In the late 1980s the Communist regimes and economies of Eastern Europe showed increasing signs of strain, and wide-ranging democratic reforms were instituted in many of these countries. Hungary and other Soviet-bloc countries began to ease travel restrictions to the West, prompting several thousand East Germans to emigrate to West Germany via these socialist nations. By October 1989 the East German government was in crisis; President Honecker resigned and his successor, Egon Krenz, promised reform. Finally, on November 9, the government wearily admitted that the Berlin Wall no longer served any function.
Jubilant East and West Germans attacked the wall, tearing much of it down, and more than 200,000 East Germans streamed into West Germany. The West German government provided aid to the new immigrants and a massive infusion of capital to the ailing East German economy. Interim governments in East Germany pressed for union with West Germany as a means of stabilizing the country’s disintegrating social and economic structures. In July 1990 West Germany and East Germany merged their financial systems.
In many ways, this introduction of the West German mark into East Germany was a prime example of the somewhat unbalanced relationship between the two Germanys during the course of unification. In every case where a decision was made on whether to follow the way of the East or the way of the West, the West was chosen.
It came to seem as if East Germany had been defeated by its sister nation and was being systematically dismantled. This situation caused growing friction between East and West, both during and after the reunification process.
Actual reunification was achieved on October 3, 1990. East Germany officially dissolved, and all of its citizens became citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The first all-German elections were held in December, with the coalition led by Helmut Kohl scoring a decisive victory. On June 20, 1991, the newly elected Bundestag, representing both East and West, named Berlin the new capital of Germany. The transfer of administration from Bonn was largely completed by the end of 1999, although some government offices remained in Bonn.
In October 1993 a unified Germany became the 12th and final nation to ratify the Treaty on European Union, also known as the Maastricht Treaty. This treaty created the European Union (EU) from what had been the European Community. The members of the EU were committed to a common economic and foreign policy. In 1993 Germany also renewed its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. A major roadblock to achieving this status was removed in July 1994, when a German constitutional court decided that the German military could participate in UN peacekeeping operations outside of NATO.
A historic moment occurred in August 1994 as the last Russian troops left Berlin, signaling the conclusion of a complete pullout from Eastern Europe by the former Soviet Union after almost 50 years of occupation. Eight days later, the final 200 Allied troops also left Berlin, marking the first time since World War II that the city had not been host to foreign troops. "Germany" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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