30 Years of German Unity

30 Years of German Unity

30 years ago, on October 3rd, 1990, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) became part of the Federeal Republic of Germnay (FRG), making the day Germany's national holiday.

Fall of the Wall Bildrechte@picture alliance imageBROKER This happened eleven months after the Berlin Wall fell, 29 years after it was built, and 45 years after the Allies finally ended fascism and the Holocaust by defeating Nazi Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 marked the end of the Cold War and paved the way for German reunification barely a year later. While the almost 13 million Germans who are 30 years old or younger never lived in a divided Germany, some groups still feel left behind. Has unity really been achieved? In terms of political representation and economic status the East still lags behind the West. Populist and antidemocratic movements have been gaining strength. The following virtual events discuss how much unity has been achieved.


Berlin Wall ©picture alliance_Herrman Schröer_Timeline Images Reunification Revisited features four prominent speakers, German General Consul in NY David Gill, modern Germany historians Alissa Bellotti, Christina Morina and Frank Wolff, who will present their fascinating research and testimonials on the German-German partition, Reunification and its aftermath. Join them to learn in real-time about youth subcultures in divided Germany, engage in interactive conversations about what walls do to a society and what German history teaches us about present day democratic participation. Free of charge, registration mandatory.
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German American Conference at Harvard

GAC 2020 ©GAC

German Reunification - 30 Years On

Thursday, 10/8, 3:00 pm EDT

Interview with Dr. Mary Sarotte, Kravis Chair in Historical Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

For most students today, German Reunification happened before or around the time they were born. This generation on both sides of the Atlantic may ask itself: Does it still matter to us? The fall of the Wall was arguably the most important event in the history of the transatlantic relationship since the end of the Second World War. Opening up the subsequent possibility and reality of a reunified Germany, this magnetic event turned Berlin - and Germany more broadly - into a geopolitical focal point.
The neustart that took place on October 3, 1990 brought together the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. Thirty years later, we look back at this pivotal moment and ask: How should we remember it? Why should we remember it? And what can it teach a post-reunification generation in today’s world?
This event will be a conversation with Mary Sarotte, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins. A Cold War historian, Sarotte has engaged with German reunification academically and personally, having witnessed the fall of the Wall in Berlin in 1989. With these larger questions in mind, we hope that audiences from the U.S., Germany, and beyond will gain some insight into how this moment remains relevant today. We want to bring out the feeling of love that helped tear down the wall but also remember the tyranny that held it there and set it into contemporary context to show how and why it still matters today.


Eine Nation. Viele Geschichten ©Stephanie Welch Panel Discussion
Saturday, 10/10, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
 (EDT) Registration October 3, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of German unification. The period between the fall of the Wall in November 1989 and the adoption of the Unification Treaty on October 3, 1990, stands for German political ingenuity in reclaiming a unified nation. At the same time, we need to acknowledge that Willy Brandt’s dictum “Now what belongs together will grow together” has been only partially realized.
While formal unification took barely a year, it turns out that unity takes generations. Continuing differences in living standards, pensions, political orientations, and democratic values indicate that the process of unifying former East and West Germany is a multi-generational project. In what ways do perceived political, socio-economic, and cultural differences impact how Germans of the old and new Länder see and participate in their country? Have Germans dealt adequately with their separate pasts in order to craft a joint 21st century political identity? While there is much to celebrate, what is at stake during the next decade of ‘unifying work’? We will discuss these and other questions with three distinguished experts on German politics, society, and culture.
This virtual event will be moderated by Niko Switek, DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor for German Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington.

A Success Story? Germany 30 Years After Reunification

Rennefanz/Goetz John Goetz©Helga Paris/Sabine Rennefanz©Sven Gatter Authors in Conversation: Sabine Rennefanz and John Goetz
Wednesday, October 21, 12:00 noon- 1:30 pm
 (EDT) Registration Was the fall of the Berlin Wall a stroke of good luck in Germany's history? How much progress has really been made in uniting the East and the West? While reunification has brought personal advantages to many, some groups continue to feel left behind. In terms of political representation and economic status the East still lags behind the West. Populist and antidemocratic movements are gaining strength. Two award-winning journalists who were there when the Berlin Wall fell on November 9th, 1989 and continue to write about Germany today, are taking stock: Sabine Rennefanz, author and politics writer at Berliner Zeitung and American investigative journalist John Goetz, correspondent for NDR German Public Television.