Ever since the East contracts in the 1970s the tension between East and West could gradually be abated. Especially the conference for security and cooperationThe Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is an intergovernmental organization. It promotes human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections in Europe 1975 improved the collaboration within Europe. Ever since then human rights were increasingly considered decisive as a state’s legal basis.
Perestroika and Glasnost
Of especial importance for the reunion was the political change of course adapted by the Soviet general secretary GorbatschowMichail Gorbatschow was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Ever since 1985 he reformed politics and economy of the Soviet Union with PerestroikaThe literal meaning of perestroika is restructuring, referring to the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system and GlasnostGlasnost was a policy that called for increased openness and transparency in government institutions and activities in the Soviet Union. Trough this democratic modernisation he created the basis for the right of self-determinationThe right of self-determination states that nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status for all Eastern states. From then on the German Democratic Republic was allowed to reshape its state system independently. Use of violence as in the national uprisings of 1953 was thereafter abandoned. The reason for this was the grave economic situation of the Soviet Union that was close to a national bankruptcy due to armament and war costs1.
Fall of the Berlin wall
In the 1980s already Poland and Hungary reformed and democratised their countries and abandoned the socialistic system. The scant economic growth, impaired freedom to travel and supply bottlenecks were the main reasons for the criticism arising among the GDR citizens. Ever since 1989 there were so called Monday demonstrationsMonday demonstrations were a series of peaceful political protests against the government of the German Democratic Republic weeks before the fall of the Berlin Wall 1989 in several locations in the GDR at which the participants claimed a democratic reshaping and the end of the single-party reign in their country. The cry “Wir sind das Volk” (we are the people) the demonstrators voiced their wish for a united Germany. The increasing pressure eventually led to the fall of the Berlin wall on the 9th of November 1989 when the borders to the West were opened for the first time2.
After the fall of the Berlin wall negotiations concerning the future of the GDR began. Oppositional civil right activists and government members discussed the dissolution of the StasiThe Ministry for State Security was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic and the introduction of constitutional regulations. In the FRG Helmut KohlHelmut Kohl served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998. He was regarded regarded as the main architect of the German reunification, Federal Chancellor of the time profiled himself as the Chancellor of unity. He devised a 10-point-programme to overcome the German division. In May 1990 the treaty concerning the monetary, economical and social union with the GDR followed. The East German mark was replaced one-on-one with the German mark even though the actual value would have been much lower. In the first elections of the People’s Parliament in 1990 the political parties argued in favour of a German unity. Internationally the assent of the victorious powers of the Second World War was required to unite the two states. In the so called two plus four treatyThe Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany (1990) renounced all rights of the Allied Powers they held in Germany, allowing a united Germany to become fully sovereign the following year, signed by the USA, the UK, France and the Soviet Union the reunion and sovereignty of Germany was established. The unification treaty signed in September 1990 finalised the integration of the GDR to the FRG and thus set the course for the official reunion on the 3rd of October 19903.