The position of Germany after World War II was rather tense because of Hitler's Nazi policy. As a result, the country was divided into two parts, one of which, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was controlled by the USSR, and another one, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), - by England, France, and the United States. Admittedly, the eastern part was less developed comparing to West Germany. In order to separate both parts and stop the flow of people from East Germany in search of better job opportunities and higher standards of life, the Berlin Wall was built. In fact, GDR was a symbol of oppression, but the Germans believed that it was a temporary separation, hoping that the day will come when they can reunite their country.
Major Problems, which Emerged in Germany
The first issue, which has to be mentioned is monetary policy alterations. It is one of the primary economic issues, which occurred after the reunification. East Germany had to cope with the communist, social changes, but these alterations were less essential than economic problems, which appeared after the reunification. The period was marked with the long-term and calamitous consequences. Before the reunification, there were Deutschmarks and Ostmarks. It was rather difficult to understand what conversion rate had to be applied. Moreover, the decision had direct effects on the economy of the reunited nation. Economic problems were long lasting. For instance, East Germany guaranteed its residents the right for employment, whereas West Germany was marked with the market-driven systems. It turned out that the eastern residents obtained the better social services and child care, whereas residents of the western part were deprived of it. There were to different modes of doing work in different parts of one country.
The next kind of problem to be discussed is social one. West Germany was wealthier than East Germany. As a result of it, the reunification was marked by the migration of residents of East Germany to the western part. The drastic changes and the socioeconomic context have gradually led towards troubling social problems. For instance, the standards of living in the western part of the country remained higher than in the eastern part. Despite the fact that years has passed since the fall of the Wall, the eastern part has not managed to achieve such a modernization, as the western part. Florian Mayer emphasizes that reunification turned for East Germany the shock, as its economy was collapsed and the hopes for better future were dashed (p. 3). The full employment, which was guaranteed by the GDR regime, became scarce and many young people found themselves on the streets. It is natural, that there occurred the waves of social dissatisfaction. It might be stated that people simply did not know what to do. The system they used to live in disappeared and the new country was unknown for them. It resulted in the social tensions within the state and even social discrimination. The different parts of one country were marked by different standards of living, and it was a troubling aspect.
Cultural difference can be perceived as the third problem. Despite the fact that western and eastern residents are actually citizens of one country, there still exist certain tensions between them. It is caused by the fact that they are different by their mentalities. Western citizens even today perceive the easterners as individuals, who are constantly dissatisfied with something, whereas in the eastern part of the country, it is believed that Westerners are arrogant and haughty (Evans 112). This cultural division turned out to be extremely essential problem, which did not allow the citizens of one state to become one nation.
The accurate analysis of the past events confirms that the problems, which were mentioned above, could be avoided, if the past government was able to consider the outcomes of the reunification. It was an extremely desirable event; however, everybody understood that the consequences of forty years of separation could not disappear. German people have learnt to live separately, and reunification had to be not quick, but logical. It was necessary to think beforehand about the monetary changes. It was required to introduce completely new kind of currency before the fall of the Wall. It was not necessary to reveal the exchange rate of Ostmarks and Deutchmarks. After the fall of the Wall all the residents had to be provided with mutual currency, as it could prevent the internal conflicts.
Moreover, it was necessary to consider the economic issues, which might occur. Fall of the Wall resulted in euphoria, which disappeared and resulted in dissatisfaction and conflicts. There was a necessity to unite the eastern and western parts in the economic way. It was necessary to start mutual enterprises. For instance, a number of East German citizens migrated, but it could be avoided in case of implementing the so-called cross-business companies. The headquarters could be established in the eastern parts of the country, and the ruling center in the western part. It was understandable that the eastern residents, who migrated to West Germany in the pursuit of better payment, still earned less than western residents did. Moreover, they had to leave their homes. The application of cross-country business could increase the number of jobs in the eastern part of the state and lead towards the payment increase. Moreover, it would be the manifestation of mutual work. It could serve as a tool of the country's true economic unification. Instead of it, in the past, the eastern residents leaving to West Germany felt themselves as immigrants on the foreign land. This was actually one of the reasons of the cultural conflict and so-called clash of mentalities.
In the past, the emphasis was laid on the prevailing power of the western residents. It is natural that the eastern residents were dissatisfied, as they were also the citizens of the same country, but somehow obtained fewer opportunities. The governmental inability to make one whole from the divided parts served as the additional cause of clash. In order to avoid the cultural and social problems which appeared after the reunification the government had to introduce special social programs for the individuals, who found themselves under the poverty line. Moreover, there was a necessity to apply the media in order to promote the national unity and mutual patriotism. At that moment, these issues were extremely essential.
The Players during the "Two Plus Four" Negotiations
While discussing the German question, the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, which came into force in 1991, should be mentioned. Under this treaty, the allies abolished their rights and responsibilities to Berlin (Gaebler and Shea 213). Moreover, with this treaty, the united Germany was provided full sovereignty over its internal and outer affairs.
France and Britain have taken a pretty hard line on the "German question" as these countries did not want Germany to take place as a new superpower that unconditionally would lead to a reduction of their role in the European and world affairs. France planned to become the leading nation in Europe, which naturally was not compatible with the advent of a united Germany. Great Britain, in its turn, reacted to the unification of Germany with concern because it was believed that the question of the reunification of Germany was not relevant, as the British government considered it necessary to keep bloc security in the nearest future. However, the United States, unlike its European allies, supported the idea of the unification of Germany, since they believed that there is a need to maintain stability in Europe by controlling the process of solving the "German question" (Blum 38). As for the Soviet attitude to the unification process, it was changing during the negotiations very rapidly.
The Overall Mood after the Fall of the Wall
In order to understand the mood, which prevailed after the fall of the Wall, it is essential to note that it was an extremely desired event. People dreamed about it for decades. However, as it often occurs, when the dream came true, the reality occurred not as joyful, as it was considered. The Germans found themselves in a new country with damaged economy and a number of other problems. Their euphoria was gradually altered by the severe life reality. The population of East Germany was poorer, comparing to the residents of the western part of the country, and they started perceiving themselves as those, living under the catastrophic conditions. Disillusionment rose sharply and employment rapidly declined (Ray 39). There occurred extreme dissatisfaction, which disappeared just over the years.
In order to avoid those moods, it was necessary to introduce the public campaigns aiming at smoothing the differences between East and West Germany. The reunification simply emphasized the socio-economic distinctions, and it resulted in human depression. It was necessary to motivate people, to create new jobs, and immediately start the actions for the development of the whole nation.
Get 15% OFF your FIRST ORDER + 10% OFF every order by receiving 300 words/page instead of 275 words/page
The reunification of Germany was a historical event for its citizens as well as other peoples in Europe and throughout the world. However, it brought with it many challenges for the newly united country. Both Westerners and Easterners were not completely satisfied with the unification due to numerous reasons. From the other perspective, not all players during the "two plus four" negotiations met their intentions. After the unification, Germany has made a claim to supremacy in Europe, along with France and Great Britain.