What impact did the revolution in the GDR and Kohl's Ten Point Plan in 1989 have on German reunification?

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The revolution in the GDR, and its impact on the FRG:

  • Refugee problem ran parallel to a growing political protest movement in the GDR
  • 21 August - Honecker was taken ill; SED found it difficult to deal with the situation
  • New opposition groups emerged that challenged the power of the SED
  • September - mass protests against the Communist system broke out in Leipzig, following Monday church services - only way young Germans could protest against the government
  • Despite the police breaking them up and threats from the SED, the protests continued in Leipzig every Monday
  • 25 September - Honecker returned to work and acted as though there was no danger to the GDR
  • October 1989 - 320,000 people were participating in the Leipzig protest movement
  • The government's inability to stop the movement was a key development in the fall of Communism in East Germany
  • beginning of October - riot in Dresden involving 10,000 people after they tried to attack a train with 14,000 East Germans emigrating to the FRG as Honecker wanted to make them look like 'traitors', but these people attacked the train, trying to get on it
  • Honecker declined to deal with the mass protests with poltical reform
  • Instead he:
    • closed the border with Czechoslovakia
    • 7 October - persisted with the 40-year anniversary celebrations of the GDR
  • However, the celebrations were a failure for Honecker:
    • scuffles between police and protestors
    • GDR youth embarrassed Honecker through their enthusiastic response to Gorbachev - USSR could no longer economically support the GDR, thus threatened its survival
  • 9 October - 70,000 protested in Leipzig against the Communist system
  • 17 October:
    • 100,000 protested in Leipzig
    • leadership within the SED decided it needed to take action
    • Honecker was removed as leader and replaced with Krenz
    • Krenz announced he hoped it was not too late to introduce political reforms to develop a country which East Germans would want to live in
  • Krenz's new government was just as inadequate in producing the deep reforms that East Germans desired
  • SED still refused to:
    • accept any changes that might challenge its leading role in the GDR
    • legalisation of the new opposition groups that had formed since September
  • Government attempted to introduce a new travel law that would give GDR citizens greater freedom - too confusing and complex so it was rejected
  • November 1989 - 750,000 East Germans were protesting across East Germany
  • 4 November 1989 - mass protests took place in Berlin, with East Germans demanding:
    • political freedom
    • legalisation of opposition groups
    • freedom to unrestricted travel…

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