The reunification process is without historical precedent and a national tour de force that cannnot be completed in a few years. 20 years after reunification great progress has been made in rejuvenating the economic and social basis in the eastern federal states. Enormous challenges remain, however, which the people have to surmount together.
A process without historical precedent
9 November 1989, the day on which the Berlin Wall fell, marked the climax of a trend that was similar to a revolution and in which the citizens of the GDR played the main role. Some, because they did everything in their power to leave a state that refused to grant them the freedom to travel and who by occupying embassies abroad forced the authorities into allowing them to leave, and others because they proclaimed in no uncertain terms that they wished to stay in the GDR. However, they also demanded fundamental reforms, which the regime could not agree to without setting its downfall in motion. Given this assault on two fronts, despite massive security measures the GDR collapsed like a house of cards in the space of just a few months. This paved the way for the division of Germany to be overcome and for the country to be reunited on 3 October 1990.