Posted by: cochinblogger | February 4, 2010

How a United Germany Was Achieved

Book Review – ‘1989 – The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe,’ by Mary Elise Sarotte – Review – NYTimes.com

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Britain’s Margaret Thatcher exclaimed: “Twice we’ve beaten the Germans! And now here they are again!” The French stuck to their cold war mantra: “We love Germany so much that we’re glad there are two of them.”

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East Germany’s own revolutionaries — the dissidents and Protestant pastors who led the decisive street protests in fall 1989 — had no intention of uniting their newly liberated country with the mighty Federal Republic. The colorful menagerie of home-grown parties spoke out for an independent, democratic eastern German state that steered a “third way” between Western capitalism and Soviet Communism. During their brief tenure as the country’s guardians, they even hammered out a constitution, one that stipulated socially and privately owned property, strategic neutrality and direct forms of democracy.

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The East German revolutionaries, those whose courage had originally roused the masses, were ignored as their countrymen voted overwhelmingly to fold themselves into the Federal Republic.
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This sounds like an interesting book on the creation of a unified Germany in 1990. So, Protestant pastors took to the streets in East Germany? In neighboring Poland it was the Catholic church that backed Walesa to the hilt. And once the regime was deposed, the Big Powers decided the fate of East Germany, without consulting the brave ones whose protests lit the fire in the first place?

Not like a movie ending, eh? In real life (unlike reel life), this is often how it all ends: not with a bang but with a whimper.

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