The Way towards Reunification - A Revolution in Germany?
Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject History Europe - Other Countries - Newer History, European Unification, grade: 1,3, International University Bremen, course: Social German History, 4 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The Way towards Reunification - A Revolution in Germany? If you had asked a person on the street 16 years ago how reasonable he thought reunification of Western and Eastern Germany was, he would have probably laughed at you. However, only one year later, at the end of 1989, reunification was all of the sudden back on the agenda and discussed everywhere around the world. Within less than a year the GDR went through its most severe crisis from which it would never recover. Political scientists and historians would not have imagined that the GDR could dissolve so easily and so quickly. Thousands of citizens were fleeing to the West and literally hundreds of thousands were protesting in the streets of Leipzig and Berlin. The regime was internally divided and had no power to withstand the forces that were bringing its end. About a decade and a half later historians are still discussing the events that led to the dissolution of the GDR regime and are divided about the question whether it can be classified as a revolution or not. In my essay I will start out by looking at the weaknesses that the GDR regime had. There had to be a precondition that made the decline of East Germany possible and I will investigate that. Afterwards I will take a look at three different phases that the upheaval in 1989/90 had, namely the flight, the mass protests, and the Round Table talks. At the end of the paper I will discuss arguments in favour and against the notion that the GDR upheaval was a revolution and conclude with my own evaluation. Most of this essay is based on the book Dissolution by Charles S. Mayer (1997) and a chapter from the book The Rush to German Unity written by Konrad H. Jarausch (1994). Please note that I will most of the time refer to an 'upheaval' when I describe the events in the GDR in 1989/90. I will try to avoid the term 'revolution' in order to not take any position in favour of or against one historical camp or the other. [...]
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