The reunification of Germany
November 27, 2021
The reunification of Germany (Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was declared on October 3, 1990, when the eastern territories (GDR) joined the western ones (FRG). After the first East German free elections (March 18, 1990), negotiations between the two German states resulted in the “Treaty of Unification” (Einigungsvertrag). Meanwhile, the two German states in Germany II. it also signed a treaty (the “two plus four” treaty, Zwei-plus-Vier-Vertrag) with the former occupying powers involved in the post-World War II division (Britain, France, the US and the Soviet Union), which guaranteed the independence of the new state. The reunited Germany remained a member of the European Community (later the European Union) and NATO. There is still a debate today as to whether Germany was united or reunited in 1990. According to some, the term “unification” refers to 1871, when the establishment of the German Empire was proclaimed. Others, on the other hand, argue that in the history of Germany, which was formed in 1990, it did not exist in this form before, so it is a matter of uniting the two German states. For political and diplomatic reasons, West German politicians carefully avoided using the word “reunification” during events that Germans often refer to as Wende (“change”). The term deutsche Einheit (“German unity”) is commonly used; this is what Hans-Dietrich Genscher corrected for international journalists when asked about “reunification” in 1990. From a legal point of view, the western state annexed the GDR, so the united German state is practically the same as the FRG: its official name is also the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, and its symbols and characteristics are largely the same as those of the former West Germany. Although the capital became Berlin, there was a ten-year transition period while the government remained the capital of the former West German capital, Bonn. Nevertheless, the name FRG has not been used since 1990, and the distinctive signs have lost their meaning.