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In 1949, four years after the end of the Second World War, two German states were formed: in the east the German Democratic Republic, the GDR, and the Federal Republic of Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany in the west. Although each of them had its own government, they were not completely independent. In the GDR, the policy was dictated by the Soviet Union, and the FRG was influenced by Britain, France and the United States.
In March 1952, the USSR proposed that the United States, Britain and France peacefully resolve the German question: the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany once again unite into one independent state and make it politically neutral. But members of the Western Union were against such a plan. They wanted the FRG to belong to the West. They believed that a neutral Germany would fall under the influence of the Soviet Union. The then liberal-conservative government also strongly supported the alliance with the west.
After 1952, disagreements between the two Germans intensified. In 1956, the countries acquired their own armies. The GDR became a member of the Warsaw Union, and the FRG joined NATO.
While in the GDR, economic problems grew like a snowball, business in the FRG developed and flourished. The standard of living in the two countries differed strikingly. This was the first reason why thousands of East Germans fled to western Germany. Eventually, the GDR closed its borders and introduced armed control over them. In 1961, the last stone was put in the wall, which divided the two Germany.
During the years of the Cold War, from 1952 to 1969, the two German states contacted only through trade. In June 1953, eastern Berlin and other cities of eastern Germany rebelled against the communist dictatorship and economy, but Soviet tanks calmed the national unrest. In Germany, the majority of citizens were satisfied with the policy of the government. However, even here in the sixties a wave of protests and student demonstrations against capitalism swept and too close a connection with the United States.
The first political negotiations between the two countries began in 1969. This was the so-called “eastern policy” of the then Bundescantor Willy Brandt and his government of the Social Democrats and Liberals. In 1972, the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany signed an agreement “On the Basics of Relations.” The treaty improved political and economic contacts between the two countries. More and more Western Germans could visit their relatives in the GDR, but not many East Germans were allowed to travel to the west.
In the fall of 1989, Hungary opened its Austrian borders, giving, thus, the citizens of the GDR the opportunity to flee to western Germany. Many of them left their country in this way. Others fled to the FRG embassy in Warsaw and Prague and stayed there until they received permission to enter the western republic.
Soon, mass demonstrations began in Leipzig, Dresden and other eastern cities. At first, it was only a matter of free travel to the countries of the west and especially western Germany, free elections and a free economy. But soon the calls for the unification of the two Germanys began to grow louder. There were opposition groups, and within a few weeks the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) resigned.
The process of unification of Germany, which lasts in 1989-90 in the GDR and Germany, the Germans call die Wende (Wende). It includes four main periods:
Peaceful Revolution, a time of mass protest and demonstrations (taking place on Mondays), directed against the political system of the GDR and for human rights. This period lasted all autumn of 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 and the press conference of the Politburo, where Gunther Schabowski announced the opening of checkpoints (border crossings) The transition of the GDR to democracy, which in March 1990 led to the first and only democratic elections to the People’s Chamber . The process of German reunification with the signing of the treaty of unification in August 1990, the Treaty on the final settlement of Germany in September and, finally, the accession of five German lands to the FRG.
Other articles on the topic:
The entry of Germany into the League of Nations Germany’s entry into the League of Nations in 1926 was a chance for the post-war country to reconsider the conditions of Versailles.
Postwar Germany. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945. The Great Patriotic War is over. The history of postwar Germany is a story.
The number of Muslims in Germany To better understand where today’s integration problems of Germany are rooted, and how the number of Muslims in Germany has changed.
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