National Identity in Eastern Germany: Inner Unification or Continued Separation?

National Identity in Eastern Germany: Inner Unification or Continued Separation?

National Identity in Eastern Germany: Inner Unification or Continued Separation?

National Identity in Eastern Germany: Inner Unification or Continued Separation?

Synopsis

Unification represents a challenging process for many East Germans as former values and standards are subject to severe scrutiny. Staab analyzes the development from the divided to the unified Germany and asks to what extent East Germans have adopted a national identity in line with that of the West Germans.

Excerpt

Press Officer

One has to ask whether it's really right
that we've basically taken a different system
and forced it on these people.
I don't know how the "Wessis" would have reacted
whether they would have been able to show as much
let's call it endurance
as some of the "Ossis" have had to have.
It's as if the Japanese had invaded West Germany and announced
from tomorrow you are under Japanese law
everything you have been doing up until now is irrelevant
whether it's traffic regulations or tax law
even the constitution
forget it!
From tomorrow everything's Japanese

--Klaus Pohl, Waiting Room Germany (1995)

Following a year of intense public debate and rapid political developments, the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany, adopting its legal, political, economic, and social structures. On October 3, 1990, Germany was formally reunified, the culmination of a process which had lasted merely one year since the decisive public upheavals in the autumn of 1989. Never before in world history have two countries been merged in this way. the unification of two societies that had been separated for four decades and had symbolized the systemic antagonisms of the Cold War marked a historically unparalleled cultural and political experiment. in rapid succession, the totalitarian system of the gdr was abolished, absorbed into the democratic frg and taken into the European Community.

The pace of political developments indeed had been breathtaking. On October 18, 1989, Egon Krenz succeeded Erich Honecker as General Secretary of the East German Communist party sed. On November 9, the Berlin Wall . . .

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