German Unity

German Unity

The German unit is the central problem of the German question after the 1945th

German unity encompasses various aspects. First, the question of German unity after the division of Germany into two states (1949–90); this includes intra-German relations and the feeling of togetherness as a German nation in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Second, German reunification (1989/90). Third, the establishment of “internal unity” after 1990 and fourth, the European integration of Germany as a whole.

The starting point: the division of Germany 1945–49

The Nazis between 1933 and 1945 put the deepest turning point in German history is and destroyed the German unit. On the soil of the German Reich, which collapsed after the military defeat in World War II and was divided into four zones of occupation, an Allied Four Power Administration (Allied Control Council) was established in June / July 1945. With the “Berlin Four Power Declaration” of June 5, 1945 and the communiqué of the Potsdam Conference (August 2, 1945; Potsdam Agreement), the Allies had initially developed a common policy towards Germany: prohibition of the NSDAP and all its branches, denazification and Reeducation of the German population, demilitarization, reparations (dismantling) and democratic reconstruction of Germany while maintaining its economic unity. Immediately after the end of the war, and increasingly in 1946/47, the Allies’ German policy was drawn into the pull of the emerging East-West conflict. Since 1947, two political and economic integration zones emerged in Western and Eastern Europe, which were ideologically hostile to each other.

After the failure of the attempt to agree joint measures by the victorious powers to cope with the German economic problems, the USA and Great Britain completed the economic unification of their zones of occupation to form the bizone (January 1, 1947; on April 8, 1949 the French occupation zone was joined to the trizone). The constitution of an economic council (June 25, 1947), later an executive and a state council, gave it elements of statehood. Each with separately implemented currency reforms (June 1948) the economic division of Germany arose, which prepared the two separate foundations of the Federal Republic of Germany (May 24, 1949) and the GDR (October 7, 1949). The political division of Germany was preceded by the division of Berlin (Berlin question).

Socialist state, socialist nation: the view of the GDR

The GDR changed its position on German unity several times, each time depending on the international situation. The first constitution of the GDR of October 7, 1949 claimed all-German validity. After that, German unity continued, reunification was not a task (Article 1: “Germany is an indivisible democratic republic”). In its founding phase, the GDR saw itself as completely identical to the German state, which did not perish in 1945. It understood its own state order as the core of the reorganized German state.

A reorientation took place from the mid-1950s. The GDR now assumed the existence of two German states (two-state theory) and referred to both of them as successors to the – according to their own legal conception – collapsed German Reich (“debellation theory”). Since 1950, the GDR fought internationally for recognition under international law. In 1957 she had her breakthrough; with Yugoslavia it was recognized as the first non-aligned state. Following the Hallstein doctrine, the Federal Republic broke off its diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia (with Cuba 1963). The next recognitions by non-aligned states only took place after the Hallstein doctrine was abandoned in 1969.

At the end of the 1950s, the leadership of the GDR raised the German question to the level of international law and saw the possibility of overcoming the division of Germany solely in the formation of a confederation of the two German states (official proposals of the government from July 26, 1957, until 1967 several times modified). In the citizenship law of the GDR of February 20, 1967, the GDR’s own citizenship was established, which arose when it was founded in 1949 and which was acquired according to the principle of descent. In the new “socialist” constitution of the GDR of April 6, 1968, Articles 1 and 8 respectively said: “The GDR is a socialist state of the German nation.” “The GDR and its citizens strive… to overcome the imperialism of the German nation forced division of Germany, a country that belongs to European Union according to Localtimezone.

In the course of the constitutional amendment of October 7, 1974, all all-German references and references to the German nation were deleted from the preamble and text. Article 1 now read: “The GDR is a socialist state of workers and peasants.” As early as the early 1970s, the SED tried to add a two-state theory to the two-state theory, according to which there were two national peoples two German states (GDR as a “socialist German nation-state”; Walter Ulbricht). The political leadership of the GDR worked on the “development of a socialist nation”. This view underscored the SED’s earlier position to regard the future of the German question as a purely international legal matter. The GDR leadership subsequently sought to remove any reference to German unity from all treaties and the state-controlled public.

In all important agreements with the GDR, however, the USSR retained the legal positions resulting from the agreements with the three Western powers. The policy of the leadership of the GDR to deny all-German legal references in principle was never sanctioned by the USSR under international law. With a view to the GDR, the USSR acted not only out of internal socialist solidarity, but also out of the awareness that the GDR had inherited the state that had waged a war of race and extermination against it.

German Unity