Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Full throttle unification

Following the only free election in the GDR history in 1990, the LA Times journalist Tyler Marshall reported "the pace of German unification once again moved toward full throttle" (Marshall, 1990). At his first post-election press conference Lothar de Maiziere announced, "as a clear sign of the growing together of Germany, the wall should be removed as fast as possible". De Maiziere's Christian Democrats had won the election, although short of a clear majority.

De Maiziere also called on the Social Democrats and the Free Democrats for discussions to join his "grand coalition", but did not invite the Democratic Socialist Party which won 16% of the popular vote, possibly reflecting "a level of anxiety among East Germans about the impending political changes" (Marshall, 1990). The Social Democrats seemed ready to compromise on their more measured pace toward unification.

"We will not disappoint the expectations of the East German voters," the West German prime minister Helmut Kohl said (Marshall, 1990).

Introducing the West German deutschemark into East Germany was viewed crucial step toward unification and "to halt the flow of East German refugees to the West" (Marshall, 1990) as a West German spokesperson "cautioned" against rapid monetary union. More than 140,000 East Germans had crossed to the West for permanent resettlement since the start of the year.

Share prices on the Frankfurt stock exchange soared 17 points and Deutschemark "strengthed against most major currencies and financial analysts voiced buoyant forecasts," Marshall (1990) wrote, "as municipal employees cleared away the debris of post-election celebrations in East Berlin".

Marshall, Tyler (1990) E. Germans Seek Coalition, Vow to Destroy Berlin Wall. [Online]
 http://articles.latimes.com/1990-03-20/news/mn-650_1_east-german [19/09/2011]