Federal Republic of Germany (1949-1990) Part VI

By | October 25, 2021

Despite initially moderate economic growth and a rising number of people in employment from 1988 onwards, the number of unemployed remained high, although a trend reversal appeared to be emerging at the end of the 1980s. In 1988/89, the Kohl government, with the votes of the CDU / CSU and FDP, pushed through various laws: the Tax Reform Act 1990 (1988), the Health Care Reform Act (1988) and the Postal Reform Act (1989). In 1989, with the votes of the governing parties and the SPD, the Bundestag passed the draft laws on the reorganization of the statutory old-age pension systems. The increasing number of emigrants from the GDR and repatriates from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany faced growing problems. In view of the further increase in the number of foreign workers and asylum seekers, right-wing extremist, xenophobic currents intensified (successes, above all, of the party » The Republicans « in state and local elections). Learn more about Germany and Europe, please click ehistorylib.com.

In the summer and autumn of 1989, the crisis in the Eastern Bloc and the GDR presented the Federal Republic with completely new challenges. After a stream of refugees left the GDR in the summer of 1989 via the border barriers between Hungary and Austria, which had been loosened since May (full opening of the border on 10/11 September), thousands sought refuge in the West German embassies in Prague, Budapest in September / October and Warsaw as well as the permanent representation in Berlin (East) to force their departure. After lengthy negotiations, the GDR leadership agreed to allow the refugees to enter the Federal Republic of Germany (a total of 15,000). Meanwhile, the refugee crisis turned into a crisis for the SED regime. After Honecker’s forced resignation and the unplanned opening of the border to the Federal Republic of Germany on November 9th / 10th, 1989, the SED leadership lost control of the development. At the same time, a stream of emigrants from the GDR to the Federal Republic of Germany began (a total of over 482,000 between January 1, 1989 and the end of February 1990). The last phase of German-German relations was shaped first by the democratic turnaround in the GDR, then by the discussion about a final solution to the German question, and finally by German reunification.

The restoration of German unity (1989/90)

From the fall of the wall to monetary union

There were different ideas about the German-German unification process that had been set in motion. H. Modrow (SED), chairman of the Council of Ministers since November 13, 1989, spoke of a close “contractual community” between the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR. On November 28, 1989, Chancellor Kohl presented a ten-point plan that aimed for unity over a longer period of time through “confederative structures”. The unification process achieved a high level of momentum, borne by the expectations of the people in the GDR, articulated especially on the occasion of Kohl Visit to Dresden on December 19, 1989 as well as in the first free elections to the People’s Chamber on March 18, 1990 and supported by the continued strong flow of emigrants to the Federal Republic of Germany (1989 to October 1990: 700,000). Kohl’s initiatives towards reunification initially met with considerable resistance, v. a. in the Soviet, British and French governments, which were overcome with the help of the American government in view of the developments in the GDR (including a meeting between Kohl and US President G. Bush in Camp David on February 24/25, 1990).

In the election campaign for the first free parliamentary elections in the GDR on March 18, 1990, the West German politicians and parties strongly intervened. After the “Alliance for Germany”, which is linked to the West German CDU, had won the elections, efforts were made to bring about German unity as quickly as possible. Negotiations on an economic, monetary and social union began in April 1990 and ended on May 18, 1990 with the signing of a state treaty (on the main features of a unification of the two German states); On July 1, 1990, the economic, monetary and social union came into force.

Foreign policy security and completion

The Federal Government endeavored to secure the unification process in terms of foreign policy and to present the Federal Republic of Germany as a reliable contractual partner to its neighboring states. The negotiations between the two German states with the victorious powers of the Second World War (two-plus-four talks) served to embed them in a pan-European process within the framework of the CSCE; they were terminated on September 12, 1990 in Moscow with the “Treaty on the Final Settlement Regarding Germany” (two-plus-four treaty). The Bundestag had previously confirmed the finality of the Polish western border in two declarations (November 8, 1989, March 8, 1990), which were confirmed by an identical resolution by the Bundestag and Volkskammer on June 21, 1990. Likewise, the Soviet party leader and president had Gorbachev (in negotiations with US President Bush on May 31, 1990 in Washington, confirmed to the Federal Government on July 15, 1990 after negotiations in Moscow and his Caucasian homeland) agreed to a NATO membership of the unified Germany.

The state completion of German unity through the Unification Treaty, concluded on August 31, 1990, was accompanied by the restoration of the full sovereignty of Germany as a whole (“declaration of suspension” by the Allies of October 1, 1990 on the waiver of existing rights in relation to Berlin and Germany). On October 3rd, 1990 the GDR acceded to the scope of application of the Basic Law in accordance with Article 23 sentence 2 of the Basic Law (old version).

Federal Republic of Germany 6