before and after the reunification of Germany, thousands of East Germans ran to West Germany every day. At that time, if rapid changes were not made, there might be no one in the eastern region and all ran away. This is a huge pressure, forcing us to transform rapidly.
giant string puppets appeared on the streets of Berlin to commemorate the reunification of the two Germany.
article Catalogue: “the 20th anniversary of the unification of Germany and Germany: the road to freedom and prosperity
Wolfgang BOEHMER: without rapid transformation, people will run away. The economic construction in the east of
has not ended. The unification of Germany and Germany on October 3, 1990, It can be called the most unique and bold experiment of the last century. Although there are different opinions on the pros and cons, and although there is still uncertainty in its future, it at least shows the possibility that two mutually exclusive bodies can quickly accept each other under the action of external forces.
our reporter Chen Yu from Berlin
Joachim gauck, a former Federal German presidential candidate, made his last public appearance in Berlin on September 15. After 8:15 p.m., on the stage of Europe’s largest song and dance drama, the Friedrich palace in central Berlin, he received a bottle of gold medal in the shape of a hen from the governor of Brandenburg, Matthias platzeck, and became the winner of the political category of the Golden Rooster Award, the most important media Award in Germany in 2010.
with the help of the live broadcast of the award ceremony on German national television, platzek’s tribute and GoK’s thanks came into public view.
platzek: “he shocked many citizens, he attracted many citizens; he was an enlightener and a mentor of democracy. He spoke with his heart and reason.”
GoK: “we want to prove again and again that Germans can be free and Germans can take responsibility.”
this medal is awarded on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the reunification of the two Germany. The significance is obviously different from that in the past. For Gauk, a famous opposition in former East Germany at the age of 70 and a hero of the 1989 peaceful revolution and reunification, the Golden Rooster Award is not only a compensation for his gloomy mood after losing the presidential election, just like previous winners – former Federal German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, current Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Soviet President Gorbachev, That is more an affirmation of its great social contribution.
GoK’s words are appropriate to describe the process of reunification between the two Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The unification of Germany and China on October 3, 1990 can be regarded as the most unique and bold experiment of the last century. Although there are different opinions on the pros and cons, and although there is still uncertainty in its future, it at least shows the possibility that two mutually exclusive bodies can quickly accept each other under the action of external forces. In just 11 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German citizens who initially only asked for free travel and institutional improvement finally got a mature democracy – albeit a replica.
in 1990, Helmut Cole promised that the East would soon “prosper”. His prediction didn’t come true as scheduled. However, in the 20 years of reunification, Germany has made efforts to move from formal reunification to real reunification, which is undoubtedly the way for the East German region to consolidate freedom and strive for development. All Germans living in it are both objective observers and witnesses, and have made some contributions.
personally, Helmut Cole may be the number one hero of unification. But at first, the former German Chancellor was as hesitant as everyone. On November 28, 1989, when announcing the “ten point program” on reunification, he was still very cautious and proposed to “re realize German reunification through federalism in five years or more”. But soon after, Kohl, supported by the United States, realized that German reunification was not only possible, but also imminent.
the collapse of the Berlin wall gave East German citizens who had been isolated for 28 years the first opportunity to observe another Germany and system. People are immersed in the great joy of reunion after parting; A wide range of commodities, democratic elections and parliamentary politics have stimulated the East German people’s imagination of a better life. On the streets of East Germany, the slogan of protesters has changed from “we are the people!” It became “we are a nation!”. In the spring of 1990, 85% of the East Germans supported reunification; The proportion in West Germany is slightly lower, but it also reaches 70%.
another fact is more obvious: the opening of the Berlin Wall did not slow down the East German migration movement from east to west. In 1990, 2000 East Germans moved to West Germany every day, and the reception capacity of West Germany has reached its limit. “If we introduce the West German mark, we will stay; if we do not introduce the West German mark, we will look for it!” The East German shouted in the street. Politicians in Bonn are well aware that the only way to stop the flow of people from the east to West Germany is to assimilate East Germany with the West German model as soon as possible. It is the voice of the people to speed up the election of “spekds” and “spekds” on the 18th of 1990. That summer, the people’s Assembly passed a resolution to join the Federal Republic of Germany. According to the people’s requirements for the order of unification, in July, the two Germany signed an economic, monetary and social alliance, and the West German mark officially became the currency of East Germany; Two months later, the two countries signed a unification treaty and decided to officially merge on October 3.
the division of Germany was originally a product of World War II. On the issue of Germany, the victorious country in World War II never gave up its rights and interests. But in July, the last obstacle to German reunification was also removed. Two Germany andThe four allies reached an agreement after months of “2 + 4” talks. Helmut Kohl successfully calmed the fears of Britain and France about a resurgent Germany, and replaced Gorbachev’s consent to the entry of reunified Germany into NATO by bearing the cost of the withdrawal of the Soviet Red Army.
the East German people and the West German government realized their wishes. At 0:00 on October 3, 1990, the flag of the Federal Republic of Germany rose slowly on the parliament building in Berlin. Millions of people were celebrating on the streets and squares around the parliament building. In this national carnival, some cool headed observers, including the president of the Federal Bank of Germany, were not without worries. As they warned in advance, the way of German reunification and its lightning speed, the fatal impact on the already vulnerable East German economy and the resulting social and moral costs, soon emerged.
fusion and fission
novelist Angelika klusendov vividly describes the process of German reunification with the help of love stories in her book amateurs. In the story, the man is always from the west, and the ending is often: after the passion, the next two sides are full of misunderstanding and strangeness. In krusendorf’s view, this may be the typical symptom of the contact between the two Germany.
the honeymoon period is always pleasant. Moreover, according to the unification treaty, East Germany has completed its democratization before reunification and is ready to meet West Germany. These include: abolishing administrative districts and restoring traditional federal states; Build a system of local autonomy. Then it was time for the German federal government to honor its commitments.
what pleases East Germans most is that after the economic and monetary union, they can exchange almost useless East German marks for up to 40000 West German marks at a ratio of 1:1; Since 1993, state aid totalling 250.5 billion euros has also been poured into the East. Not only did the income gap between East Germans and West Germans narrow rapidly, but the infrastructure in East Germany also took on a new look. The “trusteeship bureau”, established in 1990, began to gradually privatize 8500 state-owned companies in former East Germany, involving 4.5 million workers. When the mission was completed four years later, 120000 private companies appeared in East Germany.
but no ideal plan can avoid “collateral damage”. The exchange value of the East German mark was overvalued by 400%, so the price of the original East German products soared and lost all markets at once; Two million young people left their homes in the east to look for opportunities in the West; A considerable number of East Germans lost their jobs almost overnight while receiving freedom and pension security. According to the data provided by the German Federal Ministry of economy and science and technology, the average unemployment rate was as high as 16.5% from 1991 to 2006, twice that of West Germany. This situation did not begin to improve until 2005.
therefore, just three years after the economic transformation, the people of East Germany showed widespread dissatisfaction and frustration. This sentiment reached its peak in the mid-1990s. Compared with the former central and Eastern European countries, it is particularly frustrating for the German people who observe each other with respect. The view of UWE Peter, editor in chief of the Political Department of Dresden daily, represents the view of a considerable number of German and Eastern intellectual elites: “they have the opportunity to develop their own political system and domestic democracy. In those days, everything in East Germany was occupied by West Germany, so it is difficult to innovate. That is why we are now lagging behind other Eastern European countries.”
the disappointment of the East German people about the failure of rapid economic integration and its effectiveness turned to vent in the form of political dissatisfaction, which may be the paradox brought about by reunification. The psychological distance between East and West residents also grows in this subtle contradiction. In addition to the two opposing concepts of “superior West Germans” and “ungrateful East Germans”, the “East Germans” – although Germans and Westerners argue that it is just a conventional title – are seen as discrimination against Easterners and have sparked continuous public discussion.
the new order and new life
complaints, protests and discussions did not make the Germans more divided, but made them wiser.
after 20 years of democratic baptism and running in, although the East and the West are still different, they are more and more inclusive. People have learned to appreciate the diversity of opinions, and in the words of Thomas Peterson of the Allens Institute of public opinion: “this shows that the relationship between the East and the West has been slowly but permanently normalized.”
Peterson owes this to young people. German youth born in 1989 or after reunification grew up in an environment where freedom is like breathing. Perhaps they may not understand the meaning of the word “freedom” to the Germans who were once unable to travel freely, so they will not have a historical burden. For them, the difference between the two parts of a country no longer has an important impact.
if the language is weak, the public opinion survey from the Allensbach Institute in 2010 can still show the German attitude: 63% of people have a positive evaluation of German unification; 64% believe that the combination of the East and the west is successful. In the west, the figure is even 68%, and in the East, it is 51%. The great debate over the way of unification that took place in early 1990 has long since dissipated, because democracy and freedom have taken root in East Germany.
20 years can really change a lot of things. In 2009, the per capita GDP of the eastern region was only 73% of that of the western region, and the wage level was only 85% of that of the latter. Although there is still a large gap, Stefan Clair, who is responsible for the research on the common problems of structural policies in the eastern region of Germany under the Ministry of economy and science and technology of the Federal Republic of Germany, said that the eastern region has shown great vitality. What is striking is that the proportion of wholly-owned companies in the East is 6 percentage points higher than that in the West. The vitality of
is reflected not only in economy, but also in culture and politics. Weimar and Dresden regained their status as the center of German traditional culture; The old architecture was occupied by the young artists in Berlin and became abandonedIt has been 20 years since the transformation of East Germany. Many Germans complain that the transformation is too fast. Polls also show that both East and West Germans are dissatisfied with the status quo. What do you think of this emotion in the process of transformation?
Burmer: it was impossible to use other methods at that time. Before and after the reunification of Germany, thousands of East Germans came to West Germany every day. At that time, if rapid changes were not made, there might be no one in the eastern region and all of them ran away. This is a huge pressure, forcing us to transform rapidly. “Spekds”, “spekds”, “spekds”, “spekds”, “spekds”, “spekds”, “spekds” Professor ofey once compared the transformation of East Germany after 1989 with that of West Germany after 1945. The conclusion is that the transformation of East Germany is more difficult than that of West Germany, because although the hardware facilities of East Germany are very good, the personnel, concepts and other software are not as good as those of West Germany. What do you think?
Burmer: similar but not exactly so. In 1945, the market was empty and products could be sold as long as they worked; The problem in the 1990s was that it was difficult to enter the market, especially in West Germany and the international market, because the market was saturated.
times weekly: how do you view the change of people’s ideas at that time? After 1945, there was a de Nazi movement in West Germany.
bermel: after reunification, East Germany also carried out the past communist movement, but it was not as deep as the de Nazi movement in that year. In the de communism movement, we must recognize one thing: they are not against communism, but against the abuse of state power by communism. You can also govern with different ideologies; You can admire Africa and try to adopt their way. This is no problem, but state power cannot be abused.
times weekly: compared with the former Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland, the economic development of East Germany is not good enough. Therefore, some people complain that if West Germany did not completely destroy the system of East Germany, the transformation may be more smooth.
Burmer: I disagree. Socialism has always existed as an ideology. After 2000, many people in East Germany have reflected that there may be a better society, but I don’t agree with this view.
times weekly: do you think there is no merit in the former East Germany?
bermel: of course, East Germany also has a lot of experience to learn from, and is now learning from. For example, the status of women in East Germany was relatively high, and we are now moving in this direction. However, this is a normal phenomenon in the development process. In the development process, we must see the mainstream and then improve it.
times weekly: you have served three terms as chancellor of Federal Germany, Helmut Cole, Gerhardt Schroeder and Angela Merkel, how do you compare their policies and attitudes towards East Germany?
Burmer: it’s hard to compare. The tasks are different in different periods. For example, Prime Minister Kohl, at that time, mainly completed reunification and sought stable relations with neighboring countries; Almost ten years later, Schroeder came to power in 1998. His task was to stabilize the East German region and provide financial assistance to the East German region; To Chancellor Merkel, her main task is to deal with the financial crisis.
times weekly: as governor, what do you think is the biggest challenge you face now?
bermel: the political and institutional transformation in the eastern region has long ended, but the economic construction has not ended. Compared with the western region, the eastern region still has a gap in industry and other aspects. We need to expand foreign trade and transform the economic structure, because Germany is an export-oriented country; We hope that the per capita GDP will reach about 78% of that of West Germany.
times weekly: as a politician, what are you most proud of in the 20-year transformation of East Germany?
bermel: I promoted the smooth transformation of East Germany.
times weekly: no turbulence?
bermel: there are always people who are dissatisfied, there are always people who want to make more money, but it’s not just the German problem, everyone in the world has this problem. East Germany is basically democratic and stable, because we have established a democratic government.