A short history of Germany
Germany's struggle for a unified identity has a long
history marked by numerous politically and religiously motivated
wars. Only in 1871, did the loose confederation of separate
states and territories with an ever-changing set of allies
and enemies become unified by Prussia's military power rather
than a sense of belonging.
At a loss as to what to do and with the intention of preventing Germany from being in command of comparable economic and military power, the allied forces divided the country in two hostile states; the parts held by the Western powers were developed into the Federal Republic of Germany, while the eastern zone occupied by the Soviets became the German Democratic Republic. Berlin, the capital and an obvious bone of contention, was divided by along the same lines.
The contest between the two states was fierce albeit unequal:
The German Democratic Republic was forced to adopt the Communist
system at odds with the national character and was never
able to break free from being a satellite state of the Soviet
Union. The Federal Republic considered itself to be the natural
successor to the old Reich and was able to build and sustain
a democratic society. Its economy boomed if only with
considerable financial help from the USA.
In 1989 the tensions became too much and the unstoppable momentum of events in the wake of the 'Wende' (change) took its course. A peaceful revolution toppled the German Democratic Republic's Communist regime leading to the downfall of the Berlin Wall celebrated in the most exciting party the city had ever seen: East Germans were welcomed with flowers and 'begruessungsgeld', a welcome gift of money to introduce them to capitalist joys like shopping, dining out and so on. The Wall was brought down by a singing and dancing crowd. It was eventually taken down by both official staff and the human 'woodpeckers' alike.
In less than a year Germany was reunified on paper if not yet in the minds of its population. The unification process lead to a myriad of economic, political and social problems and tensions which are to this day far from solved.
The German Reichstag, almost destroyed by a fire deliberately
set by Nazi troops in 1933, has been recently renovated. Its
renovation beagn after Germany's reunion and the building
is topped by a marvellous dome of glass. This dome has become
an international symbol for a unified Germany.
Fotos: FTB Werbefotographie
|About-Germany is powered
by Actilingua Academy
Tel. + 43 1 877 6701