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From the Bonn to the Berlin Republic

From the Bonn to the Berlin Republic: Germany at the Twentieth Anniversary of Unification

Jeffrey J. Anderson
Eric Langenbacher
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    From the Bonn to the Berlin Republic
    Book Description:

    The fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of East and West Germany in 1989/90 were events of world-historical significance. The twentieth anniversary of this juncture represents an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the evolution of the new Berlin Republic. Given the on-going significance of the country for theory and concept-building in many disciplines, an in-depth examination of the case is essential. In this volume, unique in its focus on all aspects of contemporary Germany - culture, historiography, society, politics and the economy - top scholars offer their assessments of the country's performance in these and other areas and analyze the successes and continued challenges.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-857-5
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Jeffrey J. Anderson

    ‘Tis the season of anniversaries in Germany. 2009 unfolded like a hit parade of history. March ushered in the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the Federal Republic and May witnessed the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Berlin Blockade. After a summer lull, the seventieth anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland fell on 1 September and in October, the twentieth anniversary of the first Monday demonstration in Leipzig took place. Finally, the month of November offered up a major date—the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—and a lesser one, suited more for...


    • Chapter 1 The Federal Republic at Sixty: Popular Myths, Actual Accomplishments and Competing Interpretations
      (pp. 13-31)
      Konrad H. Jarausch

      The Federal Republic of Germany’s (frg) start was anything but auspicious. Exactly four years after the defeat of the Third Reich, fifty-three members of the Parliamentary Council voted to accept the “Basic Law,” the constitution of a West German state, composed of the Ameri can, British and French occupation zones. Since they did not want to jeopardize the pros pect of national unity, German leaders agreed only reluctantly to seize the chance of re gaining a collective voice by creating a federal parliament and new government. They worried that the continuing oversight of the Western victors, specified in an occupation...

    • Chapter 2 “Als wär’s ein Stück von uns …” German Politics and Society Traverses Twenty Years of United Germany
      (pp. 32-48)
      Charles S. Maier

      Twenty years is not an insignificant time in remembered history—much can change in two decades. Twenty years after the revolution of 1918 came Kristallnacht and twenty years after the signature of the Versailles Treaty witnessed the preparations for the German attack on Poland that launched World War II in Europe. Twenty years ago at the end of 1989, my editor at Princeton University Press asked me if I might write a quick book on what was happening in East and West Germany, and that book (hardly quick) is already a dozen years old. For those of us who spent...


    • Chapter 3 The Last East German and the Memory of the German Democratic Republic
      (pp. 51-62)
      A. James McAdams

      There’s an old East German joke that goes like this: “Erich Honecker has been on a trip. He returns to East Berlin to find the city brightly illuminated, but the streets are empty, there’s not a person in sight. In a panic, he drives around until he finally comes to the Berlin Wall where he discovers an enormous hole. There, on a handwritten note, he reads. ‘Erich, you’re the last to go. Please turn out the lights when you leave.” Today, Honecker can no longer be the last East German to leave the territory of the German Democratic Republic (gdr)....

    • Chapter 4 The Mastered Past? Collective Memory Trends in Germany since Unification
      (pp. 63-89)
      Eric Langenbacher

      Attempts to periodize the past often abuse the historical flow and evolution of events, personalities, and processes. The decline of an industry, the rise of a political movement, or the dissipation of a generation’s political influence rarely is connected nicely to a round date. Nevertheless, “critical junctures” do significantly affect political-cultural reality—sometimes with foundational impact, but often accelerating, decelerating, beginning, or ending processes. 1989/1990 in Germany was such a critical juncture in both senses. Yet, when looking specifically at cultural and collective memory trends, this caesura had delayed influence with processes begun before the watershed continuing and other incipient...

    • Chapter 5 Obamamania and Anti-Americanism as Complementary Concepts in Contemporary German Discourse
      (pp. 90-114)
      Ruth Hatlapa and Andrei S. Markovits

      … [I]n Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad.”¹

      In his speech in Strasbourg, President Barack Obama surprised his audiences on both sides of the Atlantic by being the very first American president to address in public a European resentment with a long history. To be sure, anti-Americanism—in Europe and worldwide—reached unprecedented proportions during the eight-year reign of the Bush Administration. Especially...

    • Chapter 6 Passing Time since the Wende: Recent German Film on Unification
      (pp. 115-130)
      Bradley Prager

      Still today, it remains difficult to assess properly the consequences of the fall of the Berlin Wall, regardless of whether one is standing inside or outside of Germany. At the moment of the event itself, however, its consequences would have remained wholly obscure. In a critical assessment of the event, Susan Buck-Morss notes that “images of dazed and drinking Germans on top of the Berlin Wall gave the world a rush of freedom, but also provided little vision of the content of what was to come.”¹ Antonio Negri likewise offers a reflective account of the events of that day, and...

    • Chapter 7 Post coitum triste est…? Sexual Politics and Cultures in Postunification Germany
      (pp. 131-159)
      Dagmar Herzog

      In the brilliant, caustic opening pages of formerly East German social psychologist Konrad Weller’s 1991 classic,Das Sexuelle in der deutsch-deutschen Vereinigung(The Sexual Element in German-German Unification), Weller imagines unification as a sexual encounter between a powerful and self-confident male Federal Republic (the “eagle,” a stand-in for the Zeusturned-into-a-swan who once, in mythological times, seduced/coerced the lovely Leda) and a not-quite-as-satisfied-as-she’d-hoped-to-be female German Democratic Republic (gdr).

      To put it colloquially: She had wanted it; she was consenting, even eager. But then the sex itself was not as wonderful as she had imagined. And the morning after, the guy turned...

    • Chapter 8 From Ausländer to Inlander: The Changing Faces of Citizenship in Post-Wall Germany
      (pp. 160-182)
      Joyce Marie Mushaben

      In 1985, I commenced a five-year study of German identity in the Federal Republic (frg), rooted in a belief that generational change had radically redefined “what it meant to be German” over a span of four decades. Although most of my ninety-plus interview partners denied that they possessed one back then, I discovered a wide assortment of (West) German identities, divided along three main axes. I characterized these groups as the Economic Miracle Generation, the Long March Generation and the Turn-Around Generation, respectively.¹ I initiated a parallel study of East German (gdr) identity in May 1989, at a time when...

    • Chapter 9 The Social Integration of Germany since Unification
      (pp. 183-206)
      Hilary Silver

      “We preach, punish, ignore, and exclude.”

      Richard von Weizsacker

      Social integration is a longstanding preoccupation of Germans. Late to form a unified nation-state, Germany was an idea before it became reality. Efforts to bridge the North-South, Protestant-Catholic rifts long preceded those of the last two decades to unite East and West. Persisting anxiety about the class polarization that wrecked the Weimar Republic produced the consensus model of the postwar welfare state (Sozialstaat). German aspirations to put World War II behind them at last brought down the Berlin Wall and united the two Germanys in a single democratic republic a mere...

    • Chapter 10 Gender Politics in the Berlin Republic: Four Issues of Identity and Institutional Change
      (pp. 207-232)
      Myra Marx Ferree

      In the old joke, when the Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by hostile Indians, the Lone Ranger says to Tonto “I guess we’ve had it” and Tonto replies: “who you calling ‘we,’ white man?” In European history, the question of who “we” are appears as the famousdeutsche Frageof German national identity. It has also troubled feminists as they struggle with the differences among women and calls to global gender solidarity.¹ It is thus not surprising that German feminists face difficult questions of collective identity in the “new Germany.” Many of these troubling questions of national identity are...


    • Chapter 11 The Federal Republic at Twenty: Of Blind Spots and Peripheral Visions
      (pp. 235-250)
      Jeffrey J. Anderson

      Twenty years after all the excitement, Germans seem to be genuinely of two minds about unification. As amateur historians, they look back on the events of 1989-1990 with pride and a kind of awe typically associated with the witnessing of miracles. The coming together of civic courage and elite wisdom to produce a peaceful and relatively consensual path to a Germany whole and sovereign surely qualifies as one of the more remarkable achievements of the twentieth century. As citizen pundits, however, Germans appear to have arrived at a much more nuanced and far less euphoric conclusion about the state of...

    • Chapter 12 Is There a Single German Party System?
      (pp. 251-269)
      Russell J. Dalton and Willy Jou

      Few aspects of politics have been as variable as electoral politics in the two decades since German unification. In the East, the collapse of the communist state led to the emergence of new political parties and citizen groups in 1989-90, which were soon usurped by parties from the West. Thus, easterners had to learn about democratic electoral politics and party competition from an almost completely new start. In the West, voters confronted a changing partisan landscape with the addition of the Party of Democratic Socialism (pds) and then the Left Party (Linke), and the variability in the established parties’ policy...

    • Chapter 13 Higher Education in Germany: Fragmented Change amid Paradigm Shifts
      (pp. 270-286)
      Helga A. Welsh

      Unification of the two German states in October 1990 initiated comprehensive institutional, policy, and personnel transfer from West to East. The political, economic, and social transformation of East Germany was fashioned after West Germany, yet, by the middle of the decade, the need for an overhaul of many cherished aspects of the West German model became palpable. Although most attention focused on restructuring social and labor policies, other areas that came under scrutiny included education in general and higher education in particular, the focus of this article. After a long period of inertia, starting in the mid 1990s, myriad reform...

    • Chapter 14 The Normative Power of a Normal State: Power and Revolutionary Vision in Germany’s Post-Wall Foreign Policy
      (pp. 287-305)
      Beverly Crawford

      Germany’s growing weight on the world stage is indisputable, and its foreign policy stance is exceptional among powerful states. Remarkably, as German power has grown, the vision guiding policy has not returned to assumptions of international anarchy and the use of traditional power politics that bolster short-term self interest. Instead, that vision emphasizes multilateralism, integration, diplomacy, and antimilitarism. It is a vision that accepts the necessity of cooperation in pursuit of its international goals, sees military means to secure its interests abroad as a last resort, and accepts the governance of international institutions in the regulation of its international affairs....

    • Chapter 15 Flight From Risk: Unified Germany and the Role of Beliefs in the European Response to the Financial Crisis
      (pp. 306-318)
      Abraham L. Newman

      Since the end of World War II, scholars have attempted to make sense of German policy makers, who repeatedly sacrificed their nation’s sovereignty for highly ambiguous and uncertain goals of multilateralism and European integration.¹ Many concluded that this sacrifice resulted from a deeply ingrained political identity that stressed international cooperation and shunned parochial national politics.² Since the end of the Cold War, however, German leadership has suggested a willingness to weaken its role as global altruist and reassert its interests in Europe and abroad.³ A string of policy moves seem to signal this policy shift including German demands for a...


    • Chapter 16 German Economic Unification Twenty Years Later
      (pp. 321-330)
      Holger Wolf

      Has German economic unification succeeded?¹ The twentieth anniversary of 1989 invites a look back at the experience of economic unification and a glance forward to new and remaining challenges. The rearview mirror reveals dramatic economic improvements. While both subjective assessments of material well-being and some measurable indicators still display gaps, the increase in such measures since the early 1990s has been remarkable (see Figure 1).

      Yet, a closer look reveals downsides as well. In contrast to the “economic miracle” in the postwar Federal Republic (frg), the economic success in the new states did not include an employment boom. Almost two...

    • Chapter 17 The Elusive Quest for Normalcy: The German Economy since Unification
      (pp. 331-349)
      Stephen J. Silvia

      Early on, the project of German unification came to be defined as the elimination of economic and social differences between East and West. A combination of western triumphalism and caution—expressed succinctly in the omnipresent mantra of the day, “no experiments”¹—quickly specified the task more tightly. Germany would unify through the East adopting without modification the economic and social structures of the West, which would provide the material and technical assistance needed to implement the changes. The argument in favor of this approach was highly compelling. There had been five German regimes during the twentieth century: the Second Empire,...

    • Chapter 18 Twenty Years after German Unification: The Restructuring of the German Welfare and Employment Regime
      (pp. 350-362)
      Anke Hassel

      The fall of the Berlin Wall was a catalyst for a major transformation of the German welfare state and labor market. The adjustment process that started in the early 1990s was prompted by multi-layered challenges of unification and the consequent institutional adaptation, the changing role of Germany in European Monetary Union, the recession prompted by unification, and the long-term structure problems of the Bismarckian welfare state, which had been building up since the early 1970s. In this adjustment process, many facets of the traditional welfare and employment institutions have remained remarkably stable and probably will remain in place for a...

    • Chapter 19 Industry and Finance in Germany since Unification
      (pp. 363-376)
      Richard Deeg

      Since unification, there have been dramatic and highly visible changes in the German financial system and relations between banks and firms. While at the beginning of this era the transformation of the German financial system had already begun, it was still much closer to the traditional postwarHausbankmodel characterized by close bank-firm ties. Today, however, the financial system is characterized by a stronger orientation to securities markets and bank-industry relations have become far more variable. The demands of financial investors and markets on how German firms manage themselves have—for better or worse—become increasingly influential in this time....

    • Chapter 20 Ideas, Institutions and Organized Capitalism: The German Model of Political Economy Twenty Years after Unification
      (pp. 377-396)
      Christopher S. Allen

      At the time of German unification,Modell Deutschlandwas considered to be the primary reason for the health and stability of the Federal Republic’s forty-year record of strong economic performance. Many observers thought it would be an excellent foundation for incorporating the five new Länder of the former German Democratic Republic. For much of the past two decades since unification, however, the literature on the German economy has largely focused on the erosion of the German form of organized capitalism (Modell Deutschland) and emphasized institutional decline and the corresponding rise of neoliberalism, which the first part of this essay briefly...

  8. Conclusion The Germans Must Have Done Something Right
    (pp. 397-413)
    Eric Langenbacher

    Almost twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a 2009 survey found that Germany was the most positively assessed country cross-nationally with a score of 61 percent—ahead of the perennial, non-offensive, universal-health-care-providing favorite, Canada with 59 percent (the UK scored 58 percent and Japan 57 percent).¹ This finding (for the second year in a row) was rather surprising—at least to the community of intellectuals interested in Germany, where a certain pessimism since (and before) the 1989/1990 caesura has been typical. Such negativity may be unavoidable with scholars trained always to direct a critical eye towards their...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 414-419)
  10. Index
    (pp. 420-424)