30 years later, many former residents of the GDR aloud asking myself, was it worth it? And not only myself. Of course, this is not an application for separatism, but given the centrifugal forces in other countries of Europe and throughout the European Union, tomorrow, the picture could change.
To equalize the conditions of life in the Eastern and Western parts of Germany may take about half a century. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung said Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself a native of the GDR. According to her, the hope that the process will happen quickly, did not materialize.
“After 10-20 years was the hope that it will happen faster,” she complained, adding that the theme of the fall of the Berlin wall has been actively discussed in the German society because of rising nationalist and protectionist tendencies in the world.
This interview appeared on the eve of the remarkable date – 30 years ago, on 9 November 1989 the Berlin wall fell. Pala almost literally — on this day, the GDR authorities announced the decision to grant the right to citizens to obtain exit visas for short visits to Germany, but the citizens, not even waiting for the entry into force of the relevant law themselves opened a path to the West, with the help of military, who, not knowing what was happening, I just opened the border.
Today’s young Germans is probably very difficult to understand what was experienced that day by their parents. For several generations of Germans, the wall became a symbol of the separation of the once United country, it cut not only the city streets and even the metro line (the trains were going past the closed stations in the dark under the watchful gaze of the guards), but the national pride of the German people.
The wall has become a symbol of post-war occupation of the country. If the authorities of the GDR was considered to be controlled by the Soviet Union, Germany — West, which is constantly reminded of the British, American and French patrols guarding the wall.
All the years from 1961 to 1989 the population of both the Germanium dreamed about the reunion. And many East Germans tried to escape to the West. Some succeeded. Only in the year of the wall the GDR left 207 thousand people. In total for years of existence of the wall was recorded 5075 cases of escape from East Berlin to West Berlin, including 574 cases of desertion from the East German army. The most incredible ways – from the tunnel under the wall (once through an underground tunnel left right 28 people) to escape in a hot air balloon or hang gliding and even the rope hung between the Windows of the neighboring houses.
For trying to illegally cross the Berlin wall in the penal code of the GDR, there was an article providing for up to 10 years in prison. In 1973, the border guards were allowed to open fire on fugitives. For 28 years the wall, according to official figures, 125 people were killed, according to unofficial — a few hundred.
However, there were cases of escape in the opposite direction, numbering about 400, however, is more for bragging rights or for some personal reasons.
Why you running from East to West? The answer to this question is known to all — for a better life. Not to say that in the West she was better, in any case, the standard of living in the GDR was the highest in the entire Soviet bloc. But the people behind the iron curtain in any country and at all times has always ruled blind faith in the fact that behind this curtain in the West — is much better. Better — not everyone could explain it was something from the realm of the irrational, it was faith in rivers of milk and honey. More types of sausages, jeans cheaper and more accessible — we were all the same. However, the Germans with sausages and blue jeans got the unification of the country, and we — its collapse.
Many in the West definitely entailed freedom of movement and the absence of ideological pressure. Simply put, let me be poor and hungry, but be able to criticize their President Mat on the main square of the country than I’m clothed and fed, but forced to submit to a common discipline and to keep your thoughts to yourself.
By the way, most of the fugitives from East Berlin to West — a well-educated and skilled personnel, who believed that to obtain a better education in the GDR — it was free, and work in Germany. Many were ready to exchange a free education and medicine to the sausage, jeans and all sorts of mythical freedom.
To find all this prevented the wall. And it wanted to destroy. Destroyed. But is the content?
It is interesting that the GDR after the war had actually build the economy from scratch – it was badly damaged, but not destroyed — mainly in the West. But they succeeded, and by the mid 50s the growth rate of the GDR was overtaken by Germany. The country produced almost everything you need for an Autonomous existence, supplying his goods the whole socialist camp, including SSR.
After German unification (or rather absorption of the East by the West), which occurred less than a year after the fall of the wall, once famous for the whole Soviet bloc East German industry went into decline, many people were left without work. The invisible hand of the market just destroyed the entire industrial centers, turning them into depressed, almost deserted land.
Not all were able to adapt to a new life. Along with unemployment comes the loss of identity, insecurity, lack of understanding of what is happening around them. Not too burned with love for fellow citizens from the East to the West there existed a prejudice that East Germans were “liberated” and on this basis should just be grateful on a life coffin. Hope for a better life for many Eastern Germans are very quickly replaced by disappointment and longing for a stable past.
In addition, East Germans at the outset had been deprived of representation in the administrations of the country at all levels: in politics, Economics, science and business runs the West German elite. 77 percent of management positions in the East occupied by the Western Germans, no rector of the University of Eastern Germany, and generals, people from the East in the Bundeswehr — less than one percent.
The East all these years to impose widespread in the West, the view that the GDR was a dictatorship, and they are its victims and, therefore, “second-class citizens”. But it could not blur the East German identity. It is noteworthy that according to surveys, 40% of children of immigrants from East Germany believe that their parents ‘ homeland more democratic and fair government than the current Germany. Many German experts all these years talking about this phenomenon as the “wall in the head”, symbolizing the persistent gap not only in the level of economic development, but also in mentality, though the West prefer to talk about maintaining the “vestiges of the old consciousness”, pretending to not understand the nature of this phenomenon.
Even in the West of Germany I love to read, how much does it cost accession of the GDR, but don’t like to talk about what they themselves have destroyed the economy of the Eastern neighbor, which was once on the sixth place on volumes of industrial production in Europe. At the same time, investors do not hide the fact that they are cheaper to build overseas than in the Eastern States.
Today the German government recognize that the lands of East Germany in terms of socio-economic development continued to lag behind the West. Even after 30 years, and there are fears that the gap will only grow. As the wall of alienation between Eastern (“Aussie”) and Western (“Vessey”) by the Germans. Moreover, East Germans did not want to accept the new values of the West — because it’s so popular, parties like the far-right “Alternative for Germany”.
In October of this year, on the eve of the anniversary of the fall of the wall, the magazine Die Zeit, citing the results of a study reported that more than half the population of East Germany was dissatisfied with his position in modern German society. 58 percent of respondents believe that it is not better protected from the tyranny of the state than in the GDR. 70 percent of respondents said that enterprises feel safer. As many accused the authorities that they are not listening to the opinions of the inhabitants of the Eastern lands, 80 percent are confident that their efforts are appreciated not appreciated, 56 percent are dissatisfied with the level of school education.
Today, many former residents of the GDR aloud asking myself, was it worth it? And not only myself. Of course, this is not an application for separatism, but given the centrifugal forces in other countries of Europe and throughout the European Union, tomorrow, the picture could change.
East Germany was not able to fit into modern Western capitalism, and not the fact that even within Merkel voiced 50 years.
So, the postwar transformation of Germany may not be over…