"Wall peckers" in Berlin, 10 November 1989. People started tearing down the Berlin Wall on their own. Official demolition began at Potsdamer Platz in November 1989, and continued from 20 February 1990 between the Brandenburg Gate and the border post at Checkpoint Charlie.
kaynak: Bundesregierung/Uwe Rau

Unification – yes or no? When and how?

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The slogans at demonstrations in the GDR changed towards the end of November 1989. Increasingly, people were demanding unification as the way to democracy and prosperity. Some civil rights activists, however, saw democratisation of the GDR as the precondition for German unification. Others, like supporters of the appeal "For Our Country" issued on 26 November 1989, wanted to retain the GDR as an independent state. They were afraid of being taken over by the West, and urged a "socialist alternative" to West Germany. 

There were also opponents of unification in West Germany, who warned against nationalistic German megalomania and freebooting capitalism. A clause in the Federal Republic's Basic Law called on the German people "to complete the unity and freedom of Germany in free self-determination". 

Initially, rapid reunification was not the aim of West Germany's policy: in late November 1989 federal chancellor Helmut Kohl proposed a ten-point plan for a gradual convergence process. West German politicians were subject to growing pressure from the population when they visited the GDR. By late January 1990 concrete plans for rapid reunification were in motion. 

Demonstrators were increasingly calling for German unification. After the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, reunification became the main issue in chants and on banners, as shown here in Plauen on 2 December 1989.
kaynak: Gunnar Tessarczyk/Plauen
On 3 December 1989 large numbers of GDR citizens, like those shown here in Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin, took to the streets with the slogan "For Our Country". In early December 1989 demonstrators staged candle-lit processions, some in support of German reunification, and some against.
kaynak: Gunnar Tessarczyk/Plauen
Demonstration in East Berlin on 10 December 1989 calling for immediate introduction of democratic reforms in the GDR
kaynak: Hans-Peter Stiebing
Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl speaking in Dresden, 19 December 1989. In winter 1989 large sections of the GDR population enthusiastically welcomed West German politicians. At the end of 1989 the West German government made further financial aid dependent on the progress of reforms in the GDR.
kaynak: picture-alliance/Sven Simon
Sceptics of fast-track unification, like those here in Leipzig on 29 January 1990, saw social changes in West Germany as equally crucial in creating a united Germany, alongside the democratisation of the GDR.
kaynak: Gerhard Gäbler/Leipzig
East German SPD party conference in Leipzig, 22-25 February 1990: Oskar Lafontaine, minister president of Saarland and West German SPD chancellor candidate, spoke against over-hasty reunification, arguing that it would be difficult mainly for economic and social reasons.
kaynak: Bundesarchiv/183-1990-0223-029/Wolfgang Kluge
In West Germany, opponents of unification, particularly from left-wing political circles, expressed fears about a revival of nationalistic German megalomania.
kaynak: Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
The initiators of the appeal “For Our Land” evoked the founding myths of the GDR, referring back to the country‘s “socialist and humanist ideals”. When the state SED party supported the appeal and made itself its mouthpiece, the majority of the signatories from the civil rights movement dissociated themselves from it.
kaynak: Neues Deutschland, 29.11.1989
This leaflet of 1 December 1989 from Democratic Awakening, New Forum and the Social Democratic Party agreed with the goal of reuniting Germany, but stressed that unification should be seen as a long-term process.
kaynak: Archiv Bürgerbewegung Leipzig
People all over the GDR wrote letters, talking of the hopes they placed in German unity; at the same time they criticised sections of the civil rights movement for hesitating over reunification. Extract from a letter to New Forum, Plauen, 14 December 1989.
kaynak: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
Leaflet from the civil rights group Democracy Now, March 1990.
kaynak: Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig
In West Germany, opponents of unification, particularly from left-wing political circles, expressed fears about a revival of nationalistic German megalomania.
kaynak: Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
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