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Berlin Wall: in East Germany, the impression of having been "swallowed by the West" persists

2019-11-09T16:24:56.839Z

30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, social and economic inequalities between East and West are still felt, says the historian Nicolas Offenstadt at the microphone of Europe 1.



30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, social and economic inequalities between East and West are still felt, says the historian Nicolas Offenstadt at the microphone of Europe 1.

INTERVIEW

"A swallowed republic." On November 9, 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the GDR, and the reunification of both Germany. Reunification ... or annexation by the FRG, West Germany? 30 years later, the question still arises. "This debate takes place in Germany since the 1990s," says the historian Nicolas Offenstadt, author of the country disappeared, in the footsteps of the GDR (Stock) at the microphone of Europe 1.

>> READ ALSO - "Many of my friends say that it was not so bad in the GDR": in Germany, the failure of the duty of memory

"A lot of people were then critical of the process," says the specialist, recalling that some speak then in East Germany of "colonization", or, for some French observers, "kohlonisation", reference to Helmut Kohl, West German Chancellor who took the lead of unified Germany. "East Germany was a dictatorship of police surveillance but also of protection, there was no unemployment, widespread social protection, access to culture at a lower cost or free. from this world to precariousness and unemployment, "stresses Nicolas Offenstadt.

"Real resentment"

Today, some political scientists attribute the electoral success of the extreme right in former East Germany to a feeling of "downgrading" compared to the citizens of the West. "There are always several factors to explain the electoral phenomena, but it is true that the more the people of the East feel like second-class citizens, the more they vote for the far-right parties", explains the historian . For 30 years after the contrast persists: in 2018, an employee of the West earned an average of 3,339 euros gross per month, against about 2,600 euros in the East, according to the Federal Agency for Employment.

Nicolas Offenstadt evokes a "real resentment" fed by the idea of ​​having been "swallowed by the west". "The fall of the Wall and the emancipation of nations after 1989 was also made with deep inequalities and a territorial division."

Source: europe1

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