What external factors caused pressure for the Berlin Wall to fall?
- In 1989, Hungary massively restructured it’s government - it had free, mullti-party elections. This worried the SED, as many East Germans visited Hungary on holiday, and were worried it would inspire them to protest against the SED
- Also in 1989, Hungary opened its border with Austria. FRG law stated that once in Austria, an East German citizen could be granted a West German passport - thousands of people escaped through Hungary into Austria
- The USA began pushing for the reunification of Germany, and George Bush Senior called for all Eastern bloc countries to hold free and fair elections
- Gorbachev visited the FRG in 1989 to discuss possible reunification with Kohl
- The SED responded by trying to close East Germany’s borders with Czeckoslovakia and Poland, which the West used as propaganda to show the SED imprisoning it’s citizens
What internal factors contributed to the pressure for the Berlin Wall to fall?
- In 1989, it emerged that the SED had rigged and manipulated results of the election - this sparked great protest
- Protests in China against the Communist regime were dealt with harshly, which was applauded by GDR and threatened to anyone who went against the government - this inspired opposition groups and made them more determined
- Gorbachev visited the GDR in 1989 and told Honecker the GDR had to change to avoid collapse, and that the USSR would no longer intervene in internal affairs (too costly)
- Thousands began to gather for peace prayer and protest in Leipzig - the ‘Monday demonstrations’ began to attract thousands
- Honecker planned to crush a Leipzig protest in 1989 of 700,000 with violence, but East German USSR troops would not support him - unable to go ahead
- Honecker’s stubborn attitude and refusal to change only accelerated the progress of collapse of the GDR
- Honecker was undergoing gall-bladder surgery in 1989 - opposition grew in his absence
- Honecker was asked to step down by SED in 1989 on health grounds, replaced by Ergon Krenz
- Krenz offered free travel, reorganised GDR leadership and 30 days passports for citizens - all to no avail
- In 1989, the largest demonstration in German history took place in Leipzig, where 1 million people gathered
- There were calls for a reunited Germany, free travel and free elections
- On 9th November 1989, it was announced any East German with a passport or travel visa could go West, announced 24 hours than usual
What changes did Ergon Krenz’s try to make to appease voters?
In 1989, Ergon Krenz offered:
- Free travel
- Reorganising the GDR leadership
- Krenz offered all East Germans passports and free travel for 30 days a year
When was unrestricted travel to the FRG from the GDR finally permitted?
Free travel from the GDR to the FRG was finally permitted on 9th November 1989
What was the immediate impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall?
The broadcast went around the world and within hours there were thousands of Berliners crowded at the wall - the checkpoint guards had not all been told - by midnight, all checkpoints had been opened - people from both sides crossed
How were East German citizens greeted by the FRG?
East Germans were greeted with chocolate, beer, flowers and 100DM from the FRG government
Did many GDR citizens return home?
Many GDR citizens did return home, but planned to leave the East immediately - there were calls for reunification
What happened to the SED after the fall of the Berlin Wall?
Ergon Krenz was replaced by Hans Modrow, who wanted change. The SED lost its dominant position in government, officials were removed from power, censorship was lifted and the SED was renamed the Party of Democratic Socialism
What did the new government announce?
The new government announced free and fair elections would take place and the rule of law would protect citizens
What was the main problem in post-Wall East Germany?
Many thousands of people were leaving the GDR
How did the FRG react to the influx of GDR citizens?
The FRG was worried the state would be overwhelmed by the influx, and by 1990 Helmut Kohl said it would be best if East Germans stayed in the GDR
What did Helmut Kohl demand of the SED, 1990?
Helmut Kohl demanded that the SED give up its power
What did the 10 Point Plan propose in 1989?
The 10 Point Plan proposed economic aid to the GDR, improved postal services, the GDR to adopt a free-market, capitalist economy and a ‘federation’ of the GDR and FRG
How long did Kohl expect the 10 Point Plan, 1989, to implement?
Kohl expected the 10 Point Plan, 1989, to take 4-5 years to implement
Why did the 10 Point Plan 1989 cause so much debate?
Kohl had not consulted USA, West Europe, the USSR or even many of his own government about the plans
How did the USSR see Kohl’s plan?
The USSR saw Kohl’s Plan as too sudden, and worried a united Germany would join NATO
How did Margaret Thatcher and the British and French newspapers feel about the reunification of Germany?
Margaret Thatcher and the British and French newspapers worried that a united Germany would present a threat - newspapers called it the ‘Fourth Reich’
What did GDR leader Hans Modrow think was the right thing for the GDR?
Hans Modrow believed the GDR should remain independent
What did American President George Bush Snr favour?
George Bush Senior favoured a united Germany
Why did the GDR disintegrate?
The GDR disintegrated because:
- Mass emigration from the GDR
- Calls for reunification grew stronger
- Underlying weakness of GDR becoming apparent
- East Berlin Stasi Headquarters stormed, revelations add to outrage and protest
- GDRs economy was collapsing
- The first free elections in the GDR were held in 1990 - the Alliance for Germany Party won by a landslide, and the Alliance for Germany wanted reunification as quickly as possible
- Helmut Kohl was popular in the GDR and was very active on the campaign trail in the GDR, addressing voters in Leipzig, and he suggested swift reunification
- The introduction of the strong Deutschmark curreny in the GDR in 1990 made reunification seem very likely
What was the first stage of reunification?
The first stage of reunification was economic reunification - in 1990, the Deutschmark became the single currency for both the FRG and GDR
When was the economic and social union treaty signed between the FRG and GDR?
The economic and social union treaty was signed in 1990 by Helmut Kohl and the GDR
What happened to the GDR economy after the Deutschmark was introduced in 1990?
The GDR economy collapsed after currency reform - demand for East German goods fell, replaced by demand for West German goods
What happened to GDRs workers?
20 per cent of GDR workers became unemployed,industry and agriculture had not modernised enough to survive - leading to strikes and protests
What happened to GDR farmers?
GDR farmers were hit very hard - normally protected by the Communist government which kept food prices high, farmers now had to compete with FRG farmers and the EEC
How did GDR economic collapse affect the reunification process?
GDR economic collapse made the reunification process far more necessary
Who engaged in talks over reunification during 1990?
FRG, GDR, USA, UK, France and USSR engaged in talks over the reunification of Germany in 1990
Who’s agreement over unification is particularly essential?
Gorbachev’s agreement is essential, as it was unthinkable before that any Soviet leader would leave the USSR in the vulnerable position a united Germany may leave it in - but Gorbachev pursued better relationships with the West
What did Kohl and Gorbachev agree in 1990?
In 1990, Kohl and Gorbachev agreed:
- A united Germany
- the united Germany would join NATO
- Kohl would help fund the withdrawal of Soviet troops from GDR (too costly for Gorbachev to maintain)
When was the Unification Treaty between the FRG and GDR signed?
The Unification Treaty was gined on 31st August 1990
What did the four Allied powers agree?
The Four Allied powers agreed to give up all rights to station troops in Berlin, returning it to German control
What was the united Germany referred to as?
The united Germany was referred to as the FRG
What did the new FRG agree in terms of armed forces?
The new united FRG agreed to limit armed forces to 370,000 in size and that no foreign forces or nuclear weapons would be stationed in Germany and ended any territorial claims to Czechoslovakia and Poland
When was the GDR abolished and the Berlin Wall dismantled?
The GDR was abolished in 1990, and the Berlin Wall dismantled between 1990 and 1991
When were the first free elections in the united Germany held and who gained power?
The first free elections in united Germany took place in 1990, an Helmut Kohl and his CDU party won
Where there any problems with reunification?
- There remained economic inequality between West and East
- Some West Germans resented increased taxes to help regenerate East Germany
- Many East Germans missed the job and social safety net provided by Communism, and were exposed to the idea of ‘competition for jobs’
- The former GDR experienced some political extremism as people were used to strong central government - some neo-Nazi groups gained popularity because of this, contributed to by the many foreign workers the GDR had recruited to meet the labour shortage
Why is there debate as to how responsible Kohl was for reunification?
- 10 Point Plan, 1990
- Talks with Allied Powers and Gorbachev, 1990
- Insensitive and corrupt (seen as by some)
- Didn’t consider long term social and economic effects of reunification