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Germany in WW2
Cold War
History of Germany

What caused the east and west Germany to unify?

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February 16, 2015 11:54PM

East Germany was one of the most repressive regimes in the Soviet bloc. They went to great measures to prevent their people from leaving and going to Western countries, especially West Germany. In 1989, Hungary's government decided to stop blocking their border with Austria (which was neutral, but bordered West Germany). So East Germans would go to Hungary, and then they could just slip across the border into Austria and then West Germany.

The people were able to see how bad the East German government was compared to the West, and major protests erupted in East Germany. The government finally broke the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, and allowed free transit to West Berlin and West Germany. Despite this, the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany ("Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands" in German, or SED for short) could not hang onto power, and virtually the entire government resigned overnight. The SED was no longer the sole, dominant party and a less authoritarian government was set up.

With the collapse, East and West almost immediately went into talks to formally reunify- these talks went surprisingly quick and smoothly. Less than a year after the Berlin Wall fell, Germany officially reunified on October 3, 1990, which is now a national holiday.

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December 22, 2014 1:00PM

The East German government in 1989 was financially bankrupt and unable to survive with the increased protests that led to the breaking of the Berlin Wall. As a result, West Germany annexed East Germany and assumed that government's debts, territory and citizens.