The End of the GDR, 1989 - 1990

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  • The End of the GDR, 1989 - 1990
    • The collapse of the SED Government
      • After the collapse of the wall there was a succession of governments inthe GDR.
      • Krenz and the older style SED leaders barely lasted a month.The power shifted the SED to the Volkskammer who had been rubbing stamping the policies of the SED.
      • Modrow became the Minister-President and in his inaugural address he spoke about the future of the GDR and how it would become closer to the FRG and Europe.
      • No one listened.17,500 GDR citizens applied for exits visas. The old style leadership collapsed and Honecker, Stoph and Mielke were tried for corruption and misuse of office.
      • The SED party tried to rebrand itself as the Socialist Unity Party-Party of Democratic Socialism (SPD-PDS). It was just window dressing and support fell dramatically the SED ceased to exist.
    • The elections of March 1990
      • The FRG took over non-communist parties of the GDR. On 18 th March 1990 the first free elections took place in the GDR.
      • On 12th April the CDU leader in East Germany Lothar de Maiziere became the final leader of the GDR. Reunification was inevitable.
      • People voted for the Alliance for Germany as it was the fastest route to reunification.
      • The winners were the CDU dominated alliance with 48% of the vote. Many people were not interested in parties which spoke about a future for the GDR.
      • Union formally took place through the Unification Treaty on 31 st August and the GDR failed to exist on 3 rd December.
      • On 18 th May the treaty if currency union was singed and 1 st July all central planning was stopped.
    • The Final Governments of the GDR
      • Modrow as Minister-President tried to bring about economic reforms such as more autonomy for businesses and less central planning.
      • Heoffered a ‘third way’ between capitalism and communism but no onewas interested.
      • He wanted to reform the Stasi as the Office for National Security – however the inequalities of the communist-society were revealed (SED leaders having nice houses, restaurants and swimming pools) and the extent of the Stasi surveillance.
      • Opposition groups tried to preserve the GDR – Central Round Table met to discuss the forms and structure of a new GDR.
      • Reunification gained more support from 39 to 72% when Kohl offered monetary union in Feb the GDR lost a key responsibility and the FDR Bundesbank effectively controlled the economy.
      • Modrow bought forward the elections – they were the first free elections in the GDR and they were dominated by political parties from the FRG.
    • How did countries view the reunification?
      • Britain = Thatcher welcomed the end of communism but was worried about a potentially strong Germany and that this would destabilize Gorbachev in the USSR.
      • He was getting worried about the stress the refugees were placing on the FRG welfare system
      • Demands from the GDR citizens were increasing
      • FRG Parliament on 28 th Nov 1989 Kohl introduced a ten point plan fora gradual co-operation with the GDR, he wanted to slow reunification the people took this to mean he had given the green light.
      • The USA and USSR were supporting
      • Kohl was energized by;
        • Kohl saw the process taking 5-10 years the rapid collapse of the GDR made him change his mind.
      • The fall of the Berlin Wall
      • Kohl’s attitude to reunification – he did not want to destabilize Europe and Gorbachevs support came as a great relief.
      • Soviet Union = less keen on reunification but was realistic. Gorbachev did not have the resources to help keep the GDR together and told the Kohl the German people had to decide their own fate.
      • USA = supported the FRG and unification.
      • France = would accept a reunified Germany if it worked closely with the European Union.
    • Reunification
      • Under pressure from the USA, Britain and France sat down with the USSR and representatives from the two Germanys to discuss the reunification –FOUR PLUS TWO TREATIES. It was signed on 12 th September 1990.
      • The borders of Germany were recognized as those of the two existingGerman states. Poland was happy they were concerned they would haveto give back land they had gained post 1945.
      • The four-power status in berlin was ended from midnight 2 oct.
      • The united Germany would join NATO
      • The Russian army would withdraw its troops from the territory of the former GDR by 1994
      • Gorbachev said that NATO troops could not be stationed within 300 miles of the Polish border but this was ignored – the USSR soon didn’t exist anyway. In concessions the USSR asked for $20 billion they got $8 billion.
      • Reunification went ahead on 3 rd October 1990, less than a year after the fall of the Berlin wall.
    • Ostalgie
      • In 1998 a survey found the only 10% of respondents wanted to see the GDR return – however over time nostalgia grew for some aspects of the GDR known as ‘ostalgie’.
      • Many were not prepared for the capitalist system and had benefited from the GDR’s social welfare.
      • No matter what their background they had received; cheap housing, free healthcare,education and full employment.
      • Many felt disorientation and dis empowered- they resented the way the GDR had ended it had been swallowed by the FRG and noting remained.
      • Many did not want to criticize the GDR was it would be criticizing themselves and the past 40 years.
    • West Germans
      • Many felt disillusioned with the reunification process as to them the East was so backward.
      • The GDR still had outside toilets and 60% did not have central heating.
      • This led to slower economic growth throughout the Eurozone – most members of the EU paid for German reunification.
      • East Germans were criticized for their over dependency.
      • The German government invested DM billion subsidies wages and social services in the GDR.


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