Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates, 1944-1993

Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates, 1944-1993

Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates, 1944-1993

Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates, 1944-1993

Synopsis

The unification of Germany is the most important change in Central Europe in the last four decades. Understanding this rapid and unforeseen development has raised old fears as well as inspired new hopes. In order to make sense out of the bewildering process and to help both expert and lay readers understand the changes and consequences, an American historian and a German social scientist put together this collection of central texts on German unification, the first of its kind. An invaluable reference tool.

Excerpt

German unification was a "historic" event. After four decades of division, the Germans recovered their unity within one short year in 1989- 90. Time and again politicians claimed to be making history. Especially in East Germany, unification fundamentally transformed daily lives. The caesura was so deep that many people started to date events in relationship to this upheaval. The sudden return of German unity ended the post-war era by confirming the territorial changes left by World War II. The unforeseen merger of the two successor states from competing blocs also marked the conclusion of the Cold War. The reemergence of a German national state has altered the power balance within Europe and provided new challenges for American foreign policy.

The documents presented in this volume are intended to help the reader understand these confusing changes. In Germany, myths of heroic liberation or dastardly annexation have clouded the elation. In the United States, a dearth of information has made it difficult to judge the accuracy of journalistic fears. To facilitate an independent judgment, this collection presents a wide range of materials. It offers state treaties and government speeches as well as opposition responses and intellectual criticism of unification. The volume also includes samples of foreign reaction and of international negotiations. Through vivid descriptions it seeks to convey a sense of the hopes and fears of ordinary people. Because any documentation must necessarily be selective, the editors have allowed both proponents and opponents to speak by balancing official statements with personal views.

For ease of use, the material is arranged chronologically. The first chapter presents the background of the German division after 1945. The second section focuses on the democratic awakening in the fall of 1989, while the third deals with the end of the GDR during the subsequent winter. The fourth chapter concentrates on the turn towards unity during the spring of 1990, whereas the fifth analyzes the economic and diplomatic breakthroughs of the summer. The sixth section treats formal unification, and the final chapter concludes . . .

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