Fall of the Berlin Wall-A good thing?

Oct 2008
4,309
The Bright Center of the Universe
#1
We have just finished the fall of communism in history and I have found that the Fall of the Berlin Wall may have not really been such a good thing. Yes, it spelt the end of the Cold War, Berlin and Germany were united once more. Capitalism flooded in but the unemployment figures for east Germany for the next five years or so were incredibly high. The process of creating a capitalist east Germany created wealth for those in the west because few in the east knew how to run a business under a capitalist system so West Germans ran most businesses. Teachers and Principals who had formally taught students about socialist ideas found themselves unemployed or busted down to kindergarten teachers because the socailist values were no longer taught. The west had to bail out the east economy to the sum of 1 trillion deutschmarks, most of which went to welfare programs. This stress on the economy caused many west Germans to resent the re-unification of Germany and the unemployment and few benefits caused many east Germans to consider the communist system better. So what I'm asking is, was the Fall of the Berlin wall a good thing?
 

Rosi

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2008
6,242
#3
A good thing insofar as separated families could reunite. I've heard people from the erstwhile West Germany retain a slight sense of superiority over the east Germans, manifest in jokes and snide remarks. East Germans got access to the jobs in the western part, since the West was always a bit ahead. Overall, Germany seems to have done remarkably well. So, so far so good. A few feathers are bound to be ruffled when a change of this magnitude happens, but can you think of anything remarkably bad that resulted from the reunification?
 
#4
The sudden fall of Communist control in East Germany created a void into which the West had to act. Having been devided for almost 50 years, East and West Germans have both developed an unique identity. The sudden void created by the demolition of the wall forced change upon a society which wanted it, but was not geared to deal with it in as short a time as it had to. A gradualy process of unification would have been the ideal. To a cenrtain extent, one can compare this sudden void of authoritarian control to the decolonization of Africa. Fortunately, German reunion had far more success. One can only ponder on Germany's position in Europe and the world had this union taken place over an extended period of time, meshing both societies and strengthening the common German identity.
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
#5
I've been given to understand that while some residents of the former DDR discern a "downside" to re-unification, overall, it is regarded as having been a good thing.
 
#6
Of course, one can not deny that the social changes prompted by unification are inherently good. But as Rosicrucian put it, the "development disparity" between the DDR and the West has, probably not as much in recent times, been the cause of much anemosity in the past. A more systematic approach (in my own view, of course) might have toned down this friction and lead to a more consolidated German nation. I do, however, agree that unification has not only benefitted Germans, but also the general European society.
 
Oct 2008
40
#7
... and the unemployment and few benefits caused many east Germans to consider the communist system better....
It isn't only trouble of Germany, but all similar countries (Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic,...)
In my opinion the question is: Where would be today, if Berlin Wall still existed?
Have you sen the movie Good bye, Lenin? It is comedy and it takes place in this time.
 
Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
#8
The sudden void created by the demolition of the wall forced change upon a society which wanted it
Hmmm ... I don't think they really wanted their system, or ours. Solidarnosc, for instance, certainly wasn't demanding neoliberal capitalism - it was a union movement not unlike the American IWW in its heyday.
 
Feb 2008
275
Cincinnati
#9
I think it's too soon to tell what the long-term effects will be exactly, but from the little I've read about the Stasi and other organs of the communist government, the reunification of Germany is a positive development. Of course, there will be problems with a political/social/economic upheaval of this magnitude, but you have to give the country time to recover. After all, it was less than 20 years ago.
 

Similar History Discussions