Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Could the German Democratic Republic have survived as an independent state?

Options
  • 10-11-2019 9:35am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 240 ✭✭


    The announcement to open the Berlin Wall was an accident. The plan was just for visas and greater freedom of movement to the Federal Republic. If this had happened was there any prospect that the DDR/GDR could have survived as an independent state longer term does anyone think?. There was some who wanted a Confederation rather than reunification, at least initially.

    There was some good aspects of DDR life such as guaranteed employment, housing free childcare and free extra curricular educational activities.

    I suppose that with the Soviet Union failing a communist state in Central Europe probably couldn't have continued medium term. A capitalist east would have been comparatively impoverished in comparison to its Western neighbour and no doubt the brain drain would have been severe.

    So I think probably not.

    But 30 years on the inequality associated with Capitalism, issues such as access to affordable housing and secure employment, climate change and automation, well I think some aspects of Socialism are more relevant now. The idea of a Basic Universal Income, rent security, the idea of trading more locally to lessen our carbon footprint. I think Socialist ideas have more zeitgeist now than in 1989.

    What do others think?.

    S


Comments

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,482 Mod ✭✭✭✭johnnyskeleton


    Mod note:

    As this is the politics forum, we might treat the question as being whether the policies of the GDR could have continued until now, or whether they should be introduced again etc.

    Discussion of the history of that State or the Soviet Union in general is perhaps better suited to the History and Heritage forum.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,966 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp


    Wasn't the state already effectively bankrupt prior to its fall, no more than the rest of the USSR states? The visas a "too little too soon" attempt at mild reform ala Glasnost etc in Russia?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,296 ✭✭✭liamtech


    Sussex18 wrote: »
    The announcement to open the Berlin Wall was an accident. The plan was just for visas and greater freedom of movement to the Federal Republic. If this had happened was there any prospect that the DDR/GDR could have survived as an independent state longer term does anyone think?. There was some who wanted a Confederation rather than reunification, at least initially.

    There was some good aspects of DDR life such as guaranteed employment, housing free childcare and free extra curricular educational activities.

    I suppose that with the Soviet Union failing a communist state in Central Europe probably couldn't have continued medium term. A capitalist east would have been comparatively impoverished in comparison to its Western neighbour and no doubt the brain drain would have been severe.

    So I think probably not.

    But 30 years on the inequality associated with Capitalism, issues such as access to affordable housing and secure employment, climate change and automation, well I think some aspects of Socialism are more relevant now. The idea of a Basic Universal Income, rent security, the idea of trading more locally to lessen our carbon footprint. I think Socialist ideas have more zeitgeist now than in 1989.

    What do others think?.

    S

    Fascinating topic

    As others have said, i would agree that Glasnost and Perestroika (G&P) were primarily the reason for the decay of the USSR and the Soviet Bloc in general - it really was too little too late, but i would also argue that it was a question of 'NOW OR NEVER'. For those within the Eastern Bloc who sought to democratize their nations, there was a real fear that if G&P failed, there may have been a push back against reform, to a more traditional hard version of the Bloc. And the attempted coup against Gorbachev demonstrates that those fears were real.

    As to the policies of the GDR, i think we should distinguish Socialism, which in my mind is a useful bulwark against inequality, over Stalinism, which i would argue was manifested greatly in terms of East Germany
    • Erich Honecker was egotistical maniac. Might seem extreme to put it this way, but that is what he is. In the 80s there was one instance of East Germans trying to escape to the west via Hungary which had softened in those days. Honecker didnt want them to escape and i believe referred to them as parasitical, or some other horrendous slur. in the end he was pressured to allow them to leave, not least because they had begun squatting in the West German Embassy in Prague! But his CONDITION on releasing these people was that they had to travel to west Germany, through East Berlin -so he could claim to have 'expelled' them and revoke their GDR citizenship - Honecker was Stalinist to the core,
    • The East German Stasi were once referred to as the brothers in arms of the KGB, their good communist German cousins. Wide ranging historically accurate reports of their atrocities, and forcing relatives to spy on, and testify against family members

    So should it have survived - no, i dont believe so. for a few reasons. It wasnt any form of social paradise - the regime was corrupt and brutal

    But more than that i believe the German people never really divided - granted many adopted to the GDR regime, and some like the aforementioned SS KGB Stasi, Thrived - overall the general German opinion was that their country was artificially divided, and at the first opportunity they would, and should, reunify

    Sic semper tyrannis - thus always to Tyrants



  • Registered Users Posts: 240 ✭✭Sussex18


    Thanks Liamtech
    I was a student in what had previously been the DDR/GDR in 1999. I did encounter some former East Germans who were opposed to reunification. Some older people also felt they hadn't much economic prospects in the new state. I also detected a resentment that most department heads at the University were 'West German', one lecturer felt that 'the baby was being thrown out with the bathwater'. Most young and old still had quite a strong sense of being East German. (It's probably a lot different now with nobody under 35 having memories of life in the DDR.)

    That does not necessarily mean eithet that these same people opposed reunification of course. I remember another teacher say that it was important not to romanticise the DDR and 'not to forget what it was really like'.

    I'm sure your points around corruption, brutality etc are all correct, just adding a bit from my experience 🙂


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,296 ✭✭✭liamtech


    Sussex18 wrote: »
    Thanks Liamtech
    I was a student in what had previously been the DDR/GDR in 1999. I did encounter some former East Germans who were opposed to reunification. Some older people also felt they hadn't much economic prospects in the new state. I also detected a resentment that most department heads at the University were 'West German', one lecturer felt that 'the baby was being thrown out with the bathwater'. Most young and old still had quite a strong sense of being East German. (It's probably a lot different now with nobody under 35 having memories of life in the DDR.)

    That does not necessarily mean eithet that these same people opposed reunification of course. I remember another teacher say that it was important not to romanticise the DDR and 'not to forget what it was really like'.

    I'm sure your points around corruption, brutality etc are all correct, just adding a bit from my experience ��

    It is a fascinating topic, and i think its political too - although i understand if its moved from here to the history forum -

    What i would say is that obviously the GDR would have had a sizable amount of people who supported their country. Some on Patriotic grounds. Some may have bought the propaganda - its worth noting that the Wall was frequently reffered to as being 'ANTI FACIST', the implication was that west germany was fairly right-wing, bordering on National socialist - various evidence was presented including several high ranking Wehrmacht officers in the west german army , and NATO! - ( if interested you should check this guy out, fascinating character, pay special attention to his funeral https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Ulrich_Rudel - these type of instances sometimes fueled the idea that West Germany was effectively the 4th reich)

    Moving on, those supporters of the GDR may well miss it, and i deeply sympathize. But i would suspect that their feeling of a lack of prospects may have related to a refusal to adapt to changing circumstances in Germany - and when this minority of GDR Loyalists, find themselves in an expanded Unified WEST GERMANY, they may well have been disappointed - a minority became an even smaller minority

    In defense of the west, West Germany actually triggered a recession on itself, in order to absorb East Germany. They actually offered parity 1:1 for east German mark, in order to immediately improve the situation in the east. I cant imagine a country inflicting a recession on itself for a more noble reason (brexiteers frequently claim that if Brexit triggers a recession it will be worth it - usually this triggers me to fume, sit down and have a glass of scotch)

    The romanticizing of past eras is something that always tends to happen. Russians talk highly of stalin in some circles, Mao, - its not necessarily a good or bad thing - at least until theres a march praising the stasi, then we will have to see!

    Sic semper tyrannis - thus always to Tyrants



  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,803 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    Perhaps the correct question is whether a democratic East Germany could have survived for an interim period, with a more gradual pace of transition and reform before reunification - certainly, the original demonstrators (Neues Forum) were open to such a perspective, and global leaders didn't envisage the timescale that ultimately transpired, but perhaps the speed of events was uncontrollable.


Advertisement