Cause of Collapse of East Germany

The world experienced the worst historic bombing by the USA on the 6th and 9th of august in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, one of the forces that translated to ending World War II. The USA and the Soviet Union, and Great Britain agreed to keep peace across different parts of the World However, little was known about the hidden change of strategy of the parties involved, which resulted in the Cold War in 1947.[1] Germany became the center of interest, with the Soviet Union and the United States becoming the opposing powers. Two years later, in 1949, Germany was split due to the political interests of the Cold War driven by the Soviets and US into East and West Germany and became independent democratic countries.[2] However, over the years, the political crisis and social welfare between East and West Germany changed drastically, and multiple new reforms emerged with the efforts to reunite the two sides. The economic crisis, political desires, and social welfare during the 1980s played a significant role in realizing the benefits and losses the two sides had experienced, resulting in a reunion on 3 October 1990. The reunion was characterized by France, Russia, US and Great Britain renouncing their powers and rights in East and West Germany.

The Soviet Union’s political interest began to wither by the end of 1970. A lot of pressure accumulated in African and East countries when the Soviet Union changed their interest in consolidating the powers. In 1970, the Soviet Union shifted its interest and started attacking Afghanistan. It was through the announcement of the dual-track policy by NATO in 1981.[3] The dual-track policy required the provision of the cruise and two missiles to West Germany. Besides, it was directly linked with the introduction of martial law in Poland in 1981.[4] The law was determined to take control of Poland as the new interest, shifting the interest from West Germany. All the resources, including the military, financial support, and policing, were diverted to Poland, where the new political regime was established. Thus, Schmidt made a political commitment to reduce its impact on the relationship between West and East Germany.

The East Germany leadership was interested in gaining more economic strength. In July 1981, Erich Honecker’s ambitions of extending trading activities beyond East Germany grew beyond his political desires. Erich was interested in increasing the trade in West Germany from a percentage from 2% to 12% as it was in East Germany.[5] The support from the indigenous people of Germany would help the import and export trade growth. As such, Erich believed in ending the conflict with East Germany as a tool for reinforcing the economic blocks within the indigenous people. It would open out Germany’s economic integration with other countries from the East, providing a robust experience in improving the trading experience. Thus, according to Erich’s economic strategy, the desire to close the economic gap between the two sides was set to create mutual growth and strengthen East Germany. `

Furthermore, East German experienced difficulties in the diversity of the raw materials in expanding their industries and manufacturing processes. The manufacturing industry suffered a great setback due to its dependency on the Soviet Union. In 1983, East Germany had not been able to increase its manufacturing process due to the regulations put in place by the Soviet Union to consolidate the economy of the region. Besides, the petroleum prices had increased as an intervention by the Soviet Union, making the people impoverished. Conversely, raw materials and petroleum products were not supplied to West Germany. The region’s economic development during 1983 could not afford to lose the benefits from the federal republic, West Germany.[6] The estimated gain was DM 5 billion annually, making it desirable to reunite the two sides as a part of the economic gain from the inner relationships with German.

The political changes in West Germany raised new agendas that transformed the relationship between the two states. Chancellor Helmut Kohlled of the Christian Democrats formed the new coalition government in West Germany. He successfully replaced Social Democrats that had ruled for thirteen years. The problem of the Christians receiving minimum concessions at the expense of Social Democrats was addressed.[7] The trade benefits, economic boosts, and cultural interventions were siphoned from East Germany to help the people in West Germany. On the other hand, Kohler, the rule from the East did not change later the economic and social policies to favor the West. It made it easier to seek more mutually benefiting strategies for the two states, effectively improving reunification. The East did not feel disadvantaged by the new coalition in West Germany and provided more sounding grounds to reunite the states due to increased trust in both sides.

The talks between the superpowers collapsed in the year 1983. The USA and the Soviet Union tried to engage in talks regarding using missiles as part of defense in governance, putting the two states on the receiving end of the war. The Warsaw Treaty did not sit well with the FRG, the two states.[8] It subjected the two states to act as a battleground for the two superpowers. The initial statement from President Reagan indicated the war would take in the West and East soil which intended to manifest the military might using short-range missiles. The anxiety in West and East German intensified, and it was purported that a nuclear holocaust could happen. The two states realized they were the first to suffer in their land and started talks on reunification to end the external interests of the two sides.

In the middle of 1984, both states started political discussions on the reunification of West and East Germany. People had started a dialogue on how the ideal world could advocate for reunification. It was one of the main approaches most countries had undertaken. The Soviet Union had taken a different approach in condensing the states to diversify the political rule. Further, dialogue from the two sides manifested the common heritage of the Germany people.[9] It should bring a better understanding and increase the cultural and ideological sense of recognition. Unity during the 1980s was a global concern and restructuring the territories that had separated was advocated to consider the initial unity. Thus, increased discussion and international dialogues on the reunification intensified the process.

The rise of Mikhail S.Gorbachev into Soviet Union’s major party changed the balance of power. The dynamic individual came into power as the secretary to the Communist Party and changed the operation of the Soviet Union.[10] He renounced the Soviet Union’s dominance in the European countries when it failed to honor demands from East Germany’s citizens. The reform of the social systems and aspects that required strengthening human rights and democratic rights were not honored, as witnessed in West Germany. Failure of the honor made Gorbachev not use the Soviet forces in the protests that emerged. It resulted in the Unification of the two states as part of the external reforms that played a bigger role in West and East Germany.

Besides, the policies of glasnost and perestroika by Gorbachev greatly affected the economic-political mentality of the people of Germany. The policy of glasnost advocated for openness and release of power to the people through democratization in areas where the power is centralized, as experienced in the rule of law assumed by the Soviet Union. Besides, the policy of perestroika advocated for the decentralization of industries and providing more resources to people from multiple regions within a given state. It required improved quality of goods and materials under the Soviet Union.[11] The policy also required subsidizing the cost of essential goods that enable economic development. The subsequent push to adopt the policy failed to collapse, making it difficult to manage the affairs of the Soviet Union. East Germany worked in consolidated efforts to diversify and advance its economics that would allow the leaders from the East to anticipate a reunion with West Germany.

The SED regime expressed dissatisfaction and failed to honor Gorbachev’s
Reform model that had gained popularity in Europe. The SED regime lacked legitimacy and did not have a backup from the Soviet Union[12]. The regime’s important organs were stripped away, including but not limited to financial support and the soviet troops. In 1987, the Soviet Union made it clear on its position on the SED regime. The people felt they had to look for better interventions to bring forward all the changes to benefit them. The election was underway, and by the time East Germany was voting in March 1990, the regime had lost. The elections duplicated the status of democracy in other European countries, which gave the East the anxiety of losing the economic benefits. As the anxiety piled up in the minds and talks of the citizens, the unification process intensified. Thus, it made it possible to agree on the importance of reuniting and avoiding the external powers’ impact, which had no real influence on the Unification.

In conclusion, the fall of East Germany happened due to the underlying historic events that transferred over the years. The policing by the Soviet Union affected the people politically and economically. Social welfare was not well articulated by the Soviet Union, paving the desire to change the condition of the people. The political might, such as fear of the use of missiles and nuclear by the superpowers, acted as a driving force to reunite the two states. The desire to expand trade and empower East Germany created a sense of ambition to ensure they benefitted from the fast-growing market gap with West Germany. No single factor played a role in ending Soviet rule in East Germany, as one event led to the other with the main goal of anticipation of a reunion. The fall of East Germany is not associated with the failure of the Soviet Union to adopt some of the famous economic policies during the 1980s but is tied to the fact German people shared a lot in their culture and heritage. Hence, multiple economic and social factors played an important the fall of East Germany.