posts 16 - 30 of 32
Wardo
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Unification: 30 years later

Once again, hello Germany. When thinking about the cohesion of a nation two things come into mind, it's the people's willingness to be unified as well as the leader they are under. In a nation political views can rip apart the population, like the US right now. The extreme divide in support of the current president is shown throughout the media and is manifested in our everyday lives. As well as the people’s willingness to be unified, in the US right now there is a standoff of BLM protesters versus BlueLM protesters, and though BLM’s agenda is to create a better, safer environment for black people in the US, BlueLM is a direct response against this. That shows many of these people do not want to be united with BLM, and they are directly undermining what they stand for. However it is also very difficult to understand those that you have little contact with regionally. Like mentioned in the video, those considered Ossis still were looked and frowned upon although there was a barrier that was taken down. Just like in the US, the Northeastern Area, like New England and New York and more, are drastically different from the Southeastern region, though they are both on the east coast. The southern part of the east has a whole different dialect, accent, and way of life, which makes it difficult for the regions to relate culturally.

sizzles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Germany's Reunification

It was intriguing to hear the various perspectives on the reunification (and remnant division), in Germany. There are several parallels between German society and the US; both have historically and presently been reserving opportunities for a select few. It was easy to pick up that Ossi Germans felt a bit ostracized in their own country, even though they are approximately half of the population. I also understand why they would more likely reminisce over the old days (and embrace the alt-right), since even now they still do not have full access to the opportunities that Wessi Germans do. In the United States, many Southerners are resentful that their local industries are dying out, and that they are associated with racism. They cling to the past because they feel excluded from the future. Unlike the US, however, Germany is led by a president who wants to eradicate the current disparities in its government, and realizes that this is the only way that the country can move forward.

hero
Posts: 12

Germany's Politcal Situation

Hello to those from Germany. With all the hectic political things occuring in America as of late, it is nice to see and learn about the political and social issues of Germany. To start off, I agree with @yelloworchids and @goob on that the most surprising aspect of German history in the last thirty years was the fact that German unification was thirty years ago. I had always assumed that event occurred in the 70s or 80s. This may be due to the fact that we don’t really go in depth on the cold war in our history classes. Another thing I found interesting was that much like many other places that had division, like segregation in the USA and communism in Vietnam, it takes time for improvement and acceptance between two groups.


There are many factors that affect the cohesion of a nation. People unite more when they have something in common, or when they have similar interests. In terms of a nation, there needs to be a government in place that benefits everyone at a similar level. Furthermore, I agree with @20469154661 on the statement that every side should embrace each other’s differences. If people do that, people will understand each other and maybe sympathize with the adversities each side has gone through.


We can understand regional identities that we have little contact with by educating ourselves on their situation and sympathizing on the difficulties they go through. Once we sympathize, there may be people who will actually take action and try to help unite each other. In the United States, the country is geographically vast. However, with the many instances of racial inequality and police brutality over quarantine, that vastness did not stop people from all over the country to have led peaceful protests. This occurred in basically all cities and in many towns. Most people in America can’t understand the things black people go through, yet in the times of sorrow, people of all colors united under one message.

JGV
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

Together but Divided

Originally posted by anonymouse on October 08, 2020 16:14

There are certain stereotypes that remain for different groups of people, whether that is between East and West Germans, people from different regions of the U.S., or elsewhere. We normally form our opinions on people we have never met based on these stereotypes. Not truly understanding others leads to a political divide in a country. Living in the same country does not mean that everyone has to have the same mindset and ideas, but we need to learn from each other and accept those differences.

The most interesting part of the history from the past 30 years is that though the Berlin wall has been taken down and steps taken to unify the country there are still many lasting differences between the East and the West. For example, the way that the East has had to quickly adapt to a new form of economic system seems unrealistic because they had to make the jump from a socialist economy to capitalist. In the video the man explained that people were worried about losing their rp apartments due to rent increase since it was no longer owned by the government, but rather a private company/person. Trying to conceptualize such a quick change is hard because the United States has always been capitalist and with the way Americans are, I’m almost positive that we as a nation couldn’t adapt as quickly to a new system like those in East Germany did. President Steinmeier’s speech was pretty significant because it acknowledged that those people who support an older nationalist government and use the old flags only are causing division and oppose Democracy and progress. It is admirable for a president to call out those who oppose the unity of the republic, which is the opposite of what we see here in the States. Instead of speaking out on far-right dangerous groups, the president tells them to “stand by”. Though our two countries are vastly different an approach like President Steinmeier would genuinely bring people together. It's important that he acknowledged that there is a long way to go as well, because he’s saying that there are ways to improve unity amongst the East and West.


In the United States there are regional identities that impact our belief systems as well as our economy and way of living. My regional identity is both of the Northeast (New England) and East Coast. Often we see divisions in culture and beliefs with the Northern and Southern states as well as the East and Westcoasts. Everything from fashion, political beliefs, social dynamics and accent are distinguishable. However, we have been a mostly unified country, in that we’ve never been isolated from one side with a wall. I agree with @anonymouse in that stereotypes we have of other regions impact our perceptive of them. For example in our very liberal state, many people look down on more conservative states or even assume that all of southern US is conservative. This divides us on importatnt issues during elections and nationwide issues because we are unwilling to seek out similarites and instead reinforce the diferences and stereotypes.


Odinous
Boston, Massachusettes, US
Posts: 10

Given Time

It is unfortunate that in America we very rarely get to learn about the history of governments in other countries. I knew barely anything about German history or the current state of your country prior to this post. However, I found the video and article about the topic on German unification very interesting. In America as you may or may not know, our history of separation and reunification took place in the 19th century during the Civil War. We grew up knowing a unified country and there are barely any leftover effects compared to Germany today. The reunification of America has been largely forgotten and while there are still differences between the North and the South, over the years since the reunification, the effects and the alienation has lessened. However, the main difference is the time. Thirty years is not a very long time. This means that the majority of adults in Germany remember what a separated and unified Germany looks like. I think a very interesting aspect from the last thirty years is the nature of the reunification. There are many differences between the east and west in social status, unemployment, and governmental representation, leading to people in the east and west seeing each other with a certain distance. This is what I gathered from the video, and it seems like everyone who was interviewed saw that there was something missing in the cohesion of the nation. But, given time, based off America's experience, the mixing and cohesion will continue, and maybe whatever is missing will be found.

dennis12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Unification of Germany

I have never learned about the unification of Germany so it was very interesting to learn about why and how Germany was united and the impact it has left. I was very surprised about how uneducated I am about the history of Germany and I am glad that I have finally learned about this important piece of history because even after taking history classes all my academic career I felt at a loss with learning about Germany. I feel that this situation (from what I have learned so far) is very similar to American history, because both countries were divided which resulted in lots of conflicts with the people and still affects us today. The video talked about how many Germans still see racism with people looking down on “Ossis” and I feel America is also politically divided and many people of color who live in America experience racism frequently especially in the South. I also find it so interesting that Germany was only unified 30 years ago which means that many Germans were alive when they were separated which impacted how they view the unification.


I believe that the cohesion of a nation is brought together because of common interests and if they are experiencing the same fear. With Germany, the East was afraid of never being able to see the West again so they all crossed the border at midnight because they were afraid. If we all try to empathize with the other side of something, we would be able to understand their emotions and fears and ultimately we would all be more accepting. I also agree with @yelloworchids when they talk about how Germany has done a better job with accepting their past mistakes while America has not done well with accepting horrible events in history. I read Bryon Stevenson’s book “Just Mercy”, and he talked about how Germany has banned the death penalty because with their past events of the Holocaust they thought it would be too cruel to put any more German people to death because of their history. America also has a very cruel history such as enslaving and lynching of African Americans and putting Japanese Americans into camps after the events of Pearl Harbor but everyone says we must “move on” from these events because “it doesn’t affect us anymore” or “it isn’t our fault”. So I believe that Germany does a much better job of trying to accept the past by acknowledging the racism that the unification has created.

eastbostonsavingsbank
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Unification of Germany

I think it's crazy that the unification was only 30 years ago. My sense of time isn't very good and I keep forgetting that my parents were in their early twenties, not too much older than me for an event that changed history as we know it. I know that the division was horrible between East and West Germany, and I know that at some point Berlin was divided into quadrants and is still recovering from the divide today. Almost similar to how the USA is divided today, Germany was divided based on the extreme communist views and values. I am honestly not surprised that they are still issues between the East and West, as issues that once held for years on end don't just resolve overnight. It may be similar to how separated the Northeast and Southeast of the USA are after the Civil War 150 years later. I have been to Germany as a child but was too young to absorb the political divide that I still barely understand today, but I would like to go now and see the political climate and views from both sides.

iloveikeafood
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 17

"Reinvention is the real headline for German history"

To begin, I didn’t know much about German history and Germany today, so reading and watching the video taught me a lot of things I didn’t know. I think was I found most interesting was the divide between the people who lived in the East versus the West, and how there are still aspects of separation between the two. The wall only fell 30 years ago so there’s no way the East and West could be totally cohesive, and not feel a slight feeling of division. Although they are now a unified Germany, some people don’t feel as if Germany is as unified as it could be. For example, in the video, there were many people referred to as “Ossis”, which are people who were born or lived in East Germany before the wall fell. They talked about how there are still differences between the “Ossis” and “Wessis” and how most times the “Ossis” are looked down upon as inferior to the people of the West. It is also very interesting to me how now some people my age don’t even remember a divided Germany because they were alive during those times. I think as the new generation comes about, the division and gap between the “Ossis” and “Wessis” will get smaller because they have always lived in a unified Germany. The only way that the new generation in Germany would have a big divide is if their parents teach them certain opinions from their time of division to their children, leaving a lasting impression of the kids. Another thing that surprised me was the constant political change Germany was in. From a video in one of the articles, I learned that Germany used to be a monarchy, then a failed democracy, then a dictatorship, then to a communist system, to a successful democracy, leading to a reunified Germany. In this video, Jörg Winger said that reinvention describes Germany and all the changes they went through. After all these changes, I can see why President Steinmeier said in his speech that they are living in the best Germany there has ever been. Although I agree with this, I think that there can be efforts made to make an even better Germany, where there isn’t a division between the “Ossis” and “Wessis”.

iloveikeafood
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 17

Reply to yelloworchids

Originally posted by yelloworchids on October 07, 2020 21:15

In addition to this, I also found it extremely interesting when President Steinmeier mentioned that people should not look back at the past for answers to questions of the future. He also brought up the fact some individuals still wave the old flag of the German empire in this day and age. In this statement I was able to see the similarity to how some Americans today still choose to fly the Confederate flag as a proclamation of Southern heritage (whatever heritage that may be). In both cases, these individuals must be very ignorant of history to willingly raise a flag that stood for values we no longer adhere to. Like mentioned, it makes no sense to look in the past for answers in the 21st century. Acknowledging our blemished history is necessary, but applying traditional values to modern issues is not very sensible.

I agree with this statement, because when reading about the division between the people of Germany i also thought about the differences in some people in the US. I think you make a good comparison about the old flags being waved and how you connected it to what President Steinmeier. I also really agree with your statemnet at the end about how we have to acknowlegde our past, but we don't need to take up those "values" in modern issues.

iloveikeafood
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 17

Reply to eastbostonsavingsbank

Originally posted by eastbostonsavingsbank on October 09, 2020 02:20

I think it's crazy that the unification was only 30 years ago. My sense of time isn't very good and I keep forgetting that my parents were in their early twenties, not too much older than me for an event that changed history as we know it. I know that the division was horrible between East and West Germany, and I know that at some point Berlin was divided into quadrants and is still recovering from the divide today. Almost similar to how the USA is divided today, Germany was divided based on the extreme communist views and values. I am honestly not surprised that they are still issues between the East and West, as issues that once held for years on end don't just resolve overnight. It may be similar to how separated the Northeast and Southeast of the USA are after the Civil War 150 years later. I have been to Germany as a child but was too young to absorb the political divide that I still barely understand today, but I would like to go now and see the political climate and views from both sides.

I agree with your response because it's hard to process and realize that 30 years is a long time and how it's almost impossible for people to feel like there isn't a divide. I also like the comparison you made to the US, and how 150 years later there is still such a drastic political divide. I think this long divide is being elongated by people believing the US's troubled past is "heritage" and how racist views during the Civil War were probably taught to the children.

Quote and Reply

greenbeans
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Germany's Unification

I have never considered dabbling in the world of German politics, but there’s a first for everything. Learning more about this topic was actually a pleasant experience. I’d say that the most interesting part from all of this is how different the East and West are still today. How after 30 years, people make distinctions between Ossis and Wessis, and how there is so much political conundrum occurring in the East. It makes me wonder if Germany was actually reunified…? I mean, technically yes. But in the way that the East and West function and teach each other, it doesn’t seem like it to me. This incoherence is affected mainly by the established stigma pertaining to East/West Germans, and the fact that there is lingering political turmoil. Steinmeier ultimately explained it best: "cohesion crumbles, mistrust in politics increases, and the breeding ground for populism and extremist parties grows." The president obviously understands that the cultures of the East and West are different, yet he celebrates the historic event with gusto. His attitude is definitely a big factor in how Germans view this holiday. The more emphasis he puts on it, the more cohesion that ends up existing between the East and West. Clearly, though, there exists a greater amount of tension between the two areas. Is 30 years enough to have gotten rid of it? Is Steinmeier’s happy attitude enough to persuade people to hear each other better? I don’t think so.

@leafinthewind made a point that really piqued my interest: “German people in general recognize the faults of their country’s history a lot more than the United States’ citizens. Many people (especially in the South) fly the Confederate flag because they claim it is part of their heritage.” Although I admitted in the last paragraph that some Germans look down on Ossis, I realize that the situation is more extreme in the US when it comes to political and cultural division. Maybe the problems/violence in Germany is more diluted due to the legality of flying hate symbols and such, but nonetheless, the First Amendment grants Americans broader rights than people living in Germany have.

Despite current faults in Germany between the two sides, I have no doubt that Germany will continue working toward becoming even closer. Although all countries inevitably face problems with extremists and people who question the existence of COVID19, Steinmeier’s approach to the cultural and political unification of his country is unbeatable. He believes in science, his people, and the betterment of society. Although I have admitted many times that Germany is not perfect, it is a wonderful thing to be celebrating Germany’s unification so shamelessly and happily nonetheless. If only Trump could celebrate Independence Day by encouraging Americans to do better and highlighting some of America’s problems, as well.

redlavazibra
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

German Reunification

It was really interesting to learn a bit about German history because unfortunately I haven’t learnt much about it before. I definitely agree with @yelloworchids in that it is very surprising that the unification of Germany was only 30 years ago. Even though there was a physical reunification, there still seemed like a lot of differences between the east and the west. After watching the video, I saw that a lot of people still felt divided and Ossis Germans were looked down upon. The whole thing definitely reminds me of the separation of the Southeast and Northeast in the United States. It doesn’t take over night for both sides to be cohesive because most people living in Germany were alive before the unification and I think the new generation will see through the differences much easier because they’ve never lived in divided Germany. President Steinmeier recognized the inequalities but he seems very positive towards the future and a better Germany

pizza
Posts: 13

What Makes A Country United

Like many of my other classmates, I have not been keeping up with news in Germany. Although I might have briefly learned about the separation with the Berlin Wall, it never occurred to me that unification is not as idealistic as it seems. From reading President Steinmeier’s speech, it is noticeable that he is very optimistic for Germany. He is well aware about the divisions between the East and West that are still prevalent today, but as @goob has mentioned, "the President proposed that the people of Germany not adopt an attitude of ignorance, but rather understand their difference and work hard as a whole to further their country." I think this was a good summary of President Steinmeier's attitude towards Germany which is well spoken and thought out, so that the citizens can, at least, sense a feeling of togetherness. It is also very surprising to hear the difference in economic opportunities between the two region. From the video, it seems that a lot of Eastern Germans feel like they will always be "second class" no matter how hard they work. There was a part, however, that caught my attention as well as @yelloworchids. In the speech, it mentions how some people still wave the old flag of the German empire which is shockingly similar to the American Confederate flag. I like how @yelloworchids described this attitude of waving the old flag as "applying traditional values to modern issues is not very sensible" because in a lot of (conservative) Americans' perspectives, the Confederate flag is more of a symbol of proudness and heritage which I believe can be interpreted similarly to Eastern Germans who wave the old flag. Either way, it seems very unnecessary to boldly display something that will obviously make both sides uncomfortable.

Cohesion takes time and the agreement of the same ideas. Even though 30 years might seem a long time compared to how long I lived, I don't think it can easily wipe the memories of the people who went through that point in their lives. If both sides are unable to reach the same economic level equally and cannot leave their differences behind them, it makes it very difficult for anyone feel unified. There was a man in the 6 minute video who talked about how a holiday doesn't just automatically bring people together. I agree with this because a holiday can sometimes feel like a coverup to reality and not really addressing the internal issues that are happening between the East and the West.

As for me, this is similar to my understanding ideals in the Southern States in the U.S. It is not my interest nor is it my business to judge.This type of separation is similar to Hong Kong and Mainland China. Although Hong Kong is their own thing, it has been sold back to Mainland China. Hong Kong has their own government (sort of) and way of life--from British rule--that is completely different from Mainland China's. Even though some Hong Kong citizens still identify as Chinese, it is really difficult to just reunify two different nations that do not practice the same governments.

Thank you for sharing what is happening in Germany! Looking forward to learn more about places outside of the U.S. I am also very curious about what is going with COVID19 in Germany.



the negotiator
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

United? Not yet.

Before doing this assignment, I knew very little about the certain divisions of Germany, and I did not know that these divisions still had an impact in Germany today. What surprised me most is that there are still distinctions made between those who were from the east or whose families were from the east, and those who were from the west or whose families were from the west. The cohesion of a nation is determined by its history, and its ability as a whole to learn from it and make change. In Germany, the Berlin wall was taken down just 30 years ago, explaining why there are still distinctions between the Ossis and Wessis (east and west Germans). In this short of a time period, it would be practically impossible for a nation to completely come together, but it seems that Germany has made many positive strides to a more united nation. Some people from the video believe that the country is still affected by the divides, while others think that Germany is fully united and has no repercussions from the divisions of the 1900s. Most Ossis feel that they are looked down upon by the Wessis to this day as inferior. President Steinmeier seems to think that they are living in the best Germany that has ever existed, and while I agree, I think that there are still many more steps that Germany must take before they reach a state of true, unquestioned unity and equality. This same thing can be said about the US. We still do not have equality in our nation.
Lobster9
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

German History

The reunification of Germany is most interesting to me, I always assumed when the East and West were unified everyone was happy to be together again. I did not realize how little I knew about Germany before watching this video. In history class we often stop talking about Germany after we discuss the aftermath of WWII. It is quickly mentioned that after being divided Germany was later reunited as one country when the Berlin Wall was taken down. Most of what I know about Germany comes from what I learned about WWI and WWII. The cohesion of the nation is affected by the differential views between the East and West. The each is more likely to sway towards the right wing party than the West. This was interesting to me because it reminded me of political views in America and how they are often divided, red states are centered in the south while blue states tend to be more northern. I think the political divide can be related to how each economy functions. East Germany has become less productive since the unification, as mentioned in the video people moved away from the East and factories and production began to fall off. Regional identities can be difficult to understand, even for me living in Massachusetts it is hard to understand identities of someone living maybe a southern state or the midwest. It can be difficult because we live such different lifestyles and it can be hard to relate to each other. Although I have little contact with other regional identities in person, a good way to understand them is by attempting to look at things through their point of view in a way to understand where they are coming from.
posts 16 - 30 of 32