posts 16 - 30 of 34
babypluto9
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

30 Years After Unification

I think many factors play into why Germany isn’t cohesive. Starting with the embedded stereotypes, the East is seen as less than the West. Of course it isn’t just how the West views the East, it’s stated that much of the East isn’t as developed compared to the West's standards. Along with this, the East has less annual income and lower property cost. These basic separations can show why the East can think they’re second class citizens. Diving deeper into the cultural aspects, the East has less representation in much of Germany. There is only 1 player on the national soccer team which has origins from the East and the low amount of governmental representation from the East shows a bias towards the West. These stereotypes and positioning in which the East hold, push them back in their standing as citizens. I believe that much of the stereotypes and the somewhat institutionalized discrimination towards the East plays a cruical role in the incoheisveness of Germany.


Some areas around the world which I can use to help me understand this situation are: North vs South Vietnam, Democrats vs Republicans, and Coast vs Mid America. From North vs South Vietnam, I know there are a lot of stereotypes and unspoken internalized hate for each other which seem similar to the cultural aspect of Germany. Democrats vs Republicans in America have 2 major opposing views, much like the far right and left issues which Germany is currently facing. This is the same for Coastal America and Middle America. These 2 regions of America have drastically different ideologies and standards, much like the separate areas in Germany.


In my opinion, I think the most interesting thing is to see how the relations between East and West Germany develop over the next 30 more years. From the video linked, it seems that most of Germany wants to move towards a more understanding and equal Germany, regardless of what age or race was interviewed. Because of this and the drastic difference between most Germans want for understanding and some Americas want for separation, I think this is going to be interesting to see. The differences between America and Germany in the next 30 years will be very interesting to see and compare.

bebe
Posts: 6

Unification from Assimilation

Before starting, I would like to say how excited I am to be able to take part in this unique opportunity given to us by Mr. Schirmer. I am very excited to learn more about German history and culture, and hear a new perspective on our lives in America.

I was very happy and grateful to read this prompt about Germany, because as an American, it is so easy to get into the closed mindset of believing we are the only country with any relevant history and current events. I of course had heard of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but unfortunately that is about it. We were meant to cover it in the AP Modern World History curriculum last year, but unfortunately due to the COVID 19 pandemic resulting in schools being shut down, we did not get to it.

In my rather ignorant view of Germany, I only see and envision one country. Part of that is due to the fact that I was not alive during the unification of the two countries, and also because of the very U.S. centric history and even geography I had been taught. I was really interested when reading about the very clear disparity between the East and West parts of Germany. I did not know how much more affluent the west was compared to the east. I also really liked what the students said about the East Germans feeling like “second class citizens”, even just because of media portrayal and stereotypes about where they live. This made me reflect on the United States itself, and how the much bigger and wealthier cities are located on the coast. Living in Boston, I have never been to any seriously central or midwestern country, and when I think about the great feats in our country and about the places I would like to travel to, I always think about the coast. @BLStudent makes the connection that even the infrastructure is incredibly different all around the country. I had never really put this together, but hearing about a physical difference in Germany allowed me to make this connection.

This then led me into thinking about what contributes to not only the unification, but also the assimilation of a country or nation. I would like to learn more about how the German students perceive the two sides of their country. I also want to know if, living in west Germany, if they think they have any preconceived biases about those in east Germany.

Not only did I learn about the physical geographical differences among Germany, but also of the rising political tension. This immediately reminded me of America. We are currently living 27 days before the most crucial election in our history, and the Republican and Democratic party could not seem any more different. Hearing about the Neo-Natzis and right-wing extremists who are anti covid really burst the bubble for me that the U.S. was the only country having these incredible problems. For a moment, I felt relieved that we were not alone in experiencing this, but that immediately turned to more fear about the current state of the world.

The obstacles dominating the headlines of American newspapers do not seem to be all that different than those in Germany. @Speedyninja made an insightful comment about unification, and how it can not be achieved with one day of celebration, but needs to be worked on over years. This is something that Americans need to take to heart.


squirrelluver123
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Is 30 Years Really That Long?

First, I want to say thank you to the students at Reuchlin Gymnasium for inviting us to participate in this discussion!

Growing up I knew almost nothing about the division that impacted so much of Germany’s history. It was not until we started learning about it at school over the past few years that I began to understand the significance of this division between east and west Germany. It is fascinating to think about how different Germany is from where it was 30 years ago. For us as highschoolers, 30 years seems like a long time but in reality it is not that long. I also find it really interesting that there are still so many people who were born in or grew up in the GDR that are still alive today. From an outsider's perspective, it seems amazing how reunified Germany is after being separated for so long. In his speech, President Steinmeier’s attitude seemed optimistic. I thought it was interesting that he said that Germany has not come as far as it should have in 30 years, but it has also come further than people think. I thought it was a really interesting idea. Even after reunification, you can not expect change to happen overnight. It takes a long time for people to get used to new ways of life, and even more to rebuild relationships and government. In some ways 30 years is a long time for this to happen, but in a lot of ways it is not. I think that Germany’s accomplishments since reunification have been inspiring for other countries across the world.

It is also really interesting to think about the differences between the east and the west that still exist today. People lived very differently in the east and west, and it would be hard to adjust to life after reunification. Even while travelling through Berlin the remains of the wall are very prominent, and it is really interesting to notice the differences between what used to be the west and the east. I found it understandable that some people in Germany still feel the division between east and west, and that there are still cultural barriers between those originally from the east and those from the west. What I was a little surprised by was that some people from East Germany face discrimination because of where they come from, and that there are negative stereotypes that people place on East Germans.

I think that Germany’s model of reunification is important for a lot of countries to look at, especially the US. Right now our country is extremely divided in our beliefs. Like in Germany, some of our divisions come from where we live in the country. As @iluvcows said, there are so many different regions in the US and each has different beliefs and cultures that can create a division between people from different parts of the country. You can never have a country or group of people in which everyone completely agrees and shares the same beliefs. But it is important to at least create a country that treats everyone equally and gives everyone the same opportunities, no matter what they look like or where they come from.

lurando
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

The German Divide and the American Divide

Hello, welcome, and thank you to all the Reuchlin students and Mr. Schirmer! I greatly hope that your time with us will end up as a worthwhile time for you, as I’m sure it will be for us.


Like many others before in this thread, I know minimal information about Germany’s history, and I didn’t even know about the Berlin wall until today. The information about German reunification and the details about German history from Steinmeier’s speech were things that I didn’t really know before.


I’m a big believer in looking towards history to explain how and why the current circumstances in society are how it is right now, and the differences in socioeconomic status, prestige, privilege, and opportunities between West Germany and East Germany are no different. The split came to be because of the different zones that Russia, France, Britain, and America were occupying at the time. However, as the Cold War progressed, it readily divided into a Soviet sector and a Western sector, and it turns out that in the Soviet sector, life was much harsher and under more dire conditions. Ethnicity-wise, they were all Germans, yet life was so different from East Germans than West Germans that to me it seemed like they’re basically living in separate worlds. So, aside from the literal meaning of being a German, what specifically makes a German a German?


On a different note, it really is so interesting to see different nations around the world producing similar results from being split into two distinct regions due to two very different nations presiding over them. Alongside @thesnackthatsmilesback and @speedyninja’s example of Vietnam, North Korea and South Korea is also a very big example.


After listening to President Steinmeier’s speech, it was clear that he was obviously very patriotic and proud of his country and of his fellow Germans. A couple things that stood out to me was that even though he has a high opinion of his country, he still clearly acknowledged the imbalances and shortcomings present in Germany, and I want to say that I was surprised likely because my standards of a good President became abysmally low after hearing the current U.S. President and other people around the President actively brushing important issues under the rug, outright denying them, or even enabling them. However, like @Fruit Snacks said, I’m sure there are plenty more complex reasons behind the disparities between Germans from East Germany and Germans from West Germany in addition to the fact that perhaps the achievements in East Germany are outliers and not necessarily a good representation of how it is as a whole, but I disagree that he was condescending. From how I interpreted it, it felt like he was merely just over-focusing on the positives - the unification, the diversity, the democracy, the freedom, and the passionate civic engagement that current Germany has achieved (though I would love to hear from our German students whether or not you disagree with his sentiments) - rather than going more depth in the issues. I think it’s mostly because since he was delivering this speech on the Day of German Unity, it makes sense to make this speech be inspiring rather than be dampening.


As @BLStudent, @BlueWhale24, @iluvcows, and @Cookie Monster mentioned before me, each place in the U.S. differs heavily in attitudes and even culture. The differences in thinking don’t just differ by the South, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West Coast however, even towns and suburbs within each state might have wildly different views than each other. It’s all about the historical reasoning for why certain ideas are more prevalent than others. Almost all states benefited heavily from slavery, hence why racism was such an ingrained ideology back then, why politicians and those with wealth/power were so eager to pass laws strengthening it, and why remnants of it still remain today. Not only was it a political and economic system, it was also a social system and a coping mechanism. The same thing could also be said for other historically marginalized groups. However, as we advance into the modern age, America becomes more and more diverse and more people come in contact with other identities, perspectives, backgrounds, and values. This is much more pronounced in big cities, where in a lot of cases the population is actually minority-majority. In suburbs and in rural areas, it tends to be much less diverse, with less immigrants coming in and less migration happening. Many Americans do not travel out of their region, so more often than not they’re really just living in a bubble where the types of people surrounding them also share the exact same attitudes. I recently discovered the American Exchange Project, which is an initiative that aims to break that bubble. It’s pretty exciting living in this day and age where modern technology can allow awesome opportunities that couldn’t have happened before.
orangedino
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

It's hard to think that East Germany is still negatively impacted 30 years after it was reunified with West Germany. Although people have done almost everything in their power to boost East Germany's economy and employment rates, West Germany still has a a better economy and a lower unemployment rate.

I think that the regional differences between East and West Germany are interesting. In the U.S. we have regional differences, but in Germany, some of their regional differences came about because of Germany being divided into four different parts, and then eventually just two parts. Having that division makes the regional differences even more obvious.

Noodles
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 8

Tag Der Deutschen Einheit. America, take note

Zuerst möchte ich hallo zu den Schüler(innen) von Reuchlin-Gymnasium sagen.


I knew a lot about the Berlin Wall and of Tag Der Deutschen Einheit from past courses and from talking to my relatives in Germany about their experiences with the Mauerfall. But one thing that struck out from the video that I had not previously known was the continuing divide amongst East and West Germans, and the stereotypes of Ossis and Wessis. I had thought that, after the wall had come down and Germany reunited, the divisions amongst the people had ceased as families were reunited after nearly 30 years of being separated. Yet, even though Germany is one united country now, many Germans have different experiences depending on if they grew up in East or West Germany, ones that still affect how they view the world. After the wall came down, West Germany was flooded by East Germans fleeing the communist state, all receiving aid from the West German government as the East German currency no longer held any value. Some West Germans might have grown resentment for the East Germans, thinking that they were benefiting from West German labor, hence the stereotypes of Ossis being lazy. And so, as the wall went down and the country physically became united, there was still a schism with how East and West Germans viewed themselves and their roles in a new, united Germany.

There is also a schism in the US, regional identities divided between the Coastal and Northern states and the Southern States. Although united under one country, each region is vastly different because of its political and cultural beliefs, to a point where, as @lurando pointed out, many Americans don’t travel to states that don’t hold the same political views as they do. Similar to the dispute and stereotypes of the Ossis and Wessis, Northerners would be seen as bleeding heart liberals and elitists who want to control politics, while the Southerners would be seen as conservative, uneducated 2nd class citizens. And while these stereotypes do not hold up in actuality, there is so much political divide in this country that it often dictates where people live, as Democrats and liberals typically move to the Northeast or West Coast, while Conservatives and Republicans tend to live in the Midwest or South.

After reading President Steinmeier’s speech, I realized how proud he is of his country for being so diverse, and of his fellow Germans for being able to live peacefully together. This stood out to me the most because I believe that this is needed in America, the ability to live symbiotically with one another. Lately there has been too much divide over the topic of COVID, especially over what actions need to be taken and people refusing to wear masks. But, as @Speedyninja pointed out, Germany wasn’t able to unite in just one day, it takes time to come together and bridge the gap between different regions. This is what America needs in order to survive.

kurapika
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 5

Unity in the States and Germany

Firstly, I would like to welcome Mr. Schirmer and the Reuchlin students and thank you for allowing us to participate in a very interesting conversation!


As with many of my classmates, I knew very little about East/West division in Germany until a few years ago. My knowledge so far has been limited to what has been taught and discussed in our history classrooms here at BLS, so reading the provided material was interesting as I learned new things on a topic I was rather unfamiliar with.


I was impressed with President Steinmeier’s speech. His comments on unity and communication were refreshing and I liked how he said those values should be particularly upheld considering the circumstances of this pandemic. Something that was also refreshing to see is how he addressed and recognized issues in his country. Like @ ernest, I am impressed with how well the German government has recongnized and dealt with Germany’s past and how they have learned from their history in order to better their country. This is strange to me, considering how the United States has been very reluctant to address our own wrongs in the past, like institutionalized racism. I believe the United States can learn a lot from Germany’s government.


It is also interesting to see how discrimination presents itself in a different country. In the United States, discrimination is very connected to ideas of race and personal identity so it suprised me to see that there is discrimination (especially between white people) based on where you live. I know that different areas in a country will look down at one another-- examples that come to mind in our country are the divides between the North v. the South, coastal cities versus the midwest and East Coast v. West Coast. But these differences are not things that come to mind when one brings up the idea of discrimination in our country. Like @babypluto9, I think that it will be interesting to see how Germany is in the next 30 years. I agree with their view that since (most of) Germany is willing to move towards a more equal Germany, it will be interesting to compare it to America in 30 years.


wisteria
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

An outsider's first impression on German unification

I knew next to nothing about recent German history until now, and so I was very interested in each of these resources. Like @bebe mentioned, last year we missed out on a significant portion of modern world history that included a lot of these events. Even if we had studied them, I doubt we would’ve gotten such an in depth look on the citizen’s thoughts like this video and speech offer. I was surprised to see all the parallels between American history and all that has transpired in Germany in the last 30 years.

I’ve always known about the existence of the Berlin wall and how it was so divisive, but I never really understood just how different life was on either side of it. In the west, the Federal Republic of Germany was able to prosper under a democratic government during Wirtschaftwunder, but the East struggled under the Soviet Union’s oppressive control. Not only was their mobility cut off by the wall, but many basic freedoms were restricted. The results of the economic decline can still be seen today, as most of the businesses and other profitable institutions are located in the West. Now that the East has begun to recover and the two become more unified, it’s interesting to see which elements of socialism they kept. For example, the president’s speech mentioned “so-called environmental libraries, round tables, civic participation, local medical care for all, childcare and – not to forget – special insights as regards East-Central Europe”.

Cultural disparities between the formerly socialist East Germany and capitalist West Germany were alluded to throughout the video as citizens listed various stereotypes, like Ossis being branded as “penny-pinchers” or even racists. This all sounded very familiar to me, as in America we have a similar dynamic between the North and the South. Although most of the jokes and comments we might make are based in real facts observed in the media or history, they are also the result of stereotypes and generalizations. As Ms. Freeman said, we rarely interact with the perspectives of people living in different regions across the country, and that is partly due to the divisive assumptions we make. It’s important to remember that where one lives doesn’t automatically determine their moral compass or political beliefs, but there are definitely some noticeable patterns here in America. There are many programs seeking to increase communication between these regions, like the American Exchange Project. Hopefully we can use the media for this as well, but people have to make the conscious choice to listen first.

One line from the speech that really resonated with me was when President Steinmeier mentioned how there are people in Germany who “always search for answers to questions of the future only by looking to the past”, including some who wave flags from the German Empire or the imperial war. In America we too have a problem of certain groups of people flying flags that are little more than remnants from an unsavory regime that no longer exists.

Another line that stood out to me was “stories from eastern Germany have not as naturally become part of our common history, of our shared identity”. As some of my classmates pointed out already, this seems very similar to how minority stories and experiences have been largely overlooked when it comes to writing American history. It’s easy for this to get swallowed up by the “winner’s” story, although it seems like Germany is much more willing to confront the dark parts of its past than many American leaders are. Our institutions still bear the scars of centuries of slavery and segregation, which only ended in the last century. East Germany’s situation is very different, but it’s still very uplifting to see so much progress has been made in just 30 years as social and economic unity continue to grow.

ithinkitscauseofme
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 8

The "United" States

First off - Hello to our new German friends! We are so happy to be able to learn with you - thanks for this interesting assignment!

What surprises me most about the reunification of Germany is how much of it happened due to a mistake made at a press conference. Most of what I was taught about the reunification was focused on “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” (what a surprise that I was taught an overly USA-centric version of history), and barely discussed the successful peaceful protests and the humanity that eventually overcame hatred. Did it, though, overcome hatred? From this video it certainly seems that it did not. I find the current differences between East and West Germany very interesting, and similar to the North and South of the U.S. Although the US Civil War ended with a united country, there are still vast political differences between the two regions, many of which stem from their respective beliefs in that war hundreds of years ago.

National cohesion is a big idea, and a somewhat scary one too. I think that a nation that is too similar lacks an important diversity of ideas that can lead to positive and productive change. But, I think a nation with very little cohesion, such as the US right now, causes the pendulum to swing in the other direction and not get anything done. I think national cohesion stems from differing beliefs never leading to questioning the value of another human being. People can disagree on things while still agreeing that all humans are worthy of respect, and I think shared core beliefs can create a cohesive nation.

For me it is really hard to understand some regional identities. I am culturally Christian, but not actually religious at all, and so understanding teens from Texas who base their lives around their faith is hard for me because I have no context for it. Understanding why 17 year olds in Arizona are really into shooting is never going to be something I can truly understand because I did not grow up with it. That is why I think diverse ideas should be introduced to children from a young age, so that although they may not understand all the details of their peer’s lives, they still think those lives are valid.

dxaoko
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

Germany's Unification: The Parallels

Hello to all the Reuchlin-Gymnasium students! Thank you to Mr. Schirmer as well for allowing us to speak with the students on the topic of Germany’s reunification anniversary. Hearing about another country’s history and their people’s experiences is very eye-opening and interesting to hear on how they perceive politics, so I hope to learn more through this interaction.


As I read President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s speech held in Potsdam, what struck me the most about the reunification must’ve been his direct approach with addressing Germany’s wrongdoings in the past. It is such a clear contrast to the U.S. and refreshing to hear a political leader being more open to realistic ideas without being so far-fetched or unreliable. I believe that it was especially prominent in his speech when he mentioned that even now, Germany is not yet completely unified due to the disparities between the East and the West, in regards to wages, employment, living standards, etc. Another aspect that I wanted to bring up was the span of time since the process of reunification was done: thirty years. It was especially shocking to hear that, because change is constant but huge impacts take generations to see. More specifically, the transition of several East Germans to the West was where I made the most parallels to the U.S., because of the split in ideals as well as the discrimination they face, especially being called “penny-pinchers” and being labeled rather unfavorably. Changing their political ideals to be capitalist rather than socialist was a rather big step as they were given more choice to be individualist and get accustomed to state property becoming their property. However, in terms of capitalist reform occurring in the East, as @Cookie Monster has stated, I do believe that it was a decision in which after several people have moved to the East due to the fall of the Berlin Wall, where the job to demand ratio was unbalanced. Thus, there is quite a disconnect between the East and the West because one lacks proper resources needed from the government, which may be enforcing the East’s view of themselves as “second-class citizens”.


Personally, the cohesion of a nation is affected by the willingness to communicate with others, to prevent the mentality of “the other” from existing, and to ensure that everyone’s viewpoint is validated and reflected in politics. Once there is no longer communication present in a relationship, discourse and argument are bound to happen and will often lead into a split of some sort. Thus, it is important to reach a consensus and not take anyone’s perspective in ignorance. In comparison to Germany, the United States is split in so many aspects. Like @Iurando said, racism is so deeply ingrained in the roots of our country that the same discrimination lives on, seen through the economic, social, and moral injustices so prevalent as of now. Diversity is supposed to be celebrated, yet values such as individualism, although not problematic in its own sense, becomes troublesome when it deprives the people of being able to take initiative, carry out civic responsibilities, or even risk others’ safety during the current times of a pandemic.


Reunification for Germany was a significant turning point in which constant change was able to occur, and for the better, whether it be through actions to actually unite the country or even as simple as directly addressing what needs to be done and what will happen for the betterment of the future. In that regard, I hope the United States will be able to initiate a positive change of that nature as well.

anonymous13
Posts: 1

I think that the history of a country is very important when it comes to cohesion among the citizens. It lays the foundation of how each person in a state considers himself and others. Whether they feel connected with each other (as a result of a revolution for example, in which everyone – or at least the majority– fought side by side) or if they never really felt like ONE nation due to being divided into two, like Germany was.

However, I was very surprised to hear, that people living in the east feel like they are less worth than western citizens. I never thought that, after 30 years, they would still be disadvantaged in any ways. For me, it always felt like Germany had never been divided because when I was born, there was no wall and I never really got in touch with anyone living in the east and if so, I wouldn´t have noticed anything but maybe that this person would talk with a funny accent.

But obviously there are still prejudices and negative impressions people here in the west have when it comes to East-Germany. As I grew older I in fact noticed little things people here said, that might have showed me that many still do remember that wall and a divided Germany. For example, at some birthday party of one of my relatives I overheard a group of my uncles and aunts talk about the refugee policy. And in the middle of the conversation I heard one say: We once did a pretty good job at accepting a large number of refugees, so why wouldn´t we be able to do it again?

Back then I didn´t understand what he had meant but now it is very clear that he was talking about all of the people coming to the west after the fall of the wall. So, I notice now that my relatives didn´t think of the eastern regions as “equal”, as people with a past and culture of their one, as Germans just like them, but rather as people in need that came here because they wanted to live a better life. Which of course in some way is true but there was still a lack of understanding and openness.

Needless to say, that citizens living in east Germany also seem to have them when it comes to “us” in the west and our mentality as you could see in the video clip.

In order to get rid of all this ignorance, we – and I mean Germans on both “sides” – have to inform ourselves and start being open to traditions and customs from other regions within Germany. I think that that is important and essential to create a feeling of cohesion among us.

FANBOY
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

Bringing Together West and West

The 30 years of reunification is really beautiful to see. After reading what happened between the East and the West I can see why Germany celebrates every year. The falling of the Berlin wall must’ve been beautiful to see. West and East Germany can finally be one country again. This all sounds great in writing but Germany today, there's still a disconnect between the people born in the West and the people born in the East. There are still labels attached to each group that are not necessarily true. Easy Germans are sometimes labeled as cheap, and West Germans are sometimes labeled as square or distant. Each group is German yet, one group gets more attention then the other. The West side of Germany was prospering economically way longer than the East Germans were. The East Germans were forced by the Soviets to have a worse quality of life, so its really sad to see that East Germans aren’t doing as well as the West Germans, because they weren’t given a chance to do better. The German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier acknowledged these problems and is working to do better for his country. He sees the troubles of the East Germans, and is addressing them head on. He wants a better Germany for tomorrow and that is beautiful to see in a leader. Unlike the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who sees Amercians struggle and he stands by and watches. Our president is ignoring our problems, but yours is facing them, which is amazing to see. And in America we can somewhat relate to these struggles of two groups where one group has been doing better than the other for decades. American minorities aren’t given a fair chance at doing better either. They also have many negative stereotypes attached to them, and aren’t doing as well as white Americans. But seeing Germans trying to work together shows promise for a better future in Germany.

Heyyou
Ingolstadt , Bavaria , DE
Posts: 2

There shouldn’t be differences

Different regions in Germany have their own dialect and culture, that’s for sure. And this makes a diversity that is important and also unavoidable with our history. The culture unites people and creates closeness. But it also separates people of different regions in Germany. The language is a big problem, I think. Most people in the north of Germany don’t understand the Bavarian language and the other way around.
But there aren’t just this obvious differences. I was really surprised when I heard that there are lower wages in the east than in the west of Germany or that the people think of themselves as “second class citizens”. When our class visited Berlin and Weimar, which are located in the east, I didn’t recognised any differences like that between this cities and the big cities in Bavaria. But I have to say that we didn’t really had the chance to talk to local people about these things.
In my opinion there shouldn’t be any differences like this between west and east because we are one united country and nobody should be disadvantaged just because of the region he or she lives in.

Sippycup
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Regional Differences: Unification of Germany

Some topics that really stuck out to me were the economic imbalances between East and West Germany and President Steinmeier’s attitude in his speech.

In German class, I had learned about how the Cold War tremendously affected the East and West sides of Germany, causing both to undergo political, economic, and social changes. Although the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the affects are still present in both countries. The people in the East get less wages, more unemployment, and overall feel lower than those in the West. These inequalities are apparent to most Germans in the East and they express much frustration since they would be stereotyped. Connecting this with the United States, it’s interesting how this also happens here. Like @iluvcows said, the US has so many regions and each region has an invisible barrier. With each region comes with their own cultures. Most of the time, the South is seen as an underdeveloped, underfunded, uneducated, racist, and socially behind region based on the stereotypes people have made after they lost the Civil War.

In order to stay as a cohesive nation, I believe that the leaders should make an effort to address these problems and start these conversations with their people. In Steinmeier’s speech, I was surprised that he was able to bring up these topics and had much passion into solving these problems that were affecting Germany and wasn’t afraid to get backlash. I agree with @cherryblossom, that America needs to follow his footsteps. We need to address our problems as a nation instead of avoiding them. However it does comes down to who leads the country. While Germany has Angela Merkel as Chancellor, who is also a chemist, and Steinmeier, who appears to be a very humble president, we have a bigoted President Donald Trump who is trying to cause more turmoil to the American people.

In our Facing History class, we talked about how most of us lived in Boston for a large portion of our lives and have made the most experiences in Boston. I found it interesting that even the people who were born in another state or even another country still has a bias towards Boston and that our city has played a big part in our political views. If we were to travel more often, to different parts of the country such as the Midwest or the South, we could experience how they live everyday and see why they believe the things they do. After all, no one is born to have a certain view, everyone is shaped by their environment.

zooweemama
Posts: 6

German unification 30 years later

I don’t know much about Germany but I found this very interesting. What most fascinated me was 30 years after the country unified, people within the country still consider it to be divided. In the video, it was mentioned that the East has higher unemployment rates and lower paying jobs but the cost of living there is much lower than in the West. This is comparable to the United States where in the South the minimum wage is much lower than it is in the North but the cost of living is much cheaper than in the North. In the president’s speech he acknowledges this by saying “We have by no means come as far as we should have. But at the same time we are much further along than we think”. I think it’s important that the president recognizes this and is not glorifying the circumstances. He knows they have more work to do and will continue to work on becoming a more equal nation together. Our president doesn’t clearly acknowledge the racism in our country nor does he say what he’s going to do to prevent this in the future. This helps the citizens confide in their president in Germany because the president is being honest with them, unlike here where we are told many lies from those in higher positions. I enjoyed learning about the unification of Germany a lot because I actually don’t know much about this country but I definitely look forward to learning more!

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