The Berlin Republic: German Unification and a Decade of Changes

By Winand Gellner; John D. Robertson | Go to book overview
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The Berlin Republic: German Unification and a Decade of Changes

WINAND GELLNER and JOHN D.ROBERTSON

At the beginning of German unification in October 1990 there were high expectations for where the integration of the formerly East Germany into the German Federal Republic would be within a decade. This collection offers an assessment, now 12 years after unification, of how the most important political event in Western Europe since the end of the Second World War has fared.

Within the academic and journalistic literature, some argue that the expectations have not been met, with new questions arising as to 'if not then when?' Others, of course, say the process has been, under the circumstances, quite successful. Therefore, students of European affairs and comparative political analysis are still left with a series of important questions that require closer scrutiny. For example, what, if anything, went as expected and hoped, and what are the prospects for the future? What, if anything, did not develop as expected, and what lessons can we take from the process and apply to our understanding of German society and politics and the broader process of unification? What, if any, are the political and institutional conditions in Germany that would not have been the same today without unification? And why? What political and institutional issues in Germany have not been seriously affected by unification? And why not?

The 11 contributions in this volume offer comprehensive and in-depth perspectives on these questions and assess the challenges to German democracy that have come with unification. Three articles consider German civic society and political culture since unification: Mi-Kyung Kim and John Robertson draw on the literature of nation-state development to assess the degree of congruence between nation formation and state formation in Germany following unification; Felix Philipp Lutz examines how and why German historical consciousness continues to shape the two political cultures of Eastern and Western Germany, respectively; and Robert Rohrschneider and Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck offer an empirical assessment of the differing levels of trust in political institutions across the two parts of Germany which have grown since unification.

Five articles examine German unification within the context of institutions and the political agenda emerging since 1990: Winand Gellner

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