Reunification 1989-91

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Political unrest in the GDR

  • Local election results - opposition monitered election results & found that SED were manipulating results 
  • Protests began May 1989
  • Demonstrations in East Berlin - 100
  • East German Democratic Party
    • founded Oct 1989
    • demanded end to SED
  • Democracy Now
    • wanted free markets
    • wanted social freedom
    • manifesto Sept 1989 
  • Democracatic Awakening
    • set up by Protestant clergy
    • wanted socialist society 
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Political unrest

  • Neuses Forum
    • wanted freedom of disscussion outside church
    • 250,000 signature on petition to allow freedom of debate, legal rights, music, literature etc
  • met on 4th October
  • lack of leadership & lack of unity - easy to oppress by Stasi
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Gorbichev's reforms

  • Sinatra Doctirine - allowed the countries in the Eastern Bloc to rule themselves - he believed they would vote
  • Hungary and Czechosolvakia reformed their governments and communists lost power
  • Hungary
    • dismanlted border fence with Austria - GDR citizens allowed to travel through Hungary and Austria into FRG - 30000
    • GDR banned from travelling to Hungary
    • 11 September - they would allow east germans into Austria  
  • Czechoslovakia
    • Germans went to Prague and climbed over the wall of West German embassy - police stood aside
    • FRG transported them to FRG by train
    • Honecker offer exit visas to make it seem like relaxation of travel restrictions
  • October 1989 - Gorbichev visted GDR for 40th anniversary of the GDR - demonstrations - 1000 arrested 
  • Gorbi warned Honecker of the dangers of leaving reforms too late
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Honecker response to demonstrations and resignatio

  • refused to impliment reforms
  • September - blamed FRG for GDR's problems
  • October -  publish article in Neus Deutschland denouncing those leaving as 'counter-revolutionairies'
  •   17 October - Politburo asked for him to be removed and replaced with Egon Krenz
  • 18 Oct - Honecker asked to be able to resign on health grounds
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Leipzieg demonstrations

  • 9 October 1989
  • 7000 demonstrators
  • Demanded freedom of press, asembly, travel, end of the Stasi and free elections
  • SED blocked radio signals from west
  • Soviet soldiers stayed in barracks
  • Honecker did not use force - scared of civil war
  • Supplied blood supplies and doctors
  • Gave protestors more determination 
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Krenz attempts at reform

  • 24 Oct - offered free travel
  • Met with church leaders and Neus Forum
  • Articles in Neues Deutschland on bad treatment of GDR immigrants in FRG
  • People wanted more - demonstration Alexanderplatz - 4th Nov
  • Pressure from Czechoslovakia 
  • 6 Nov - promised passports and free travel for 30 days a year 
  • 9th Nov - announced that that any citizen with a passport could emigrate
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Fall of the Berlin Wall

  • Opening of border accidentally announced on 8pm news
  • East Berliners flooded to checkpoints and overwhelmed border guards
  • Some crossed in their pyjamas
  • People danced on top of the wall
  • Border guards were hugged and kissed
  • East Berliners were given welcome gifts - chocolate, champagne, fresh fruit, beer, ticket to football matches and access to public transport
  • East Berliners given 100DM as welcome money
  • Many East Berliners returned home after the celebration but it encouraged mass exodus 
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Impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall

  • 9 million left in first week
  • December 1989 - January 1990 - 20,000 emigrated
  • <10% population satisified with reforms - wanted reunification
  • Nov 1989 - 85% population favoured socialist reform - 56% Febuary - 31% wanted capitalism
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Attempts to keep GDR regime

  • 13 Nov 1989 - Hans Modrow chosen as PM and Lother de Moiziere voted chairman
  • offered reforms -  wanted to strengthen cooperation with FRG & EEC
  • insisted in seperation of state and party
  • power shifted to Volkammer
  • 16 SED members & 12 others - people confused
  • 1st - December - SED's leading role deleted from constitution
  • 3rd December - Krenz stepped down as chairman of the council of ministers
  • Round table talks - set up 4 working groups 
  • set up GDR's free elections on 6 May 1990
  • most wanted third way  - hybrid of socialism and capitalism
  • Stasi replaced by Office for National Security
  • Jan 1990 - Normanenstrasse stormed and occupied - Stasi completely disbanded
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Kohl and his Ten point plan

  • 28 Nov - Kohl presented his Ten Point Plan to the Bundestag without consulting anyone 
  • It demanded the dismaneling of the GDR's socialist economy, disarmament, curreny union anf introduction of free elections
  • Planned that all this would take 4-5 years
  • US & USSR supported it
  • GDR opposed it
  • Thatcher didn't support it
  • Modrow was promoting a third way
  • Brandt thought reunification was a logical outcome of Ostpolitik
  • US historians believed it was the achievement of early Cold War polices
  • Glees - result of the actions of Kohl and Gorbi
  • Javasch - changes due to the will of the people
  • Themack and Niven - Kohl took advantage of the situation to save the popularity of the CDU
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Rush to Unity Elections March 1990

  • First free election for 60 years
  • SED renamed PDS - wanted to keep socialism 
  • The Alliance of Germany had been formed - dominated by CDU - wanted to absorb GDR into FRG and unify economies quickly
  • SPD reformed - wanted reunification at slower pace - joint merger of GDR and FRG
  • Alliance - 192 votes - 48%
  • SPD - 87
  • PDS - 66 
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Currency Union July 1990

  • May 1990 - Kohl signed economic and social union treaty
  • implemented currency conversion
  • Currency reform - 1 July - GDR's economy collapsed
  • 20% GDR's workforce unemployed or part-time work
  • Bankruptcy only avoived with subsiduries from Bonn
  • GDR industry outdated & over-staffed - uncompetative
  • 250,000 farmers demonstrated
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Two Plus Four Agreement 1990

  • May-Sept
  • 2 Germanies + 4 powers
  • Discussed united Germany's position in NATO 
  • US's relations with Germany were good - Reagan's visit to West Berlin 1987 - Bush supported reunification
  • Britsh and French opposition <ed - commitment to NATO & EEC
  • Soviets wanted to preserve the barrier between them and the West
  • 16 July 1990 - Kohl met with Gorbi 
  • Gorbi agreed to reunification & Germany joining NATO
  • Kohl agreed to keep foreign troops out of Germany, to fund the removal of Soviet troop and to pay DM12 billion pay for resettlement
  • Final treaty signed Sept 1990
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Unification Treaty

  • 13 August 1990
  • 3 October - pre-war GDR Lander became FRG Lander - GDR abolished
  • Final 2 + 4 Treaty signed 12 September - allies gave up power over Germany and Berlin
  • Agreed the armed forces would be limited to 370,000 and to Nuclear Non-Prolification Treaty
  • treaty signed with Poland - ended claims to land east of Oder-Neisse line
  • treaty signed with Czech Republic - ended claims to Sudetenland
  • Berlin Wall completely dismantled November 1991
  • Election 1990 - CDU earned 44% of vote - coalition with FDP - 398/662 seats 
  • SPD - 34%
  • FDP 11% 
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Impact of Reunification

  • June 1991 - government moved to Reichstag in Berlin
  • East Berliners surprised by range of products
  • Some see it as end of WWII legacy
  • Some see it as liberation of Eastern bloc from socialism and end of Cold War
  • Most of Berlin Wall used to build walls - some parts put it museums and used as monunents
  • One piece sold for £60,000 at auction
  • One women found 80 people had informer on her
  • Stasi files would have stretched 180km - 600 million scraps filled 6,000 sacks
  • 1995 - team of 36 began piecing them together 
  • 300 sacks in 6 years - estimated it would take 400 years
  • 2008 - started using computers - estimated it til 2013
  • Wessis - former FRG citizens
  • Ossis - former GDR citizens  
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Impact of Reunification

  • Ossis stereotyped as lazy & unimaginative
  • Wessis stereotyped as self-absorbed & materialistic
  • West - freedom = freedom of speech, assembly & travel
  • East - Freedoim = job security, housing & low crime rates
  • Ostalgie - nostalgia for East Germany - attempt to deal with loss of security
  • Museum in Berlin dedicated to life in GDR
  • Ostotel in Berlin - displayed time in Berlin, Beijing, Havana, Moscow
  • 2008 - Pub decorated with Stasi memorabilia - urn owners claim holds Honecker's ashes
  • Former political prisoners acted as tour guides at Hoheschonhausen - turned into museum
  • 1990s - protests against charges against former Stasi officers & demanded closure of museum   
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