Reunification of Germany

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3/25/12
Essay 3

The reunification of Germany in 1990 ushered in a new era for the German people. For 50 years since the end of World War II, Germany was divided both ideologically and geographically. West Germany, the former occupation zone of the British, American, and French forces, developed into a parliamentary democratic government with a free market economy. East Germany, the former occupation zone of the Soviet Union, developed into a one party state with a socialist economy. Ideologically the west was capitalist and followed in the direction of the rest of Western Europe and the United States while the east was communist and followed in the direction of the Eastern Bloc. Culturally, Germans on both sides of the wall were still connected by the old traditions and customs from pre-Cold War Germany and even through to the Middle Ages. The fall of the wall in 1990 and reunification put a strain on both the governmental system and the people of West Germany, and has hindered complete integration since then due to lingering differences between the two former states.

As a part of the Basic Law, all of East Germany was incorporated into the existing structure of the west which, on paper, seemed straightforward but was more complex with amendments needed to null previous claims of territory and the passing of the 2+4 Treaty which formally ended the occupation of Germany by the Allied powers. With the annexing of the former East Germany, the process of cultural unification began with facing one of the main problems in today’s Germany: the difference in political culture of the former East Germany from West Germany. East Germany, under a socialist economy, had full employment, free housing, and free healthcare which all citizens enjoyed unlike Western Germany. After the collapse of the East German state, West Germany was left with trying to satisfy the needs of the new united Germany and how to best provide for the influx of thousands of East Germans into...
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