The Domestic Politics of German Unification

By Christopher Anderson; Karl Kaltenthaler et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Necessary Illusions: The Transformation of Governance Structures in the New Germany

Wolfgang Seibel

The unified Germany is not simply an extended version of West Germany before November 9, 1989, but a new Germany. The forces that have made this entity different from the West German model are revealing themselves in the emerging structure of governance. In this chapter I attempt a preliminary account of this evolving structure of governance. I address three questions: first, how the process of unification is being managed politically; second, what crucial problems and dilemmas are likely to emerge and how the German political system will deal with these issues; and third, how the process of unification will affect general structural change in the German polity.


The Political Management of Unification

The German Democratic Republic was a cornerstone of the Soviet imperium. Nonetheless, when the revolution came to East Germany, it occurred with a swiftness and thoroughness unmatched in Eastern Europe. The Communist state was rapidly and entirely dismantled, and East Germany was absorbed into a healthy national economy and into a democratic system with a stable institutional framework.

The unification of East and West Germany less than eleven months after the Berlin Wall crumbled in November 1989 is a story of remarkable political success. The structural inertia that mainstream political scientists had seen at the heart of the West German political system vanished -- at least for a time -- under the challenges of the year 1990. The incrementalism of the corporatist approach to political coordination was nowhere in

This chapter is adapted with permission of Le Revue Tocqueville Volume 23 Number 1, 1992:177-197.

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