Politics and Government in Germany, 1944-1994: Basic Documents

By Carl-Christoph Schweitzer; Detlev Karsten et al. | Go to book overview

4
Germany Reunited 1989--Her first successful revolution, and a peaceful one

Carl-Christoph Schweitzer

Before scrutinizing the dramatic events in the autumn of 1989 which with its unexpected momentum caused the whole international community to hold its breath during the crucial days when the balance was finally tipped against those who had kept the East Germans down under communist domination for forty years, one must briefly draw attention to preceding attempts made in the Soviet orbit generally to shake off detested Moscow-controlled regimes.

In this context the East Germans deserve a prize in point of time for having been the first to openly stand against a Moscow puppet government: between 15 and 17 June 1953. This dramatic event has as yet to be fully evaluated historically. It is, however, already clear that the uprising was much more widespread than officially admitted by the GDR government at the time--with some 500,000 workers and others taking part in some 400 towns and villages throughout the GDR: that it was crushed in the end only with the help of Soviet forces including tanks, even though Ulbricht and his economic policies were then already regarded with scepticism in Moscow,1* and that this uprising was, contrary to GDR teaching, not provoked or even inspired by Western sources of any kind.2 Less clear is, however, still the exact mix of the underlying motives of the workers' demands which were both economic and political: on the one hand they protested against increased 'working-norms', on the other they demanded, more and more openly, as the mass demonstrations developed, freedom and democratic government.

After the brutal crushing of this uprising in 1953 by the Soviet superpower there were no further attempts to overthrow the regime in East Germany and even less, of course, to put an end to the Soviet military occupation. It was an obvious fact of international life for all to see that no one could have ejected the Soviet army from East Ger

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*
Notes for this chapter begin on p. 104.

-76-

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Politics and Government in Germany, 1944-1994: Basic Documents
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the First Edition xv
  • Preface to the Second Edition xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • 1 - The Origins of The Federal Republic Of Germany, 1944-1949 1
  • 2 - Berlin 29
  • 3 - The Two Germanies 48
  • 4 - Germany Reunited 1989--Her First Successful Revolution, And a Peaceful One 76
  • 5 - Foreign Policy 108
  • 6 - Defence Policy and the Armed Forces 150
  • 7 - Parliamentary Democracy: The Bundestag 175
  • 8 - Political Parties 201
  • 9 - Chancellor, Cabinet, and President 239
  • 10 - The Judiciary 272
  • 11 - Basic Rights And Constitutional Review 297
  • 12 - Federalism: Bund and Länder 325
  • 13 - Public Opinion: Interest Groups and the Media 371
  • 14 - Economic and Social Policy 401
  • Statistical Tables 432
  • Glossary 446
  • Select Bibliography 449
  • Notes on the Editors 458
  • Index 460
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