Changing Aspects of National Identity in Germany

  • Bettina Westle


At first glance, the question of whether East and West Germans have developed different national identities may seem to be answered by the overall support for German unification. This impression has been reinforced by first results from empirical research in both parts of Germany, which showed a great similarity of attitudes and provoked the question of whether 40 years of separation in fundamentally different political, economic and social systems really could have had no effect on people’s political orientations. In the following we try to identify similarities and differences in the collective political orientations of East and West Germans in 1990.


Political System National Identity Political Support Political Community Political Legitimacy 
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  1. 1.
    The following studies have been used for analyses: Studie zur VoAcskanunerwahl in March 1990 (Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, 1/90), and zur Wahl in den neuen BundeslBndern in September/October 1990 (Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, 2/90), both in the GDR, by the Forschungsgruppe Wahlen e.V., Mannheim; our own questions have been implemented in these studies by the Lehrstuhl für Politische Wissenschaft und International Vergleichende Sozialforschung (IVS); Study of the Forschungsgruppe zur gesellschaftlichen Entwicklung, Mannheim, in April/May 1990 after the Volkskammerwahl in the DDR, implemented in the GDR and in the FRG; representative surveys in the FRG in 1985/86 und 1989 from the projekt A-7 ‘Welfare aspirations’ of the Sonderforschungsbereich 3 ‘Mikroanalytische Grundlagen des Gesellschaftspolitik’ (Sfb 3 A-7); publications of the monthly Politbarometer by the Forschungsgruppe Wahlen.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Overviews of data on subjective relevance, perceived chances of realization and support of unification in the FRA are to be found in Kaase (1989), Herbert and Wildenmann 1990, Szumi, Lichtleitner and Bauske (1990) and Jansen (1990).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The following factor analyses for the GDR population are not shown in the table (see Westle 1991): distributions of additional indicators for the factor and correlation analyses are shown in publications of the Forschungsgruppe Wahlen (1990b,c).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Ralf Rytlewski 1993

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  • Bettina Westle

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