The Wartime Conferences: Yalta and Potsdam
Yalta Conference - Feb '45 (war still on), Ukraine, agreements to establish UN organisation to maintain world stability/security + free elections in Poland, USSR a dictatorship so USA + Britain feared Stalin would est. similar govts. in Eastern Europe yet agreed to free elections.
Circumstances of Potsdam - Jul '45, East Berlin, relations between "Big Three" soured, political ideologies apparent as common enemy (Hitler) gone, decided on 4 zones of occupation (3 in West Germany, Soviet in East), Berlin divided into 4 also, reperations taken in form of industrial euipment + machinery (rather than ToV money), West keen to avoid too harsh punishment yet USSR resented Germany (caused 27 million deaths of civilians + soldiers).
USSR acted directly + took factories, railway tracks + rolling stock to Russia ("asset-stripping", annoyed West), although occupied more areas of agriculture. Meant to trade but USSR did not SO food shortage + damage to economy in East.
Differences - Potsdam sowed seeds of Cold War (+ "proxy wars"), change of leadership (Roosevelt's successor stubborn Truman, Churchill's replacement Attlee), tension over future of Eastern Europe (Stalin's intentions with new Eastern bloc govt.), suspicions increased of West towards USSR.
Living Conditions in Germany, 1945-49
Refugees - millions returned to from areas of Nazi occupation (in East esp.), "Displaced Persons Camps".
Food shortages - rations given to citizens lower than received in WW2, winter '46-7 w/ rations of 1000 calories per day (like concentration camps), many grew own food, money became worthless, potatoes + cigarettes used as currency.
Social issues - resentment between occupying powers + civilians, in Eastern zones c. 2 million women affected by violence from Soviet soldiers, West Germans resented lifestyle of Allied forces (social clubs, etc built in midst of housing shortage), segregation policies between Allies + Germans, "Trummerfrauen"/"Rubble-Women".
Denazification - East ruthless putting Nazi suspects in "Special Camps" where 25% of 60,000 prisoners died between '48-50, West eventually abandoned denazification in '50s as process unworkable (ex-Nazis able to work in govt. + legal system), e.g. of 6000 Nazis working Auschwitz only 22 put on trial w/ 17 facing short prison spells + 5 executions. Those w/ medical/technological skills kept as "too useful to punish".
Reasons for Division: Eastern Zone, 1945-8
Political development - April '45 German Communists led by Ulbricht returned from USSR w/ task of acheiving political power, political parties existed w/o democracy, KPD got little support, most popular party in '45-6 was SPD, unhappy Soviet Military Administration (SMAD) forced SPD/KPD merger to form SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany, Apr. '46).
SED Policies - 14-25 year olds urged to join FDJ (Free German Youth/Young Pioneers), mass organisations for women est., by 1949 60% industry + business nationalised + then redistributed (a mistake as larger farms more efficient), educational system reboot (denazified, w/ new teachers + Communist-friendly TBs), oppurtunities for working class to get proper education, failure to join FDJ could result in being barred from uni).
SO the East's social, political + economic system was being shaped along Communist lines. In Oct '49 the East became the GDR (German Democratic Republic), the SED was the dominant party, Ulbricht was "First Secretary of the Politburo" + the SED suppressed any threats to their "Socialist Paradise", e.g. what constitution guaranteed not reality, e.g. no freedom of speech/religion/right to strike.
Reasons for Division: Western Zone(s), 1945-8
Developments - parties allowed to re-establish themselves (main inc. SPD, KPD, CDU + FDP), "Truman Doctrine" pledging support to any nation threatened by Communist takeover, Marshall Plan (financial weapon) to revive Western European economy to resist Communists (Soviets barred Eastern European states from accepting), within 4 years US$13,000 billion given to Western Europe, inc. FRG leading to massive economic growth, merge of British + American zones to form "Bizonia" increasing tension w/ East, in 1948 the Deutschmark (DM) intorduced into Western zones as RM worthless (hurt Soviet economy yet strong currency needed), "Trizonia" in Apr. '49.
Results - as result of currency reform, Stalin's Berlin Blockade between Jun '48 + May '39 to force Western Allies to abandon West Berlin, Allies co-ordinated armed forces to supply West Berlin w/ food + fuel by air, made division a certainty, led to creation of NATO eventually + FRG officially formed.
SO May '49 FRG est., constitution stated President now couldn't remove Chancellor + political parties needed min. 5% votes to take seats in Parliament (against extremists), fear that Adenauer's coalition weak + would become puppet to USA (strong relationship w/ West not popular). Bonn capital of FRG, whose constitution stated dedication to reunification.
Contrasting Economic + Political Developments, 195
FRG - in '50s + '60s govt. dominated by Adenauer's CDU, period of economic growth ("economic miracle"), FRG closely intergrated w/ Western Allies, criticised for materialism + political conservativism, became a major capitalist power, some Nazi conc. camps preserved as memorials, compensation to Jews, payments to affected countries (DM8mil to Czechosloavakia '69 + DM100mil to Hungary '71), followed Western policies on Middle East + est. relations w/ Israel, policy towards GDR dictated by Hallstein Doctrine (gave FRG right to speak on behalf of GDR too, classed as a zone), Adenauer opposed Stalin's note for unity if FRG not dominant power (suspicion rife).
GDR - v. disciplined socialist govt. under SED, fully intergrated w/ Eastern Bloc + USSR, strongest Eastern Bloc country except USSR, found fighting propaganda difficult as East Germans received West German TV/radio broadcasts, gave extra pensions to Jews but focused more on Communist prisoners (glorified as "anti-fascist freedom fighters"), supported Arab struggle against Israel, considered unofficial "member" of EEC.
BOTH - both challenged by rebuilding in wake of WW2, legacy of Holocaust, struggle for new govt. + social system, had to acknowledge alliances w/ wartime enemies, rearmament opposed in both, both portrayed each other negatively (FRG viewed itself as progressive, liberal democracy + GDR portrayed as totalitarian dictatorship, WHILST GDR highlighted FRG's problems w/ homelessness, drug abuse + unemployment that it claimed not to have, also claimed FRG influenced by Nazism as ex-Nazis in govt.), "Inter-German trade".
The FRG's "Economic Miracle", 1950s
FRG saw massive, sustained economic growth between 1945 + mid-1950s ("economic miracle" or Wirtschaftswunder) + became 3rd strongest industrial power + second in its share of world trade, built modern cities + economic expansion meant were labour shortages, Marshall Plan helped strengthen economy (although UK received most).
"Economic Miracle" owed to these factors - Marshall Aid, new DM (valuable so people worked hard to earn), intact industrial base, ample raw materials (e.g. coal in Ruhr), cheap labour from Europe + Turkey, high demand for goods in West (e.g. demand for steel in USA due to Korean War 1950-53), no armed forces until '55 so money invested elsewhere, good labour relations ("co-determination" w/ trade unions represented on companies' managing boards so reduced threat of strikes + more worker benefits), German workers worked hard, Erhard's sensible policies (e.g. "social-market economy" where free market operated w/ workers' rights strengthened), govt.'s hands-off business approach, schemes to create work (e.g. house-building), building companies given incentives (e.g. low taxation), good industrial relations, good living standards in '50s as govt. could fund generous welfare provisions.
Figures for the FRG's Economic Miracle
- the boom of 30% growth that occurred between Mar. + Aug. '48 as result of currency reform
- Marshall Plan invested $1.5 billion of foreign fund into the West German economy
- spent more of its own money on Eastern refugees
- cities + transport network overhauled + this massive building programme created economic growth
- 1950-60 an average growth rate of 8%, unemployment fell to 0.5% (Erhard’s slogan - ‘wealth for all’)
- 850, 000 unfilled jobs in the FRG by '64 (evidence of cont. growth)
- ‘s. m. e.' introduced '50, coincided with immediate resurgence in economy, e.g. work creation schemes
- average West German family income rose by 400% between '50 - '70 + codetermination ensured Trade Union wage demands modest.
YES BUT NOT IMPRESSIVE:
- economy bolstered by the influx of 3 million workers from the GDR during 1949-61
- German growth helped as took place within European context (heavily dependent on general European growth)
- the world’s 2nd largest economy in 1939 + despite bombing of factories, secure economic infrastructure left
- Investment Aid Law '51 offered govt. subsidy of 3.2 billion DM to manufacturing industry
- ongoing tight banking controls were introduced to ensure the strength of the DM
- Erhard was forced to cut government spending by 10% in '66 + annual inflation rate of 4%
NO: - during '50s gap between rich + poor widened + workers’ wages remained relatively low - Erhard raised interest rates to reduce demand, but only deepened the recession - sharp economic downturn '65 caused by excessive govt. spending – inc. Erhard’s ‘green plan’, subsidising agriculture (the SPD also blamed spending on railways and military equipment)
West German Independence
From '49 - '55, FRG's foreign relations controlled by Allied High Commission + by '55 Adenauer's policies of economic cooperation w/ West (notably "old enemy" France) created atmosphere of trust, accepted in '49 that West would control Ruhr, creation of ECSC in '51 led to handing back of Ruhr + in '54 Allied High Commission abolished + in '55 FRG became independent state.
Adenauer's Chancellorship - 14 years, CDU only party to gain overall majority in Bundestag, retained power due to economic miracle, admiration for his strong leadership in foreign policy, lack of strong opposition from other parties, criticisms inc. FRG too Americanised (focus on pursuit of wealth), not willing to face up to Nazi past, social inequalities (e.g. foreign workers treated poorly), '51 "131 Law" allowed ex-Nazis to be employed in civil service, e.g. Hans Globke, overly conservative + restrictive govt. (banned West German Communists after support for GDR's crushing of '53 Berlin Uprising), 'Spiegel Affair'.
In '55, allowed to re-arm, USA believed important line of defence against Communism so needed armed forces, Adenauer claimed necessary in case of Soviet invasion, fears FRG an American puppet, e.g. FRG soldiers not allowed in Berlin, compulsory military service (15 months) introduced in '55, NATO, fear of nuclear weaponry,civilian service scheme, officers in army had been Nazis, Iron Cross reintroduced (associated w/ Hitler).
Mini-recession in mid-60s, worker resentment + extreme right-wingers like NPD, SPD took adv. + re-branded for middle-class,Erhard -> 'Grand Coalition' + Kiesinger -> Willy Brandt, protests against Kiesinger as ex-Nazi, protests of '60s against relationship w/ US + opposition to Vietnam.
Emigration + the Building of the Wall '61
1300km "inner German border" existed heavily fortified by '50s, Berlin Wall a small fraction of this.
Emmigration - identity cards needed in 5km exclusion zone w/ only loyal citizens could live, border guards, '52-'61 over 3.5mil. emigrated, 50,000 migrated, population fell from 18.5mil. to 17mil. (loss of skilled workers/farmers, ageing population, lack of credibility for SED/propaganda weapon for FRG), FRG gave automatic citizenship + if persecuted by SED financial/housing assistance, "flight from the republic" (emigrators called criminals), in 50s easy to cross border/travel visas/etc, border-crossers who worked in FRG discouraged w/ currency restrictions (politically unreliable).
After '50s - West Berlin blank space on map, travel visas impossible to get, 2/3 roads closed, large nos. of Stasi to identify potential emigrators, w/ East German police targeted those w/ lots of luggage, checked suspects' mail, propaganda, from '57 "flight from republic" illegal w/ 3yr prison sentence, 50,000 arrested '60-'61, mostly young/skilled workers, incentives, e.g. doctors' right to practice privately after '58/foreign travel/guarantee of kids' uni places, GDR richest in Eastern Bloc but consumerism attractive.
Berlin Wall - to stem flow of skilled workers, West Berlin "island" embarrassing for SED/spies, Cold War tensions + nuclear arms race, Fidel Castro in Cuba, Kruschev declaring Berlin territory of GDR + threatening military action, JFK, Ulbricht's meeting w/ Kruschev in Jul., K believed FRG may give inspiration to potential escapees in Communist states.
Developments under Ulbricht '50-71
Stasi - highly governed state heavily influenced by USSR, freedom of speech repressed, Ministry of State Security (Stasi) set up '50, used surveillance, arrest/intimidation to maintain govt. control, used IMs (Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter) as unofficial employees of secret police, 50,000 official, 100,000 unofficial, had considerable perks, collected "mood reports" on population after June Uprising so govt. could target propaganda.
Radical change - '49-'61, "the creation of the basis of socialism", undemocratic elections, voters picked from govt. nominated candidates, Volkslammer dominated by SED, joined COMECON in '50, remilitarised in '55, compulsory service '62, refusal to join army -> "construction soldiers" denied educational/career oppurtunities, NVA (National People's Army) efficient + constructed Berlin Wall Aug '61, allied w/ Soviet Union, joined Warsaw Pact '55, provided soldiers in Czechoslovakia, put restrictions on travel to West, over 1.5mil. fled GDR between '49-'61 w/ caused labour shortages, portrayed FRG as selfish w/ drug problems/homelessness/inequality, at disadv. in propaganda war as some could still watch FRG's TV channels + broadcasts, bans impossible to enforce, preserved CCs as memorials mostly to Communists, Jews received add. pensions, opposed Israel as an American Puppet, supprted Arab/Palestinian Freedom Fighters against ISR.
Economic change - by late '50s controlled major industry/agriculture/energy production/farmland, production doubled by '55, no focus on consumer goods, inferior living standards, resentment, housing shortage, small businesses' resentment, SED's serious economic mistakes, did not provide state help to private industry, farms collectivised, farm productivity increase yet food shortge in '50s (farms fled to West), butter/milk rationed 'til '58, Jun '53 ind. workers' strike against expectation, demanded free elections/resignation of govt., Russian army intervention w/ 600 tanks/20,000 soldiers ("June Uprising" w/ 70 deaths), govt. spending on army high + low on living standards.
Effects of the Wall + Escapes
Effects - Western Powers angered, JFK unwilling to risk nuclear war, positives w/in GDR, stopped emigration flow, govt. chance to reform economy/society, more repression, economic benefits, e.g. hard currency by selling travel visas to West Germans, "New Economic System" led to higher wages/more consumer goods/more agricultural production (USSR forced end in '60s due to consumerism), negatively split friends/families, resentment, citizens felt govt. didn't trust them, FRG + wider world used Wall as propaganda, Western side covered in grafitti, East Berliners risked death if close, 5000 people crossed between '61-89, costly defence, 50,000 border troops, tens of thousands of small/large guns + tanks/trucks, border guards rewarded for killing/preventing illegal crossers + faced prison for helping people across.
Escape Attempts - running/hot-air balloons/hang-gliders/mini subs, 191 killed, Peter Fechter's death captured on FRG TV, 8 border crossings allowing East/West Berliners/foreigners/Allied personnel into East Berlin, visas rarely granted, the aged encouraged to stay in West so no pension costs to govt., Four-Power Agreement '71 eased travel restrictions, 4 motorways in, FRG paid GDR to maintain access routes, Checkpoint Charlie.
Willy Brandt, 1969-74
- renowned for Ostpolitik, criticised by those thinking would create permanent division
- raised pensions + sickness benefits in FRG, increased govt. spending on education
- voting age lowered to 18, sexual equality promoted, homosexuality laws relaxed
- increased benefits of those fleeing from East to West
- serious economic challenges as miracle over
- '73 Oil Crisis led to unemployment/falling govt. income, suffered less than others as strong
- rising extremism/terrorism in FRG; criticised support for USA (+Vietnam), sympathised w/ Arabs
- late '60s left-wing students protests gaining strengths, e.g. Rudi Dutschke
- student movement protested against ex-Nazis in govt/FRG's support for America
- Red Army Faction + Baader-Meinhof Gang (leaders Ulrike Meinhof + Andreas Baader)
- Brandt resigned in '74 when revealed that close adviser Gunther Guillaume was passing secrets to GDR's govt.
Red Army Faction - between '68 + '86 committed terrorist acts against govt., Baader-Meinhof leaders died suspiciously in prison in '77 but Gang existed until '98, responsible for murder of ex-SS officer Hans Schleyer (Head of German Association of Employers, Stasi supported RAF.
Helmut Schmidt, 1974-82
- Brandt's Minister of Economics/Finance between '72 + '74
- a Social Democrat, yet uncompromising + more decisive than Brandt
- continued Ostpolitik, visiting East Germnay in February '81
- dealt w/ problems of '70s energy crisis + promoted nuclear energy (critics in own party over cost)
- dealt harshly w/ terrorism, e.g. RAF + hostage crisis
- Palestinian Arabs w/ links to RAF hijacked a German plane + landed in Somalia, Schmidt sent special forces w/ killed 3/4 hijackers w/o harming hostages; defeat for RAF w/ leaders of Baader-Meinhof Gang found dead in Stammhheim Prison, Berlin shortly after
- lost popularity as SDP faced opposition from environmental groups, e.g. Green Party
Helmut Kohl 1982-89
- last Chancellor solely of West Germany
- of the CDU who replaced Schmidt
- criticised "Two-Thirds Society" -> a situation where 2mil. working age people unemployed inc. guest workers w/ remaining "Two-Thirds" had good standard of living
- cut govt. spending in many areas but kept welfare spending high
- oil prices fell in mid-80s so economy recovered well (Kohl taking credit)
- continued policy of Ostpolitik w/ Honecker visiting West in '87
- improved relations w/ France + helped strengthen EU, fostered good relations w/ USSR
- criticised in '84 for holding WW2 reconciliation ceremony in cemetery for SS officers
- challenged by rise of right-wing extremists political parties, e.g. Republikaner
- Green Party challenged him for placement of nuclear weapons in Germany
- resignation likely in '89 as accusations of corruption BUT fall of Berlin Wall + collapse of GDR boosted his popularity
- "reunification Chancellor" to many but questions over how much credit he deserves
- became Chancellor of reunited Germany until '98
Summary 69-89 - powerful economy, in spite of terrorism/economic crises remained stable, relations w/ East + USSR improved, strong links w/ USA + West important, the stronger Germany.
Developments in GDR under Honecker 1971-89
- in '70s + '80s rejected idea of reuniting Germany, developed distinct national identity for GDR
- '74 GDR Constitution called country 'Republic of Workers + Peasants' emphasising equal society
- SED considered itself natural successor of Communism, Marx, Engels
- portrayed FRG as too Americanised, claimed GDR held no responsibility for Nazi War Crimes
- East German TV "GDR Television" w/ export labels written as "Made in the GDR"
- FRG undermined attempts to create seperate identity, e.g. athletes from "Soviet Zone"
- Ostpolitik increased co-operation between GDR + FRG, e.g. visas, '72 Berlin Accord/Basic Treaty normalised diplomatic relations, recognising each state's existence
- '73 GDR's citizens could access West German TV/radio but access to newspapers regulated
- postal/telephone services improved in '70s + '80s, travel tightly restricted
- SED refused to comply w/ agreement signed in Helsinki '75 (Helsinki Accords) ensuring free movement between countries
- impossible for anyone of working age to go to West except sports/business people + politicians
- if travel visa obtained, must travel alone to ensure return or Stasi would threaten family
- "secret-carrier" class of citizen, e.g. senior SED officials, army officers, scientists
- SED tried to discourage West Germans from travelling to East due to Brandt's support
- applicants for emigration subjected to intense interrogation, some imprisoned on charge of treason, 40,000 politically unreliable allowed across border
GDR's International Relations in '70s
- Ostpolitik + Four-Power Agreement led to increased recognition of state
- FRG + GDR joined UN in '73 w/ 90 countries inc. US accepting existence
- strong reputation in sport, e.g. in '74 World Cup GDR beat FRG
- didn't comply to Helsinki Accords but willing to sign so internationally recognised
- Honecker's official state visits to Western nations: Austria '80, Italy '85, FRG '87
Relations w/ USSR - East German negativity shaped partially by Nazi propaganda + experiences in WW2 of Soviet brutality, resentment over Poland's territorial gains, June Uprising, govt. made effort to develop friendship/gratitude for USSR's help in WW2, Soviet War Memorial, considered an oppressive force, many saw UK/USA as liberators, resentment over compulsory Communist Theory Study in schools, GDR-Soviet Friendship Treaty in Oct. '75, Society for Soviet-German Frienship, popular w/ Gorbachev, shaky relations w/ Eastern Bloc, hostile towards Poles so travel restricted.
Honecker's Domestic Policy Acheivements in '70s
- GDR's own "economic miracle"; one of top ind. nations in world, w/o aide + lacking resources, trade increased w/ COMECON + received large loans from FRG, economic growth led to labour shortage solved by bringing in workers from Communist States, e.g. Angola, Vietnam, Cuba + Mozambique (economic downturn led to hostility against them)
- universities produced highly skilled science/technology - had adv. over Eastern Bloc, e.g. tax/tariff-free trading partnership w/ FRG, agriculture v. efficient + almost self-sufficient in '70s
- living standards rose in '70s: rent/utility bills + basic food prices kept low by govt.
- minimum wage increased in '71 w/ pensions in '76, 50% of all households in mid-1980s had a car + owned more TVs/washing machines/fridges than other Eastern Bloc
- relations w/ Protestant Church + SED improved from late '60s (March Agreement '78 allowing Church to make TV broadcasts in return for SED promotion)
- Church helped run hospitals + old people's homes + also dealt w/ alchoholics, drug addicts, etc.
- Honecker dealt w/ housing shortage upon coming to power as was of poor quality so announced ambitious building programme in '71 aiming to build 4mil homes over 20yrs --> only 2mil. built but large new estates created (Plattenbauen)
- problems w/ falling/ageing population meant pensions expensive SO prioritised employment of women (women received generous maternity benefits, by '84 most generous in the world to encourage having more kids, state also provided a lot in terms of pre-school, nursery care, after-school activities, enabling women to work, over 90% of working-age women in paid employment, encourage to pursure science, by late '70s women were 50% of doctors/teachers/dentists)
Limitations to Honecker's Domestic Policy '70s
- standard of living high in terms of Eastern Bloc but low compared to FRG
- GDR citizens measured QoL against West, e.g. TV + radio programmes
- goods found in West not available in East, e.g. microwaves + video recorders
- GDR-made clothing inferior to FRG
- most women employed but poorly represented in politics/powerful positions; Margot Honecker only women in high office as Eduation Minister from '63-89, women typically in low paid jobs
- economic inequalitym e,g, luxury shops for Stasi members + govt. employees and Intershops/Exquisit for Western Goods, other shops only took DM/prices too high
- Wandlitz; govt. officials lived here, heavily guarded w/ well-stocked shops + high quality facilities
- Vlim island sealed off to public as exclusive resort for senior govt. officials
- underlying economic flaws; shortages of consumer goods, oil crises of '73/'79 damaging as GDR little access to raw materials, overly dependent on loans of FRG
- foreign debt from DM2.2bil to DM34.7bil
- hugely expensive to create Honecker's ideal 'Unity of Social + Economic Policy'
- 1980s increased resentment over lack of consumer goods/defence spending
- debt cut into public spending, e.g. on roads, buildings, etc.
Foreign Relations in the 1980s
- Cold War intensified '70 + '80s ('79 USSR invaded Afghanistan, '80 Reagan became President of US + increased defence spending, calling Russia an "evil empire")
- threat of nuclear war strong w/ Germany on frontline until '89
- Gorbachev's appointment as leader of the USSR in March '85 impacted GDR
- Gorbachev pursued policies of Glasnost (openness, freedom of speech) + Perestroika (restructuring govt. + economy), reached out to the West
- Gorbachev reduced no. of Soviet troops in GDR + signed treaties w/ NATO for removal of medium-range nuclear missiles from Europe
- from '88 onwards Gorbachev made clear that USSR would no longer intervene internally w/ Eastern Bloc states
- USSR pursued better relations w/ FRG w/ politicians going on official state visits during late '80s
- GDR shown that USSR would no longer favour it
- GDR didn't respond to Honecker' changes; SED used propaganda to attack Gorbachev/USSR (claimed GDR well-advanced in comparison, need not change + emphasised economic acheivements/existence of [powerless] political parties)
- Gorbachev's reforms led to Eastern Bloc's push for pro-democracy/freedom, e.g. Poland/CZS
- Honecker did not accept that the USSR had turned its back on GDR + became more hard-line towards those wanting change w. brutal suppression methods
Reuniting Germany: External Factors '89
Hungary + Eastern Bloc
- late '80s changed govt. structure + allowed multi-party elections in '89
- popular holiday destination for East Germans (SED worried such ideas would "infect" GDR)
- opened borders to Austria 2nd May '89 + under FRG law, any GDR citizens could claim a West German passport upon entry to Austria, by autumn '89 100,000 East Germans had left
- 11th Sept. '89 announced legal for East Germans to cross through to Austria
- SED tried to close borders w/ Czechoslovakia + Poland but gave West great propaganda (like imprisonment of own people).
- encouraged citizens to leave GDR
- President George Bush Snr. called for Eastern European nations' right to free/fair elections
- Gorbachev visited FRG in '89, well-received + spoke w/ Kohl about possible reunification
Reuniting Germany: Internal Factors, GDR
Honecker - unwilling to allow changes to system in GDR, denounced those wanting change as "traitors"/"counter-revolutionaries", blamed FRG for GDR's problems, unwillingness accelerated process of GDR's collapse, gallbladder surgery summer '89 (increased opposition whilst GDR damaged by mass emigration), SED's Politburo asked Honecker to step down on 17th Oct. '89, resigned + replaced by Krenz.
Krenz - tried to appease demonstrators w/ free travel + modernise SED's organisation (propaganda still used), 6th Nov. offered all East Germans passports + free travel for 30 days per year, govt. accepted proposals on 9th Nov. that any GDR citizen w/ passport/travel visa could emigrate to or visit West, supposed to be announced on 10th to give border guards time to prepare but Schabowski announced travel restrictions dropped 24hrs early.
Protests - 7th May '89 saw opposition groups produce clear evidence that SED rigged elections/manipulated results, St Nikolai Church protests in Leipzig encouraged by Eastern Bloc + in Sept./Oct. 'Monday Demos' attracted 1000s, 70000 turned out for Leipzig demo on 9th Oct. '89, Honecker intended to crush demo w/ violence, issuing orders to Army + Stasi but Soviet soldiers banned from helping so plans ended, showed SED change needed, 4th Nov. 1mil attendees to East Berlin protest, 500,000 marched in Leipzig.
External - June '89 Tiananmen Square Protests in China wanting democracy + Chinese govt. reacted harshly w/ tanks against unarmed protestors (c. 400-800 deaths), GDR govt. supported Chinese actions + threatened similar ones towards own protestors (made opposition more determined),
Gorbachev's Visit - visited East Berlin 6th Oct. '89 for GDR's 40th Birthday Celebrations, urged Honecker to make changes or face prospect of citizens leaving, USSR would not intervene if internal issues (too costly),
The Impact of the Fall of the Berlin Wall
9th Nov - unrestricted travel from GDR to FRG permitted, Krenz' govt. hoped people would travel across + return home. Announcement of opening of Wall came 24hrs earlier than intended. 1000s had gathered by 8 checkpoints within hrs. By midnight, all checkpoints opened.
GDR citizens greeted w/ free gifts, e.g. chocolate/fruit/beer/football/train tickets + 100DM welcome money from govt., most did return home to later leave again (5.2mil crossed w/in 4 days + 9mil w/in a week, on average, c. 2,000 per day through Dec, Jan + Feb).
GDR endured quiet, bloodless revolution, SED lost dominant position (1st Dec '89) w/ officials removed from power, censorship lifted, SED had to compete fairly, Krenz lasted for 44 days, Modrow replaced him, rule of law would protect rights of citizens.
75,000 East Germans left in Jan '90 alone, GDR in downward spiral + FRG worried about costs of immigrants stating in Nov. best for East Germans to remain but demanded SED give up its control of the GDR (fear too many would overwhelm welfare/housing/employment systems).
Politicians believed aide given to GDR would keep it afloat, Kohl's Ten-Point Plan (28/11/89) proposed economic aid/improved postal services/basically reunification. GDR to adopt free-market capitalist economy (expectation would take 4-5 yrs) + Kohl hadn't consulted Allies or many govt. ministers. To USSR too sudden (NATO fear), Thatcher alarmed, spectre in UK + FR of "Fourth Reich", belief GDR should join EU/be independent but George Bush Snr in support.
Disintegration of the GDR
- despite opening of Berlin Wall, many GDR citizens continued to leave for West
- attraction of West's consumer society too great to resist
- Dec '89 growing numbers calling for reunification, opening of Brandenburg Gate, by spring '90 unlikely GDR would survive
- 15th Jan '90 Stasi headquarters stormed by protestors; Stasi only managed to destroy 5% of records so citizens accessed their own Stasi files
- first free elections March '90; economy collapsing, many East Germans leaving, politicians concerned w/ future, realised reunification likely but disagreed over the when/where
- "Alliance for Germany" coalition won 192 in East German Parliament, PDS (SED) won 66 + SD won 87, Alliance... wanted reunification asap.
- Western politicians helped Eastern counterparts campaign, e.g. Kohl active + popular in GDR, addressed crowd of 1mil. in Leipzig, election boosted idea of reunification, mentioned possibility of swift reunification, coupled w/ intro of DM in GDR (Jul '90) increasing popularity, DM considered a strong currency compared to E.G. M (practically worthless), long term survival of state unlikely.
Reuniting Germany 1990-91
First stage - economic union, May '90, economic/social union treaty signed by Kohl, 1st Jul '90 DM single currency for both FRG/GDR, 1-1 exchange rate.
Currency reform destroyed remains of GDR's economy + demand for German goods collapsed quickly as Western goods readily available, special trading relationship disappeared, nearly 20% GDR's workforce unemployed by summer '90, strikes/protests common, industry/agriculture in GDR not modernised enough to guarantee its survival.
Farmers hit hard, Communist govt. had protected farmers by keeping food prices high but now had to compete w/ FRG + EEC to sell goods.
Economic collapse made speedy reunification a necessity.
Discussions with Allied Powers
- GDR + FRG didn't have power to reunify unilaterally so from May-Sept '90, Two Plus Four Negotiations w/ four allies, GDR + FRG to discuss relationship a unified Germany would have w/ NATO.
- Kohl important for creating stronger relations w/ USA, e.g. Reagan + Bush Snr. both in support.
- Agreement from USSR a major challenge: had maintained a buffer zone against West + potential invasion, before Gorbachev leaders would not at all have been involved as USSR in vulnerable position, possibility of NATO troops in GDR frightening to Russians.
Gorbachev's policies inv. better Western relations as maintaing huge armies/large arsenal of nuclear weapons too costly. 16th May 1990 Gorbachev + Kohl agreed to full reunification + that Germany would join NATO, agreed to withdraw Soviet troopsfrom GDR + compensate now unemployed.
The Unification Treaty + Kohl
- signed by GDR + FRG on 31st August 1990, to be referred to as FRG
- Two + Four concluded on 12th Sept. w/ Allies agreeing to give up all rights to station troops in Berlin so Germans in full control
- FRG's agreed limit of combined forces at 370,000 in size w/ no foreign forces or nuclear weaponry
- Kohl's agreements w/ Poland + CS ending territorial claims
- GDR abolished 3rd Oct. '90 w/ Bezirke incorporated into FRG
- Wall dismantled between '90-91 w/ 3rd Oct celebrated as German Unity Day rather than 9th Nov
- first all-German elections since 1932 in Dec '90 w/ Kohl still in power
- originally met with euphoria/optimism but not perfect (still economic inequality between E-W)
- Western resentment at extra taxes to regenerate East
- former GDR citizens miss job security/social safety net provided by GDR (exposed to risks of unemployment/competition for jobs)
- Ostalgie in East
- increasingly popular extremist politics
Kohl - claimed credit, decisive actions increased speed of reunification, e.g. 10 Point Plan, meeting w/ Gorbachev/Allies, others suggest an oppurtunist.