The Costs of German Division

A Research Report

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 Freie Universität Berlin
  • | 2 University of Giessen
  • | 3 Yonsei University
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In many countries, the process of German unification is of continued interest. While the fact that peaceful unification was possible is generally appreciated, the costs of unification seem to still be of great concern. Yet, they have always to be seen in relationship to costs of division. It may be impossible to work out exactly the final sum of costs of German division. We searched for costs that occurred for the Federal Republic of Germany (frg) since 1949 and what we put together is, admittedly, an incomplete compilation, as it is a difficult undertaking which has not been done before. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to calculate the costs the German Democratic Republic (gdr) paid for division. Thus, we can only present an estimate. Costs of division as juxtaposed to unification costs will show that unification in Germany is not even twice as expensive as was division. Many of these costs facilitated normalization and the opening up of East Germany—in the end they turned out to be a most valuable prepayment for German unification.

Contributor Notes

Werner Pfennig (Dr. rer. pol., Freie Universität Berlin) taught political science until his retirement at Freie Universität Berlin. Among his recent publications is a bibliography on the process of German unification.

Vu Tien Dung studied in Germany, Korea, and the u.s., received a ba from Freie Universität Berlin, was working with a project on the German unification process at the Institute of Korean Studies at this university and is presently with the University of Giessen.

Alexander Pfennig (Diploma in Political Science, at Freie Universität Berlin) studied in Germany and at Yale University as a Fox International Fellow, he did research at Harvard University; as a research fellow at the Institute of Korean StudiesFreie Universität Berlin, he is member of the project team on the German unification process, and is presently at Yonsei University in Seoul with a grant from the Korea Foundation.


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