the reunification required large amounts of public funding which turned some areas into boom regions, although overall unemployment remains higher than in the former West. Unemployment was part of a process of deindustrialization starting rapidly after 1990. Causes for this process are disputed in political conflicts up to the present day. Most times bureaucracy and lack of efficiency of the East German economy are highlighted and the de-industrialization is seen as an inevitable outcome of the "Wende". But many critics from East Germany point out that it was the shock-therapy style of privatization that did not leave room for East German enterprises to adapt, and that alternatives like a slow transition had been possible. Reunification did, however, lead to a large rise in the average standard of living in former East Germany and a stagnation in the West as $2 trillion in public spending was transferred East. Between 1990 and 1995, gross wages in the east rose from 35% to 74% of western levels, while pensions rose from 40% to 79%. Unemployment reached double the western level as well. West German cities close to the former border of East and West Germany experienced a disproportionate loss of market access relative to other West German cities which were not as greatly affected by the reunification of Germany. In terms of media usage and reception, the country remains partially divided especially among the older generations. Mentality gaps between East and West persist, but so does sympathy. Additionally, the integration between Easterners and Westerners is not happening on as large a scale as was expected. Young people have on average very little knowledge of former East Germany. Some people in Eastern Germany engage in "Ostalgie", which is a certain nostalgia for the time before the wall came down. Today, there are several prominent people of East German origin, including Michael Ballack, Katarina Witt, Paul van Dyk, and Angela Merkel.


Reunified Berlin

While the
fall of the Berlin Wall The fall of the Berlin Wall (german: Mauerfall) on 9 November 1989 was a pivotal event in world history which marked the falling of the Iron Curtain and the start of the fall of communism in Eastern and Central Europe. The fall of the inner Ger ...
had broad economic, political and social impacts globally, it also had significant consequence for the local urban environment. In fact, the events of 9 November 1989 saw
East Berlin East Berlin was the ''de facto'' capital city of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990. Formally, it was the Soviet sector of Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, la ...
and
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is ...
, two halves of a single city that had ignored one another for the better part of 40 years, finally "in confrontation with one another". There was a belief in the city that after 40 years of division, the reunified city would be well placed to become a major metropolis. In the context of urban planning, in addition to a wealth of new opportunity and the symbolism of two former independent nations being re-joined, the reunification of Berlin presented numerous challenges. The city underwent massive redevelopment, involving the political, economic, and cultural environment of both East and West Berlin. However, the "scar" left by the Wall, which ran directly through the very heart of the city had consequences for the urban environment that planning still needs to address.


Urban planning issues

The reunification of Berlin presented legal, political, and technical challenges for the urban environment. The political division and physical separation of the city for more than 30 years saw the East and the West develop their own distinct urban forms, with many of these differences still visible to this day. East and West Berlin were directed by two separate political and urban agendas. East Berlin developed a mono-centric structure around government buildings and open spaces, while West Berlin was poly-centric in nature, with a center that was higher-density but less residential. The two political systems allocated funds to post-war reconstruction differently, based on political priorities, and this had consequences for the reunification of the city. West Berlin had received considerably more financial assistance for reconstruction and refurbishment. There was considerable disparity in the general condition of many of the buildings: at the time of reunification, East Berlin still contained many leveled areas, which were previous sites of destroyed buildings from
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, as well as damaged buildings that had not been repaired. An immediate challenge facing the reunified city was the need for physical connectivity between the East and the West, specifically the organization of infrastructure. In the period following World War II, approximately half of the railway lines were removed in East Berlin. Urban rail required substantial work over more than a decade to fully reconnect the two halves of the city, and the trams in Berlin, tram network had been removed from the West leaving it entirely in the East.


Policy for reunification

As urban planning in Germany is the responsibility of the city government, the integration of East and West Berlin was in part complicated by the fact that the existing planning frameworks became obsolete with the fall of the Wall. Prior to the reunification of the city, the Land Use Plan of 1988 and General Development Plan of 1980 defined the spatial planning criteria for West and East Berlin, respectively. These were replaced by the new, unified Land Use Plan in 1994. Termed "Critical Reconstruction", the new policy aimed to revive Berlin's pre-war aesthetic; it was complemented by a strategic planning document for downtown Berlin, entitled "Inner City Planning Framework". Following the dissolution of the German Democratic Republic on 3 October 1990, all planning projects under the socialist regime were abandoned. Vacant lots, open areas, and empty fields in East Berlin were subject to redevelopment, in addition to space previously occupied by the Wall and associated buffer zone. Many of these sites were positioned in central, strategic locations of the reunified city.


After the fall of the Wall

Berlin's urban organization experienced significant upheaval following the physical and metaphorical collapse of the Wall, as the city sought to "re-invent itself as a 'Western' metropolis". Redevelopment of vacant lots, open areas, and empty fields, as well as space previously occupied by the Wall and associated buffer zone, were based on land use priorities as reflected in "Critical Reconstruction" policies. Green space and recreational areas were allocated 38% of freed land; 6% of freed land was dedicated to mass-transit systems to address transport inadequacies. Reunification initiatives also included the construction of major office and commercial projects, as well as the renovation of housing estates in East Berlin. Another key priority was reestablishing Berlin as the seat of government of Germany, and this required buildings to serve government needs, including the "redevelopment of sites for scores of foreign embassies". With respect to redefining the city's identity, emphasis was placed on restoring Berlin's traditional landscape. "Critical Reconstruction" policies sought to disassociate the city's identity from its Nazi and socialist legacy, though some remnants were preserved, with walkways and bicycle paths established along the border strip to preserve the memory of the Wall. In the center of East Berlin much of the modernist heritage of the East German state was gradually removed. Reunification saw the removal of politically motivated street names and monuments in the East in an attempt to reduce the socialist legacy from the face of East Berlin. Immediately following the fall of the Wall, Berlin experienced a boom in the construction industry. Redevelopment initiatives saw Berlin turn into one of the largest construction sites in the world through the 1990s and early 2000s. The fall of the Wall also had economic consequences. Two German systems covering distinctly divergent degrees of economic opportunity suddenly came into intimate contact. Despite development of sites for commercial purposes, Berlin struggled to compete in economic terms with key West German centers such as Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. The intensive building activity directed by planning policy resulted in the over-expansion of office space, "with a high level of vacancies in spite of the move of most administrations and government agencies from Bonn". Berlin was marred by disjointed economic restructuring, associated with massive deindustrialization. Economist Oliver Marc Hartwich, Hartwich asserts that while the East undoubtedly improved economically, it was "at a much slower pace than [then Chancellor Helmut] Kohl had predicted". Wealth and income inequality between former East and West Germany continued for decades after reunification. On average adults in the former West Germany had assets worth 94,000 euros in 2014 as compared to the adults in the former communist East Germany which had just over 40,000 euros in assets. Facilitation of economic development through planning measures failed to close the disparity between East and West, not only in terms of the economic opportunity but also housing conditions and transport options. Tölle states that "the initial euphoria about having become one unified people again was increasingly replaced by a growing sense of difference between Easterners ("Ossis") and Westerners ("Wessis")". The fall of the Wall also instigated immediate cultural change. The first consequence was the closure in East Berlin of politically oriented cultural institutions. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the factors described above led to mass migration from East Berlin and East Germany, producing a large labor supply shock in the West. Emigration from the East, totaling 870,000 people between 1989 and 1992 alone, led to worse employment outcomes for the least-educated workers, for blue-collar workers, for men and for foreign nationals. At the close of the century, it became evident that despite significant investment and planning, Berlin was yet to retake "its seat between the European Global Cities of London and Paris." Yet ultimately, the disparity between East and West portions of Berlin has led to the city achieving a new urban identity. A number of locales of East Berlin, characterized by dwellings of in-between use of abandoned space for little to no rent, have become the focal point and foundation of Berlin's burgeoning creative activities. According to Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, "the best that Berlin has to offer, its unique creativity. Creativity is Berlin's future." Overall, the Berlin government's engagement in creativity is strongly centered on marketing and promotional initiatives instead of creative production. Creativity has been the catalyst for the city's "thriving music scene, active nightlife, and bustling street scene" all of which have become important attractions for the German capital. The industry is a key component of the city's economic make-up with more than 10% of all Berlin residents employed in cultural sectors.


Comparison

Germany was not the only state that had been separated through the aftermaths of World War II. For example, Korea (1945-present) as well as Vietnam (1954-1976) have been separated through the occupation of "Western-Capitalistic" and "Eastern-Communistic" forces, after the defeat of the Empire of Japan. Both countries suffered severely from this separation in the Korean War (1950–1953) and the Vietnam War (1955–1975) respectively, which caused heavy economic and civilian damage. However, German separation did not result in another war. Moreover, Germany is the only one of these countries that has managed to achieve a peaceful reunification. For instance, Vietnam achieved reunification after Vietnam War in 1976, while North Korea, North and South Korea still struggle with high political tensions and huge economic and social disparities, making a possible reunification an enormous challenge.


See also

* History of Germany (1945-1990) * Reunification * Stalin Note – 1952 German reunification proposal * Transitology * ''Good Bye, Lenin!'' * Chinese unification * Annan Plan for Cyprus, Cypriot reunification * United Ireland, Irish reunification * Korean reunification * Yemeni unification * Unification of Romania and Moldova * Vietnamese reunification


References


Further reading

* Blumenau, Bernhard, 'German Foreign Policy and the ‘German Problem’ During and After the Cold War: Changes and Continuities'. in: B Blumenau, J Hanhimäki & B Zanchetta (eds), ''New Perspectives on the End of the Cold War: Unexpected Transformations?'' Ch. 5. London: Routledge, 2018. . * Engel, Jeffrey A. ''When the World Seemed New: George H. W. Bush and the End of the Cold War'' (2018) pp. 273–291. *Charles S. Maier, Maier, Charles S., ''Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany'' (Princeton UP, 1997). * Meacham, Jon. ''Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush'' (2015), pp. 397–408. * Schemper, Lukas. "Diasporas and American debates on German unification." Journal of Transatlantic Studies 15.1 (2017): 41-6
online
* Spohr, Kristina. "German Unification: Between Official History, Academic Scholarship, and Political Memoirs" ''Historical Journal'' 43#3 (2000), pp. 869–888, at p. 876
online
* Philip Zelikow, Zelikow, Philip and Condoleezza Rice, ''Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft'' (Harvard University Press, 1997
excerpt


Primary sources

* Jarausch, Konrad H., and Volker Gransow, eds. ''Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates, 1944–1993'' (1994), primary sources in English translation


External links



website of CVCE (Centre of European Studies) * Hessler, Uwe

''dw-world.de'', 23 August 2005. * Berg, Stefan, Steffen Winter and Andreas Wassermann

''Der Spiegel'', 5 September 2005. * Wiegrefe, Klaus

'Der Spiegel'', 29 September 2010.
even dangerous"? Margaret Thatcher and German Unification, ''Academia.edu'', 2016.Problems with Reunification
from th
Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
{{DEFAULTSORT:German Reunification German reunification, Contemporary German history 1990 in Germany, Reunification 1990 in East Germany 1990 in West Germany 1990 in international relations National unifications Germany–Soviet Union relations Peaceful Revolution Ostalgie