West Germany - Position Towards East Germany

Position Towards East Germany

See also: German reunification

The official position of West Germany concerning East Germany was that the West German government was the only democratically elected and therefore the only legitimate representative of the German people. According to the Hallstein Doctrine, any country (with the exception of the USSR) that recognised the authorities of the German Democratic Republic would not have diplomatic relations with West Germany.

In the early 1970s, Willy Brandt's policy of "Neue Ostpolitik" led to a form of mutual recognition between East and West Germany. The Treaty of Moscow (August 1970), the Treaty of Warsaw (December 1970), the Four Power Agreement on Berlin (September 1971), the Transit Agreement (May 1972), and the Basic Treaty (December 1972) helped to normalise relations between East and West Germany and led to both German states joining the United Nations. The Hallstein Doctrine was abolished.

The West German Constitution (Grundgesetz/"Basic Law") provided two articles for the unification with other parts of Germany:

  • Article 23 provided the possibility for other parts of Germany to join the Federal Republic (under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany).
  • Article 146 provided the possibility for unification of all parts of Germany under a new constitution.

After the peaceful revolution of 1989 in East Germany, the first freely elected East German parliament decided in June 1990 that the Länder soon to be reestablished would join the Federal Republic under Article 23 of the (West) German Basic Law (Grundgesetz). This made a quick unification possible. In July/August 1990 the East German parliament enacted a law for the reestablishment of Länder on the territory of the German Democratic Republic.

The two German states entered into a currency and customs union in July 1990, and on 3 October 1990, the German Democratic Republic dissolved and the then reestablished five East German Länder (as well as a unified Berlin) joined the Federal Republic of Germany, bringing an end to the East-West divide.

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