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The Re-Unification Of Germany.

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Introduction

The Re-Unification Of Germany Contents * Introduction * Ostpolitik - Its Origins and Aims * Towards Unity * The Fall of the Wall * Unification * Attitudes and Strategies of the Four Powers -The USA -The USSR -Great Britain -France * Alternatives to Unification * The Legacy of Division Introduction The German Democratic Republic commemorated the fortieth anniversary of its formation on October 7th 1989 amid a mass of military parades and fanfare salutes. Whilst it was intended to be a joyous occasion, it was, for many, a day of great sorrow. Forty years of the GDR represented forty years of living in poverty and fear rather than forty years of successful socialism. The division of Germany, a temporary measure taken by the victorious allies in the aftermath of World War II, appeared to take on a new permanency in the wake of these celebrations. Few East Germans would have believed that in just over a month the Berlin Wall, a symbol of division which had split Europe since 1961, would have collapsed and with it the sprawling Communist empire that was the USSR. Less than a year later the GDR would also cease to exist, its people and territory becoming part of a united Germany few believed they would live to see. The re-unification of Germany came as a shock not just to the people of East Germany but also to the wider global community. From the rumblings of discontent that began early in the year culminating in mass public demonstrations in Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin, events quickly gained a momentum of their own. Unlike the German unification of 1871, which was achieved through 'blood and iron' the East German revolution of 1989 and the process of re-unification which ensued was almost entirely free of any bloodshed. Political unity was quickly followed by economic and monetary union, leading some outsiders to comment upon the relative ease with which unity was achieved. ...read more.

Middle

These were a) That the principle of self-determination be respected b) That it occur as part of a broader process of European integration which included NATO and the EC c) That it be gradual and peaceful and regard the interests of other Europeans d) That it should occur with respect for the inviolability of borders as stated in the Helsinki Final Act12 These conditions were intended not only to direct what course unification would take, but also to allay the fears of both the American public and the countries of Europe. At the end of World War One, the United States had retreated from European politics and had experienced the consequences of its actions. At the end of World War Two its approach was somewhat different. It took an active role in the post-war settlement negotiations at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam and remained involved in European affairs through its association with the FRG and also through NATO. As a result it took an active role in the German unification process more so than Britain and France whose roles were less significant. The USSR Soviet fears of a united Germany have been well documented both before and after unification. There is a wealth of source material that can be cited to support the argument that the USSR was almost entirely opposed to unification both in official circles but also in the wider population. As a result it is almost always seen as the nation most hostile to the idea of German unity. However, this is not strictly true. Certainly the USSR did not look favourably upon a united Germany, but in this respect it was not alone, for the governments of both Britain and France had their reservations about unification when it became a real possibility. The USSR was ultimately responsible for the division of Germany and of Berlin for failing to join its zone of occupation with those of the USA, Great Britain and France when they merged in 1949. ...read more.

Conclusion

German politics 1945-1995, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995 p.109 2 Eds. Gransaw, Volker. and Jarausch, Konrad. Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates 1944-1993, Oxford: Berghann Books, 1993 p. 78 3 Childs, David. The Fall of the GDR, Pearson Education, 2001 p. 64 4 Ketternecker, Lothar. Germany Since 1945, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001 p. 187 5 Smyser, W.R. From Yalta to Berlin: The Cold War Struggle over Germany, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999 p. 259 6 O'Dochartaigh, Pol. Germany Since 1945, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003 p. 144 7 www.encarta.com 8 http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/1999/11/09/fpage_4.htm 9 Eds. Gransaw, Volker. and Jarausch, Konrad. Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates 1944-1993, Oxford: Berghann Books, 1993 p.45 10 Eds. Gransaw, Volker. and Jarausch, Konrad. Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates 1944-1993, Oxford: Berghann Books, 1993 p. 50 11 Szabo, Stephen. Diplomacy of German Unification, New York: St Martins Press, 1993 p. 41 12 Szabo, Stephen. Diplomacy of German Unification, New York: St Martins Press, 1993 p. 42 13 Eds. James, Harold. and Stone, Marla. When The Wall Came Down: Reactions to German Unification, London: Routledge, 1992 p. 75 14Eds. Gransaw, Volker. and Jarausch, Konrad. Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates 1944-1993, Oxford: Berghann Books, 1993 p. 78 15 G�rtemakkker, Manfred. Unifying Germany - 1989-1990, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1994 16 Szabo, Stephen. Diplomacy of German Unification, New York: St Martins Press, 1993 p. 46 17 Szabo, Stephen. Diplomacy of German Unification, New York: St Martins Press, 1993 p. 42 18 Szabo, Stephen. Diplomacy of German Unification, New York: St Martins Press, 1993 p. 42 19 Szabo, Stephen. Diplomacy of German Unification, New York: St Martins Press, 1993 p. 43 20 Eds. James, Harold. and Stone, Marla. When The Wall Came Down: Reactions to German Unification, London: Routledge, 1992 p.221 21 Neckerman, Peter, The Unification of Germany or The Anatomy of a Peaceful Revolution, New York: East European Monographs, 1991 p. 34 22 Childs, David. The Fall of the GDR, Pearson Education, 2001 p. 98 23 Eds. James, Harold. and Stone, Marla. When The Wall Came Down: Reactions to German Unification, London: Routledge, 1992 p. 266 24 O'Dochartaigh, Pol. Germany Since 1945, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003 p. 167 1 ...read more.

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