After 40 years of division, the unification of the two German states was rapid and complete: in just 329 days, from the breaching of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 to the formal act of unity on 3 October 1990, the territory of the German Democratic Republic was incorporated into the constitutional, social and economic order of the Federal Republic. Even before formal unification was achieved, however, the problems involved in securing the integration of the two societies were becoming apparent. The years following have served to clarify the scale and nature of the challenge: economic devastation in the East defied quick and easy solutions, the receptiveness of the East German people to the values of liberal democracy was uncertain, and the fulfilment of national aspirations opened up several questions about the identity of the ‘new’ nation. These are just some of the central issues examined in this volume which provides a systematic account of the process of unification and its internal and external implications.
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