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Tag: reunification

Economics Were Never Positive During Reunification

Within ten years, it was said at the time. the new Germany will be an economic colossus of 80 million people (it far surpassed that, of course) — the five eastern Lander fully integrated and, hopefully, enjoying the same high standard of living as their western neighbours.

Happiness was short for many East Germans.

But the path to this new Germany will not be easy. A third of east German industry is reckoned to be incapable of surviving in market conditions. So far mass unemployment has been kept at bay only by political expedient: Chancellor Kohl has been understandably keen to avoid large scale factory closures, with the huge redundancies these would imply, before the first all-German elections later this month.

Nevertheless, some 500,000 former east Germans are already out of work. A further 1.8 million are on shortened hours,

German Reunification Had Its Speedbumps

Beneath the seemingly benign surface of German unification serious problems are emerging. Most of the problems seem to originate in the attitude taken by many western German citizens to their new compatriots in eastern Germany. The generous, welcoming attitude displayed by many western Germans to their eastern German neighbors before unification has changed quite drastically. There is a growing feeling among eastern Germans, expressed numerous times in my visit, that western Germans look upon, and treat them, as second-class citizens. This is not just a psychological phenomenon; it is reflected in concrete social and economic actions of western Grman citizens. It appears more and more than the new Germany is not partnership of equal citizens but the subjugation of one country by another. It is colonization, not confederation.

There seem to be two basic reasons for this disturbing development. First,