Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project
Yesterday, October 3rd, saw the 30th anniversary of German reunification when West Germany joined up with the East following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. We’re putting three articles back-to-back from RT to give a flavor of it, and some useful perspective as to why it has hardly been a stunning success 30 years on.
For MSM vacuity and government propaganda, see this outrageously biased, ra-ra piece from DW (Deutsche Welle), German Unity Day: Steinmeier hails ‘joy and courage’, blaming as it does the ‘far right’ for not defending ‘democracy and freedom’ in the country (note in the third article below, over clashes between Antifa and the Third-Way nationalist movement yesterday, it is Antifa that was causing the violence at what was presumably a legal march).
An RT bias-warning: we all know that Germany underwent vast migration pressures because of Merkel’s adherence to the pro-corporate/cheap labour, globalist vision of open borders and ‘multiculturalism’, especially around 2014 (see image). Even she admitted that it failed – once it was largely accomplished. Immigration isn’t addressed by the two commentators below; RT generally buys into the ‘far right’ narrative on this topic. East Germany is also the birthplace of the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party, which started life on an economic platform against the backdrop of relative poverty in former East German regions. It has been gaining ground in the most recent elections. However, it is painted merely as a racist, ‘far right’ party in the narrative: it isn’t mentioned below, either.
Nor is the pro-freedom rally that took place in Berlin on August 29th, led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Dr. Heiko Schoning, demonstrating against the rapid advance of authoritarianism over the virus measures in all our countries. See Robert F. Kennedy Jr: Fighting Against Global Totalitarianism in Berlin [VIDEO]. Such is the import of this message that Dr. Schoning was arrested at a legal rally in Trafalgar Square two Saturdays ago. See German Doctor Heiko Schoning Arrested After Speaking At “We Do Not Consent” Rally In London [VIDEOS].
Globalist German leaders like Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Merkel be any more wilfully tone-deaf?
‘Giant step backwards’: 30 years into German unity Russia-Europe cooperation sacrificed to US ambition, German ex-diplomat to RT
Germany’s reunification 30 years ago could have started an era of unprecedented cooperation between the US, Europe and Russia, German ex-diplomat Frank Elbe told RT. Yet, Washington chose domination over lucrative partnership.
On October 3, Germany celebrates the day of national unity – a holiday marking the moment when capitalist West Germany and socialist East Germany officially merged into one state once again. With Moscow still having a sway over the situation in the East, the historical reunification could not have been possible without the tacit support of the then-Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, who repeatedly stated that the Germans should determine their fate themselves.
The reunification was followed by the adoption of the Paris Charter for a New Europe – a universal document signed by 32 European nations, including the former members of the Soviet bloc, as well as the US and Canada. It could have helped Europe to leave the legacy of the Cold War behind and pave the way for a united cooperation space “from Vancouver to Vladivostok,” veteran German diplomat Frank Elbe told RT Deutsch.
“If it had have happened as we had decided [at that time] and the cooperation zone from Vancouver to Vladivostok had been created, everyone, including the West, Russia, the former Soviet states and Americans, would have benefited from it, including from a strategic point of view,” he said. “That would be an incredible synergy in political and economic fields.”
Yet, hopes for a brighter future were eventually dashed by Washington’s geopolitical ambitions since America quickly declared itself the only superpower and adopted a strategy of “controlling” the rest of the world, including Europe and the former Soviet states, instead of even trying to build cooperation with them, the former German ambassador to Poland, India, Japan and Switzerland noted. (ER: What some commentators refer to as the creation of a ‘unipolar’ world back then.)
“We are making a giant step backwards – back to the Cold War,” Elbe said, adding that Europe and the US have abandoned the instruments of successful crisis resolution they used in the past.
The logic of domination and confrontation espoused by the American establishment poisons not just relations between Washington and Moscow but between the US and its allies in Europe as well, not least because America doesn’t see some of them, including Germany, as allies anymore.
“It seems that Americans count us [Germans] among their imaginary adversaries and believe we prevent them from succeeding in their … policy of dominating Eurasia,” Elbe said, referring to the reports of some US think tanks like Stratfor that define economic cooperation between Russia and Germany as a threat to America’s strategic interests while Berlin is called a source of a danger to NATO integrity.
Washington’s vehement opposition to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, in which both Russia’s Gazprom gas giant and Europe’s big energy corporations such as Shell, Engie, Uniper and OMV are involved, is just the tip of the iceberg, Elbe believes.
“The Americans are just horrified by the fact that Europe pursues its own independent policy. They link the Nord Stream 2 to Germans, although it is not a German-Russian project but one in which European companies are involved and which enjoys strong support of other participants as well.”
“Our allies consider us troublemakers now,” the diplomat said, adding that it is all because Washington accuses Berlin of a desire to uphold “special relations” with Russia.
Elbe believes there is nothing really “special” in them, explaining that it is just a pragmatic approach instead. The ex-diplomat also argued it is high time for Europe to adopt this pragmatism in relations with Russia as well and get down from its moral high horse since constant sanctions and constant lecturing of Moscow have so far led Europe nowhere but only harmed the continent’s economy. (ER: Europe has suffered greatly on the economic front in terms of jobs lost and GDP diminished by continuing hostilities and sanctions against Russia, a point made constantly by economic commentators such as Paul Craig Roberts. No doubt this is Washington’s desired outcome.)
“We urgently need to lose such habits,” Elbe said, calling on European nations to actively re-engage with Moscow within the Russia-NATO Council and the Normandy Four format designed to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, as well as to start gradually easing the sanctions.
Less than the sum of its parts: German reunification thirty years on
NEIL CLARK for RT
Thirty years ago today, on 3rd October 1990, ‘Germany’ was reborn. The division of Germany into East and West was supposed to have been permanent, following the end of the Second World War, and this division was recognised again in the 1975 Helsinki Accords. Nevertheless, just fifteen years later, the separation was over.
People from East and West Berlin climb on the Wall at the Brandenburg Gate on 9th November 1989, Berlin, Germany © Global Look Press / Norbert Michalke
Some would say this was inevitable, following the demise of communist rule in the GDR, but nothing is inevitable until it happens. East and West Germany could, conceivably have continued as separate states, at least for a number of years. Indeed, that is what many, including UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was very apprehensive about reunification, hoped for.
The turning point was undoubtedly Helmut Kohl, the West German Chancellor at the time, declaring ‘Wir sind doch ein volk!’ (We are one people!) on 10th November 1989. ‘Deutsche Wiederervereinigung’ (German reunification) thereafter became a juggernaut that proved impossible for anyone to stop. Of course, as Kohl said, self-determination was paramount, but if reunification had to take place, it could have been done in a different way. Rather than being a ‘merger’ between East and West, what actually happened was that the West ‘took over’ the East. The Federal Republic of Germany (ER: west) was never ‘put to sleep’, but the German Democratic Republic (east) was. In other words, reunification didn’t create a ‘third’ country, but simply enlarged the Federal Republic. And that, arguably, is where things went wrong.
I spent time in both West and East Germany in the summer and autumn of 1989. I had been to West Germany a number of times in the 1980s and on each occasion I was impressed by what I saw. There was a high standard of living, great art and culture and a pretty vibrant society.
In September 1989, I visited East Germany for the first time. Travelling by train from Frankfurt, the contrast was quite incredible. Everything seemed quieter. There were no advertising hoardings. The roads had about a quarter of the traffic on them as in the West. It was, to use a cliché, like stepping back in time. But that doesn’t mean the country was ‘backward’, far from it. Again, as in the West, the arts and cultural life was strong. The people were friendly, engaging and very well-educated. There seemed to be a strong community spirit. Pubs and restaurants were packed. My visit coincided with the official 40th birthday celebrations of Europe’s youngest state. Yet for the GDR, life didn’t begin at 40, but ended. No one could have predicted how quickly events would unfold.
No one who has enjoyed the freedom to travel can criticise anyone else for yearning for it. Yet thirty years later, the German government’s annual report on reunification showed that almost 60% of citizens in Eastern Germany regarded themselves as ‘second-class citizens’, and only 38% of those polled thought German reunification had been a success. Staying in Wernigerode I became friends with a charming married couple who shared my love of vintage detective fiction. When the Berlin Wall came down, they sent me an ecstatic letter, which ended with the words ‘FREIHEIT!’ (Freedom).
It’s not just the citizens of the former East Germany who are ‘Ostalgic’ for the past. There’s the phenomenon of ‘Westalgie’ too- ie. nostalgia for the old West Germany and the prosperous, comfortable lives that people once lived there.
Today’s Germany is not the sum of its parts. It is still two nations in all but name. If anything, the last thirty years proves that competition is a good thing. The existence of a communist East meant those in power in the West had to raise their game. They did, via Adenauer and Erhard’s ‘Social Market’ economy. Who could be tempted by communism when considering all that the Federal Republic offered its citizens: a strong economy, social security and a very high level of personal freedom? Similarly, pressure from the West, meant that East Germany’s leaders had to pull their finger out too, with increased production of consumer goods, and some – albeit cautious – liberalisation.
In 2018, a report showed that the risk of being poor had risen to a record high in Germany. Shorn of the competition that East and West Germany provided for each other, the eagle of a united Germany hasn’t soared to the great heights many expected in 1990.
Both East and West Germany were very safe countries, where violent crime was rare, but the number of murders in united Germany has risen from 630 in 2012 to 901 in 2018. (ER: This cannot be unrelated to mass migration that Merkel actively engineered, peaking around 2014.)
Rape and sexual assault cases have also risen during the last decade.
Things don’t seem to be going too well in the workplace, either. A 2019 report revealed that the Germans were the most dissatisfied employees in Europe, after Hungarians.
Again, it’s all a far cry from the hopes and dreams of 1990.
A hurried ‘takeover’ of the East by the West, and then the gradual dismantling of what made the West so special, as well as the positive aspects of the East- all against the disorienting backdrop of greed-fuelled turbo globalisation, has unsurprisingly left many Germans with a sense of loss and unease. There’s also been a worrying diminution of the freedoms the West once enjoyed, such as freedom of speech, under the guise of countering ‘hate speech’. Whichever way it was done, German re-unification was never going to be easy. Forty years is a significant period of time, and by the late 1980s both the FRG and the GDR had established their own distinct identities, their own national cultures, their own way of life, their own brands, their own iconography.
Did we need communism in the East to keep the West ‘up to the mark’? It looks like it.
WATCH German police clash with anti-fascists attempting to block neo-Nazi march on country’s Unity Day
Germany is celebrating its 30th Unity Day, marking the reunification of the country that was divided for over 40 years. On 3 October 1990, the eastern socialist German Democratic Republic (GDR) was disbanded and absorbed by the western Federal Republic of Germany.
Germany’s far-right “Third-Way” movement, which describes itself as “Nationalist” and “Socialist”, staged a march in Berlin marking the occasion. Originally, it was to be held on May 1, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The event attracted a large group of left-wing counter-protesters, who attempted to block the route of the “Third-Way” marchers. Police deployed a major force into the area, trying to separate the rival groups and clear the route for the march.
Antifa protesters have attempted to stage sit-ins in the middle of a road, prompting police to forcibly remove and detain some of them, footage from the scene shows. That led to scuffles, with authorities saying the activists pelted law enforcement with various projectiles.
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