On 3 October 1990, Germany achieved formal unification. Even 27 years later, however, inner unity has yet to be completed and there are ongoing discussions about the overall costs. This is a widely debated topic in many countries, but especially in
A Research Report
Werner Pfennig, Vu Tien Dung, and Alexander Pfennig
When German foreign policy is being described, a reference to multilateralism
is rarely ever omitted. Together with Westbindung, restraint
in using military force, and a trading-state orientation, Germany’s
preference for multilateral settings is recognized as one of the central
elements of its foreign policy. In recent years, a number of studies
have shown that, in contrast to realist expectations from the early
1990s, the more powerful unified Germany has continued to embrace
this multilateralism. This applies to Germany’s willingness to bind
itself to NATO and other European and Euro-Atlantic security institutions,
1 to Germany’s policy within and vis-à-vis the EU,2 and to its
foreign policy on a global scale.
This article investigates the politics of representing everyday life (Alltag) in the German Democratic Republic in state-mandated museums and memorials in the contemporary Federal Republic. Through an analysis of advertising material, exhibits, and visitor surveys, it considers how managers of “auratic” sites have responded to the challenge posed by interpretations of the East German state that resist the focus on repression, as well as the impact of this response on different visitor groups. The discussion focuses on two established sites—Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen and Forschungs- und Gedenkstätte Normannenstraße—as well as the exhibition in the Tränenpalast in Berlin, opened in September 2011. It argues that state-supported sites frequently seek to contain memories of Alltag by reinterpreting the term to mean the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people. Nonetheless, overly didactic interpretations that leave little space for individual meaning-making risk disinheriting those whose memories are based on social and economic security, rather than state violence. The article argues that there is a tension in these museums and memorials between a desire to present a singular view of the East German state as the second German dictatorship and the recognition that the “active visitor” brings his or her own experiences, interests and memories to public history sites.
Berlin 1948 and the longest airlift in history simultaneously ushered
in the Cold War, with a divided Berlin its best-known symbol, and
transformed West Berliners in the eyes of the Allied world from
Nazis to victims of Soviet aggression. By 1950, with Germany officially
divided, political elites of the East (GDR) and West (FRG)
took up the task of convincing their citizens and each other of the
legitimacy of their own governments. In spite of the primacy of
Cold War rhetoric in the media of the day, however, the most
pressing challenge of postwar society for both sides lay in redefining—
in perception, if not in fact—political and social institutions in
opposition to the Nazi past.
From Civilian Power to a Geo-economic Shaping Power
Stephen F. Szabo
effectiveness of the use of military force in the post Cold War world. 7 These tendencies have accelerated after unification and the end of the Cold War. The Berlin Republic downgraded military force as an instrument of its statecraft and has relied both on the
Unpacking Gender Images across Angela Merkel’s Four Campaigns for the Chancellorship, 2005–2017
Joyce Marie Mushaben
increasingly misogynistic and xenophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD). The study begins with a brief assessment of the changing nature of German election campaigns, heavily influenced by the post-unification shift to a multiparty system. Next, I review major
The current issue of German Politics and Society begins with Rainer
Baumann’s insightful article, “The Transformation of German Multilateralism:
Changes in Foreign Policy Discourse since Unification.”
The year 2005 marks the fifteenth anniversary of unification, and over the course of the next several issues, German Politics and Society will showcase this topic whenever possible.
Jeffrey J. Anderson
Twenty years after all the excitement, Germans seem to be genuinely of two conflicting minds about unification. One is characterized by awe over the accomplishments of 1989-1990, the other by disappointment and even bitterness over unfulfilled ambitions and promises. These contrasting interpretations and assessments of unification are fluid, but surface repeatedly in the quality print media. This chapter examines the recurring themes, interpretations, and narratives about unification twenty years on, and seeks to trace the interconnections between the social, economic, and political dimensions of unification. As such, these contemporary printed narratives can tell us a great deal about how a people views its recent past, what its priorities are, and how it is facing the future. The analysis reveals that public discourse on unification twenty years after the fact resembles a blind spot—look straight at it, and it disappears, replaced by blank spot—a seemingly irreducible gap between East and West. Avert one's gaze, and the spot fills in, almost seamlessly.
Afrikareisende works are actually interwoven to form a macrotext stretching across generations of travelers. The three explorers discussed here undertook their expeditions during an era of extensive political momentum that preceded German unification. Thus, we