Reunification and its impact

  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 31-05-14 12:17

Helmut Kohl's 10 point plan

  • Had continued Brandt's Ostpolitik. Agreements were made on environmental and scientific cooperation, aswell as a joint declaration stating that nuclear weapons should never emanate from German soil.
  • Krenz has suggested in 1989 a need for more economic, ecological, political, cultural and humanitarian ties between the two states, but many were still wary of being 'swallowed up' and were intent on socialist reform.
  • The opening of the wall increased support for reunification both in the East and West. 70% in the West.
  • Modrow emphasised the need for an indendant GDR in order to preserve stability in Europe, the left-wing socialist and Green party in the West also believed this, they wanted to prevent a nationalist resurgance. Some intellectuals also feared the possibilty of frightening European partners.
  • Kohl presented his plan 28 Nov 1989, to be pursued over 5 years. The points were: 1) immediate medical assistance and foreign currency for travel 2) Ecological, postal and railroad cooperation 3) Further economic aid if the GDR held free elections and adopted the social market economy 4) Common institutions to be set up 5)Moves towards federalism 6) Joint international policies 7 ) strengthening European intergration and bringing the GDR into the EEC 8) New instituations  for security cooperation 9) Disarmament and 10) Unity in free self-determination.
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Kohl's 10 point plan 2

  • Supported by the bundestag but swiftly accused of being too hasty by left wing opponents , the USSR, Modrow and the UK. The French were insulted by not being informed, and smaller neigbours were afraid of a new large Germany on their borders. East German reform groups repeated that they didnt want a western takeover.
  • Kohl found an ally in America, who were concerned with ensuring German membership of NATO. Issues with the burden of East Germans moving West strengthened the arguement for reunification.
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The Rush to Unity

  • Dec 1989 Kohl visited Dresden and was shocked at the welcome he recieved from the people. It made him consider his timetable and convinced him that reunification was both desirable and possible in a shorter time-scale. The SPD cautiously moved in favour in 'the context of a peaceful Europe', and even the USSR saw the need to reassess.
  • Brandeberg gate was symbolically opened on 22 Dec.
  • Kohl's leadership was welcomed by pro-unity demonstrators, this convinced Kohl to work to win international support over negotiations with Modrow. Among his supporters he was known as 'The Chancellor of Unity' but others might describe his actions as thoughtless and arrogant.
  • Kohl promised the French a commitment to European Intergration and economic aid to Russia heloed persuade Gorbachev to relax on his attitude to German membership of NATO.
  • 30 January, Gorbachev announced 'German reunification has never been doubted by anyone' and so on 6 Feb, Kohl announces proposal for a monetary union, coming into effect after the elections.
  • Kohl gave his support to the 'Alliance of Germany' party, attacking the SPD as a communist party in disguise and promising properity. He declared that entrepreneurs would invest in the East and a fast route to reunification.
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The Currency Union

  • Signed on 18 May and effective from 1 July 1990. The separation of currencies had played a major role in the division of Germany, and so currency reform was a sign that reunification was around the corner. The exchange rate was favourable for most, but savings often suffered, and Kohl had established the exchange rate against advice from the president of the German bank.
  • The currency reform increased Western investment in the East and real incomes rose 28% and 175,000 new buisnesses were founded. 
  • However, many East Germans were initially worse off as income declined while the prices of food and services increased. Industrial production fell by 2/3 as East German buisnesses became vulnerable to Western competition. 
  • Falling production led to growing unemployment and women were particualrly vulnerable. In the long term, the West was forced to prop up the East German economy with subsidies and grants.
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The Attitude of Outside Powers

  • Only America favoured German reunification, but only if they retained their membership of NATO.
  • Gorbachev had allowed the GDR to collapse, but his attitude towards reunification hardened, he did not want a larger stong Germany within NATO. Economic aid perusaded him to the 'possibility' of reunification, but remained opposed to the fast-moving reunification drive.
  • Britain and France were also hostile, trying to persuade the USSR to take a stand against reunification. Both were worried about the stability of Europe and made it clear they were against reunification, although it was recognised as 'inevitable'. It took a year of tough negotiations before a deal was finally reached.
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The 'Two plus Four' agreements

  • Began at the Ottawa 'open skies' conference on 13 Feb 1990, and met a further four times in Bonn, Berlin, Paris and Moscow.
  • One of the key issues to overcome was the USSR's objection to German membership of NATO, they wanted a united neutral Germany. There were also issues relating to the EEC and Poland's Western border with Germany
  • 6 July after a two-day NATO summit, the London Declaration was issued on the 16th which changed NATO into a political rather than military organisation. With promisises of economic aid, the USSR said that membership of NATO should not be an obstacle to unification if nuclear, chemical and biological weapons were removed.
  • Kohl and Gorbachev had further meetingd where it was agreed the Germans would renounce all claims to former Eastern territrories, provide financial assistance and make military cuts, in return, the Russians allowed NATO membership and unimpaired soverignity to a united Germany. Such international approval killed any remaining internal opposition to unity as foreign hositility was no longer a factor.
  • The deal was approved by the 'Two plus Four agreement' in Paris on 31st August and came into effect on 3rd October.
  • The East German Lander were incorporated into an enlarged FRG as the 'Berlin Republic' while the capital city remained Bonn
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Political Impact of Reunification

  • The government had to be expanded to accomodate the representivites from East Germany, and 5 new ministers were sworn in. The overall government majority was maintained. The completion of the reunification process required all-German elections to give it democratic legitimacy, and elections had to be held in the Eastern Lander. The CDU won in each lander except Brandenburg where they were beaten by the SPD.
  • In Dec 1990, the first all free German elections took place, and led to a CDU victory and a strong FDP coalition.
  • Reunification did not help the SPD which performed poorly in the East. The Green party also lost out. Communists were in the Bundestag but the NPD gained insufficent votes to gain representation.
  • Reunification had altered the party balance.
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Economic Impact of Reunification

  • Huge changes were set in motion to extend the free market economy to the East and make up for years of under-investment and over-regulation. The GDR's problems were worse than imagined.
  • The GDR became subject to economic, social and labour laws of the FRG and banking was under the control of the bundesbank. The huge task of privatising all the state monopolies was carried through, but outside investment was limited as bigger profits could be found elsewhere. Many buisnesses just collapsed. Economic intergration would take much longer than orginially thought.
  • The Kohl goverment was slow to introduce the 'Eastern Recovery Programme' as he had promised not to raise taxes, however this hindered the development of the GDR.
  • Eventually launched in March 1991, government money was put into housing, agriculture and services. New roads, phone lines, shopping centres and railways appeared. However, many areas still suffered long-term unemployment.
  • Reunification failed to perform the economic miracle the Easterners had hoped for.
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Social Impact of Reunification

  • Many had to change their mindsets after years of repression and indoctrination that had characterised the 'niche society'. This was particularly difficult for those who were middle aged who had to replace compliance, passivity and withdrawal with initiative, drive and competitiveness.
  • Many who were comprimised by former political sympathies lost their jobs and the judicary and education system had to be reformed along democratic lines.
  • Within 6 months of unification 21% of the workforce had moved to a new job, 8% were unemployed and 10% took an early retirement. There was less need for unskilled work labour,  which hit women the hardest.
  • The highly trained could do well and there was opertunity to set up buisness and to travel. However, living standards did not rise to meet those in the West.
  • 'Ostalgie'. 'Weissis and Ossis'. Rasism towards Guest workers.
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