5: The Reuniting of Germany 1989-1991

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  • The Reuniting of Germany 1989-1991
    • External factors 1989
      • Late 1980s Hungary made significant changes to its government
        • It was a popular tourist destination for those in East
          • GDR citizens could claim West German passport on entering Austria (bordered Hungary)
            • This was under FRG law after Hungary-Austria border was opened
            • From Sept 1989 Hungary announced any East Germans could legally cross into Austria
      • FRG encouraged people to leave GDR
        • 1989 Gorbachev visited FRG + spoke to Kohl about reunifiction
      • SED tried to close its personal borders
        • Looked like it was imprisoning its own people
    • Internal factors
      • Honecker unwilling to allow changes to system in GDR
        • May 1989 protests broke out when proven elections were rigged
      • Spring 1989 on - protest groups started holding meetings + peace prayers outside church in Leipzig
        • Sept-Oct 1989 'Monday demonstrations' attracted thousands
      • Gorbachev visited East Berlin in Oct 1989 for GDR's 40th birthday
        • Urged Honecker to make changes to GDR or all its citizens would leave
      • 9th Oct 1989 70,000 turned out for demonstrations in Leipzig
        • Honecker planned to crush them with violence but Soviet soldiers did not support this
      • 17th Oct 1989 Politburo asked Honecker to stand down
        • He agreed on 'health terms' (had gallbladder surgery)
      • Krenz appointed after Honecker
        • Tried to make GDR more modern + offered free travel
      • Nov 1989 over 1 million demonstrated + 2 days later 500,000 marched on Leipzig
        • Free travel + free elections demanded
        • 9th Nov 1989 GDR accepted anyone with passport could go to West
          • Supposed to be announced on 10th Nov
    • Immediate impact of fall of wall
      • 9th Nov 1989
        • Travel restrictions lifted a day early
          • GDR's government hoped people would visit but return home
          • Announced worldwide
      • East German border guards overwhelmed by 1000s of people waiting to cross at checkpoints
        • Didn't try to force crowds back
        • By midnight GDR police announced all border checkpoints had been opened
      • Germans from both sides danced on the wall, hugged, kissed + sang together
        • GDR citizens greeted with free gifts by FRG
      • Most GDR citizens returned home after
        • Increasing calls for reunification - lure of the West was too great
      • Krenz lasted 44 days - Modrow replaced him
        • Announced free+ fair elections would take place
      • East Germans packing up + leaving
        • 75,000 in Jan 1990 alone
        • Nov 1990 Kohl stated it was best for East Germans to stay in GDR
          • Demanded SED give up control of GDR
      • Nov 1989 Kohl's 'Ten Point Plan' called for federation of GDR+FRG (reunification)
        • He expected it to take 4-5 years to implement
        • Foreign interests were not keen on the plan
    • Why GDR disintergrated
      • Attraction of Western consumer society too much to resist
      • From Dec 1989 growing numbers of Germans called for reunification
        • 22nd Dec Brandenburg gate opened
      • Control of info in GDR weakened
        • 15th Jan 1990 Stasi headquarters stormed by protestoers
          • Stasi only managed to destroy 5% of their files
            • Rest now available for East Germans to read
      • March 1990 = 1st free elections in GDR
        • 'Alliance for Germany' coalition won + they wanted reunification
        • Western politicians helped Eastern counterparts
    • Reuniting Germany 1990-1991
      • 1st stage = economic union
        • July 1990 deutschmark became currency for both
          • Currency reform destroyed GDRs economy
          • People now bought Western products
        • Summer 1990 nearly 20% GDR's workforce unemployed
          • Industry + agriculture hard hit
            • Farmers suffered
    • Discussions with allied powers
      • GDR+FRG did not have the power to reunite without external help
        • The 4 allies had to give their agreement
        • 1990 'Two plus Four' negotiations
      • Kohl played important role in creating stronger relations with USA
      • Agreement on unification with USSR = difficult
        • USSR had used Germany as a 'buffer zone' and protection from the West
        • Prospect of NATO troops in East Germany scared USSR
      • Part of Gorbachev's policy of change involved better relations with the West
        • 16th May 1990 - Kohl + Gorbachev agreed to reunification
          • Germany would join NATO and Soviet troops to withdraw from East Germany
    • Unification treaty
      • Signed by GDR+FRG on 31st August 1990
        • 4 allied powers agreed they would remove troops from Berlin
          • Returning the country to German control
      • FRG agreeeed to limit armed forces
        • Now 370,000 in size
      • GDR abolished 3rd Oct 1990
        • Berlin wall largely dismantled 1990-1991
        • 3rd Oct now celebrated as German Unity Day
      • Dec 1990 1st all German elections since 1932
        • Kohl kept his job as chancellor
    • Kohl + reunifiction
      • He claimed credit as 'reunification chancellor'
        • Stressed importance of his 10 point plan
      • Others claim he was an opportunist
      • Critics believe his didn't think about long term

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