Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy German Reunification Day!

On this day, October 3rd, 1990, the border separating West and East Germany was formally dissolved and Germany was once again united. One more reason to get out and celebrate Oktoberfest and Germany's many contributions to the world this weekend!

Ein prosit der Gemütlichkeit! A new era under an old flag. Source:

The German reunification (GermanDeutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic (GDR / East Germany) joined the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG / West Germany), and when Berlin reunited into a single city. The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity (GermanDeutsche Einheit), celebrated on 3 October (German Unity Day). (Source: Wikipedia)

Map of FRG in blue on the west, GDR in red on the east, and the divided capital of Berlin in gold. In the days of the infamous Berlin Wall, there was a duty train which carried state officials and military officers to Berlin.  (Source:

East Germany existed as a separate country from 1949 to 1990, a period that tracks what we in the West call the Cold War--a massive stand-off between the USA and her allies, and the USSR and her satellite countries. By 1961, so many people were fleeing East Germany that the Soviet-backed government fortified its western borders and established the Berlin Wall. During the following 28-year period, several hundred people attempting to escape were killed by border guards.

...[T]he collapse of the GDR and German reunification 11 months later, on October 3, 1990, would have been practically inconceivable without the changes that had occurred in the Soviet Union from the mid-1980s onwards. The new state and party leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, had introduced wide-ranging reforms in the USSR. Gorbachev also forswore the Soviet Union's hegemony over the Eastern Bloc and strove for greater cooperation with the West. Above all, Poland and Hungary seized the new opportunities. In May 1989, the Hungarians began cutting a substantial hole in the Iron Curtain. The complete opening up of the Hungarian frontier to the West then followed on September 11, 1989. (Source: German Embassy)

In 1989, a peaceful revolution in the GDR led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall and emergence of a government committed to liberalization. The following year, free elections were held, and international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany. The GDR was dissolved and Germany was reunited on 3 October 1990.

On the evening of November 9, 1989, the Wall fell in Berlin – and with it the frontier that had divided Germany for 28 years. The very same night, thousands of German Democratic Republic (GDR) citizens rushed to the border with West Berlin. Although they had no official order, the border guards opened the crossings. Complete strangers from East and West fell into one another's arms laughing and crying, spontaneously celebrating the opening of the Wall together. Germany experienced a night of jubilation, a night that was to change the world.

Willy Brandt, who had been a popular mayor in the western part of Berlin for many years during the period of division, appeared at the Brandenburg Gate the next morning and announced a little later in front of Schöneberg City Hall:

“Now what belongs together will grow together.” 

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, surrounded by happy German people, is once again under the flag of a unified Germany after the fall of the Berlin  Wall. Source:

"Ein Prosit"

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit 
Der Gemütlichkeit 
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit 
Der Gemütlichkeit. 


English Lyrics to Ein Prosit
"A Toast"

A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times
A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times.


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