It was all so good in the beginning. In 1989, after
40 years of separation, the two Germanys finally
became one again. But as often, there were and
still are doubts about whether or not reunification
was the right move to do. The hope that two
different social, political as well as two different
economical and educational systems would grow
together neatly without major problems was Fig. 1.1 Source: German Reunification and the Present
nothing but wishful thinking. East Germany [German Democratic Government-GDR] was a
communist, state-controlled country, whereas West Germany [Federal Republic of Germany-
FRG] is a democratic, modern society.
The speed at which reunification happened, took everyone by surprise. In little more than a year,
East Germany disintegrated and its territory was absorbed into the FRG with no serious
opposition and amid widespread rejoicing, both at home and abroad [Mark Blacksell]. There
was no transition period to allow the East to raise its economy closer to that of the standards of
the West. This resulted in disaster. The people in the West are forced to absorb the enormous
reunification bill, while the people in the East are made to feel inferior and like ?second-class?
Before reunification, East Germany was a socialist state. The State ran every aspect of
the daily lives of the people in East Germany. They were not brought-up and educated to think
for themselves and were therefore, ill prepared for the challenges and opportunities of a free-
market economy. Within the old system many of them couldn?t afford Western luxuries, but at
least they were supported in every aspect from cradle to grave. East Germans had to face the
new challenges of dealing with a different political, economical and cultural situation.
Before reunification the East was a one party state, where the people never got to vote on
the political party they wanted to. They never got to express their views and ideas. Only the
views of the State was accepted. Almost everyone living in this system, had as much as 50 years
experience of living under this dictatorship and knew democracy only from the media [Christoph
Singelnstein]. After reunification, the people were finally able to experience what it was like to
vote for their country, and to express their own views. The people from the East had a choice in
their future and that of their country.
When the press was run by the State, there was no freedom of speech. Everything that was on the
radio, T.V., or in the newspapers had to be censored so not to contain any politically incorrect
material. Now, after reunification, there is freedom of speech, the people are allowed to express
their opinions without the danger of being arrested or even thrown into jail without any legal
When East Germany was a socialist...