On October 3rd we celebrate the German national holiday. It’s a very special day.

Since October 3, 1990, Germany has been a united country again. That wasn’t the case for a long time. Until October 1990, there were two German states: the German Democratic Republic (DDR) in the east, which was founded in 1949, and the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD) in the west. Both were separated by a border, which was built by the DDR as an insurmountable obstacle and was closely guarded. Many people were shot while trying to escape into the BRD.

The people in the DDR no longer wanted to accept this border. In the fall of 1989, they forced the rulers of the DDR to open it through a peaceful revolution. On November 9, 1989, the wall that had separated East and West Berlin since August 13, 1961 was the first to fall.

On October 3, 1990, the so-called Unification Treaty was announced by Federal President von Weizsäcker. Since then, Germany has been reunited again.

But how did it come that two German states were to be formed in the first place? Here are some historical facts:

  • The Second World War ended in 1945 with the defeat of Nazi Germany. In the Potsdam Agreement of August 2, 1945, the four victorious powers USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France decided to divide Germany into four occupation zones.
  • The three western zones became democratic and free elections took place. The Federal Republic of Germany was founded. But in the zone administered by the Soviet Union, a state dependent on the Soviet Union developed: the DDR. Despite the name, it was not a democratic state, but a dictatorship. There were no free elections and no opposition.
  • In the first years, many people left the country to live in West Germany. In August 1961, the rulers of the DDR had the Berlin Wall built to prevent the people from fleeing to the West. The wall made it clear to everyone that Germany was divided.

INFO-ECKE: German Culture – German History

Maria Latzke 

German Culture