Nationalism in the Second German Unification
When the Berlin Wall fell on the night of 9 November 1989, the spontaneous delight of Berliners (and indeed of people watching on television screens across the world) was tempered, in some quarters, by fears of a resurgent German nationalism. The prospect of a strong, united Germany capable once again of dominating European affairs aroused emotions and evoked memories among some observers that had been dormant through the years of frozen stability in Cold War division and détente. Yet, as I shall argue below, nationalism was not a driving force in the second German unification. Indeed, for a long period nationalism was remarkably absent from the historical stage. When it was re-appropriated (to the surprise of some observers) as an acceptable political idiom, it was generally restrained, surrounded by sensitivities, and in its most radical form restricted only to small if active minorities. This essay follows the template of ‘anticipations’, ‘processes’ and ‘responses’ outlined in the introduction to this volume. Thus it explores the role (or lack of it) of nationalism prior to 1989; the role of nationalism (or lack of it) in the processes of regime collapse in the summer and autumn of 1989; and finally the emergence and role of variants of nationalism in the course of the period of transition from November 1989 to October 1990.
KeywordsEurope Nited Cond Stake Meta Phor
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