Politics

The Reunification of the Two Germany

In May 1989 the internal situation began to evolve particularly rapidly, both due to the aggravation of dissent organized around the Evangelical Churches, pacifists and groups for the defense of human rights, and as a consequence of the dismantling of the “iron curtain” between Hungary and Austria, which opened an escape channel for thousands of East Germans. The demonstrations then intensified in the following months: to the invitation to reform addressed by MS Gorbacëvon a visit to Berlin (October 7), Honecker responded with orders to shoot the crowd. By refusing to follow this directive, the leaders of the party managed to obtain the resignation of the head of state four days later, replaced by their designee E. Krenz. During the winter, the political framework of the German Democratic Republic was revolutionized: free transit between the two sections of Berlin and the promise of free elections (9 November) was followed by a congress of the SED, which replaced Krenz with the reformer H. Modrow and renounced the role of leading party, the demolition of the Berlin Wall (10 November) and finally, after the recognition of the eastern borders requested by the international community as a guarantee of Poland (Oder-Neisse line), the consultations of 18 March 1990, which gave an almost absolute majority to the Alliance for Germany hegemonized by the CDU of L. de Maizière. Having become head of the government, under the pressure of public opinion and with the support of the Western Chancellor Kohl, he worked hard for the revision of the Constitution and for an accelerated unification, preceded by a phase of monetary union, which entered into force in following July (almost simultaneously with the start of the withdrawal of Soviet troops). Reconstituted the 5 Eastern Länder (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Thuringia), on 3 October this led to full political reunification; on 2 December followed the first elections of the new united Germany from which the coalition between Christian Democrats and Liberals emerged victorious.

On January 17, 1991, according to Areacodesexplorer, the first Pant-German government was launched, led by Chancellor Kohl, who had the difficult task of concretely achieving the unity of the country, especially on the economic and social level. The first measures adopted, in fact, initiated a policy of conversion, in a strongly liberal sense, of the eastern economy which, due to its social costs (30% unemployed and wages less than 50% in the Länder Oriental), began to cause great discontent and uneasiness, feelings exploited by right-wing extremists and neo-Nazi groups. To cope with the complex situation, Kohl on the economic level proceeded to a strong monetary tightening, which favored the inflow of foreign capital and the revaluation of the German currency; on a more strictly political-administrative level, he decided to maintain the federal structure of the state and to transfer the capital to Berlin. In 1995, for the first time since the Second World War, German military units took part, albeit non-combatants, in operations in Somalia. In the European arena, in view of the deadlines set by the Maastricht Treaty, Germany assumed positions of the first magnitude, both by establishing a sort of preferential axis with France by F. Mitterrand, and by acting as a point of reference, as one of the most economically and politically stable countries, for the process of European unification, and in particular, for the establishment of the single currency (1999). Reconfirmed albeit narrowly in the 1994 elections, Kohl was defeated in the 1998 ones by the SPD, confirming the country’s aspiration to change.

The new trend was picked up by G. Schröder (at the helm of the SPD), aimed at accrediting a moderate and centrist image of social democracy and making the defense of the welfare state compatible with economic liberalism, in harmony with the British Labor, the American Democrats and the similar transformations of the European socialist parties. The governing coalition formed with the Greens inaugurated a program to fight unemployment, environmental protection, social security and tax reform, encouraging the development of the Länder oriental. However, after some positive results, the address given to the economy and the tax authorities raised the resentful resistance of the industrialists and the central bank, sanctioned by the advent of Hans Eichel, the advocate of a line of economic rigor in continuity with the Chancellorship of Kohl. With the same rigor, Germany actively supported European political-monetary unification, asking to rebalance its position as the largest contributor to the Community budget. The political elections of September 2002 saw Schröder’s reappointment to the chancellorship, albeit with a small gap on competitor Stoiber. The negative economic situation then exposed the country to EU sanctions provided for by the Maastricht Treaty. On the international front, particularly with regard to the Second Gulf War, Germany associated with France and Russia in opposition to US military intervention. In May 2004, the candidate of the CDU-CSU, Horst Köehler, was elected federal president. Early political elections took place in September 2005, wanted by Schröder after a series of results that were unfavorable to him in the local elections. After a fierce election campaign that pitted him against the CDU-CSU led by A. Merkel the result was uncertain, as it assigned 225 seats to the CDU-CSU and 222 to the Social Democrats, making it necessary to form large coalitions. Thus in October the new government was formed, led by Merkel, in which the two major parties converged. In 2009 H. Köhler was re-elected federal president and in September of the same year the legislative elections were held, won by the CDU-CSU with 33.8% of the votes; the social democrats got only 23%, while the liberals of the FDP achieved a good result with 14.6%. In October the new CDU-CSU coalition government was launched with the support of the FDP, led by Merkel. In 2010 CDU exponent Christian Wulff was elected president, while 2011, after 54 years, Germany eliminated compulsory military service. In February 2012, following a legal matter, President Wulff resigned: in March Joachim Gauck, former evangelical pastor and protagonist of German unity, was elected head of state. In September 2013, Chancellor Merkel was close to an absolute majority, with 41.5% of the votes, in the general elections.

The Reunification of the Two Germany