Reunification on the German State Term Paper

  • Length: 23 pages
  • Sources: 7
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #51740385

Excerpt from Term Paper :

In this regard, Bartee (2000) points out that the Leipzig protest of January 15, 1989, was a good example of how social protest in the East was becoming more sophisticated and organized, with thousands of activists distributing leaflets calling for attendance at the rally all over Leipzig around midnight of January 11-12, 1989: "The leaflets boldly called for an open demonstration the next Sunday afternoon in front of Leipzig's old Rathaus (City Hall). The occasion, the 70th anniversary of the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, offered the opportunity to publicize Luxemburg's famous statement that 'freedom means always freedom for those who think differently'" (Bartee 2000, 121). This author adds that the efforts by the activists during January 1988 to join the official parade with banners of their own clearly inspired the Leipzig protestors: "The Leipzig event would be different, however; it would be independent of any official ceremonies. The wide distribution of thousands of fliers by several alternative groups should rally so many people that the authorities would be unable to abort the event as they had very nearly done in Berlin with preemptive arrests" (Bartee 2000, 121).

2. Christian Fuehrer. According to Slusser (1996), "During his Leipzig years, Bach wrote many cantatas for the Thomas Church as well as the St. Nikolai Church, famous today for Monday-evening peace meetings that Pastor Christian Fuehrer has held there every Monday since 1982. These peace meetings, for most of the decade attended by only a handful of people, suddenly evolved into the mass demonstrations of December 1989 that spread to other GDR cities and helped bring about the collapse of the regime" (1).

3. 4 September 1989. In his book, The Role of the Masses in the Collapse of the GDR, Grix (2000) reports that, "The antagonism between proponents of exit and voice reached its height in Leipzig where the two groups marched separately on 4 September 1989. Whilst one group chanted 'We want out!' The other retorted 'We're staying here!'" (41). This animosity continued until late 1989 (Grix 2000).

4. Massive Exodus of GDR Inhabitants over Hungarian Border in Summer 1989. The motives of those who left or wanted to leave during the massive exodus to Hungary in the summer of 1989 included "dissatisfaction with the supply of consumer goods" and "limited opportunities for travel within and outside the GDR"; however, they also included constraints on rights of free speech and increasing dissatisfaction with the possibilities for personal development (Grix 2000). According to Grix, "In a representative survey of about 4700 emigres/refugees conducted between 10 October 1989 and 14 March 1990 the dominant motives for people wanting to leave the GDR were found to be both material and political. 'Lack of individual freedom' and 'unfavourable political conditions' were cited as the most dominant motives, closely followed by 'East German living standards' (Grix 2000, 41).

B. Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. The highly publicized scenes of giddy East and West German merrymakers tearing down the Berlin Wall by hand, assisted by East German border guards in some cases, were quickly followed by the grim realities that confronted the newly unified nation. Although East Germans have free access to the West, following the system change and the introduction of economic reforms after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, all the former socialist economies in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (without exception) experienced a significant drop in output and GDP (Edwards, Polonsky, Pucko, Warner & Zhu 2004). According to these authors, "Some economies were better able to deal with this decline in output and GDP than others, as we have seen. The more successful economies were with the passage of time able to address the decline, bounce back and then surpass the output and GDP levels they had at the beginning of the transformation" (163).

III. On the Road to Unity.

A. Helmut Kohl's Ten-Points Plan to Integrate GDR into West Germany. In the years immediately preceding its reunification, there was a general consensus that the constitutional authority for German unification could be derived from either Article 23 or Article 146 of the Basic Law (Pile 2001). At the time of its adoption, Pile reports that Article 23 provided for the possibility of a future German unification; however, Article 146 indicated that a new constitution could be drafted if unification was ever considered (Pile 2005). As a result, unification proceeded under Article 23 because the Article did not require a lengthy constitutional convention to achieve unification (as Article 146 appeared to require). According to Pile, Article 23 and Article 146 were not the only methods advanced for implementing the unification process. "Confederation," he notes, "was another possible route to unification under the 1990 Basic Law. This unification method allowed both German States to 'preserve their individual structures and governments while gradually merging some specified functions.' Chancellor Helmut Kohl supported this method in his Ten-Point Plan of November 28, 1989. A lack of political support defeated this option and Chancellor Kohl soon withdrew his proposal" (633)

The East German prime minister, Hans Modrow, recommended yet another version involving a "contractual community" between West and East Germany that, like Chancellor Kohl's confederation proposal, was eventually abandoned as a result of political support (Pile 2005).

B. Reunification of October 3, 1990. According to Pile (2001), "On October 3, 1990, West and East Germany officially united. Although several unification methods were possible, the unification occurred by East Germany acceding to the West German Constitution -- the Basic Law -- through a series of treaties. This 'treaty route' to unification necessarily required amendments to the Basic Law" (633). The primary instrument used for the reunification of the German states was the Treaty on the Establishment of German Unity, which set forth the Basic Law amendments that were immediately required to accomplish the legal requirements of the unification; however, the treaty also contemplated additional Basic Law amendments that would likely emerge as a direct result of the unification and even 10 years after the German unification was effected, the German legislature was compelled to pass six additional Basic Law amendments that directly addressed unification issues (Pile 2001).

IV. The British View of German Reunification.

A. Margaret Thatcher's Concerns. The mistakes made during World War I and II may be buried in cemeteries throughout Europe, but the legacy of these German misadventures lived on in the minds of many British observers that questioned whether a reunified Germany represented yet another threat to the island's security. In their book, Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister Indomitable, Thompson and Thompson (1994) report that the United Kingdom's foreign policy and business leaders had long accepted that the UK's relations with Europe were at least as important as its relationship with the United States; however, Margaret Thatcher consistently assigned absolute priority to the alliance with the U.S.: "No one of my generation can forget that America has been the principal architect of a peace in Europe which has lasted forty years," she pointed out (cited in Thompson & Thompson at 24).

While U.S. policymakers were appreciative of Thatcher's unwavering support, the "special relationship" between the U.S. And Britain had suffered in recent years. According to these authors, the United States was increasingly reliant upon Thatcher to block the threat of a closed so-called "fortress Europe" that it feared would be the result of the European Community's efforts to move toward a single market in 1992; however, her reluctance to shift position served to move the U.K. toward the periphery rather than the heart of Europe, a position where the U.K. would have more influence on the outcome. In addition, the end of the Cold War and collapse of the former Soviet Union reduced the United States' need for a stalwart British ally in Europe: "Increasingly important for the U.S. were relations with the EC itself and with such new powers as Germany, whose unification in 1990 Thatcher had opposed" (Thompson & Thompson 24).

B. Dominance of Germany Economy in Europe. In his essay, "German Unification and the Union of Europe," Berger (2001) reports that, "Perhaps no area witnessed a greater transformation, and has been haunted more by the memories of the past, than German foreign policy. The once notorious German drive for territorial expansion was replaced by a remarkable prudence in the definition of its national goals. Germany's former readiness to resort to the force of arms gave way to what has been termed a "culture of restraint" in the use of military power" (80). Indeed, the first part of the 20th century was characterized by a German state bent on military and political dominance of the European continent, but after 1945, it became one of the driving forces in support of European integration (Berger 2001). According to Fassbender, "Germans, regardless of their political sympathies, think that their contribution to European integration after World…

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