Since the twentieth century, Germany has been the key nation in shaping both the geography and politics of Europe. Due to its political and military power, the world had sunk in two global wars which caused serious social and physical damages. However, after its defeat in 1945, Germany was occupied by the four major powers: USA, USSR, Great Britain and France. While the Cold War tensions increased between the USA and the USSR, the Potsdam Conference Agreement of keeping Germany an economic unit was abolished. As a result, the Berlin Wall was built to separate the eastern block of Germany under the Russian influence and the formal German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR) from the western block which the allies and the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) shared. The entire German territory was occupied by foreign armies, forming four occupation zones.
The growing conflicts between the Western Allies and Russia led to the creation of FRG and GDR governments. Frankly, Germany has not been a powerful unity since Bismarck`s unification. Although Germans shared the same language, history and principles, the Cold War succeeded in creating two countries with opposite social, economical and political perspectives. As a conclusion to this century, the future of a united Germany started to shine in the 1980s and the reunification was inevitable geopolitical event at the end of this century which was overflowed with wars and tensions. The path which led to the reunification of Germany was not paved even though it was unexpected. In fact, the principle of one German territory augmented by the late 1980s due to several issues that helped in turn the unification of the eastern-western blocks. The major factors which represented the fuse in sparking the spirit of patriotism in Germans were the reform programmes of “Glasnost” and “Perestroika” in the USSR. As these latter were promoted by Mikhail Gorbachev, some eastern groups in countries such as Poland and Hungary took their first steps towards democracy and liberty. The revolution began in Poland during the early 1980’s with the Solidarity movement, and, with Gorbachev’s reforms, it erupted with renewed vigour in the late 1980’s. Similarly, East Germans were influenced by such nations and seized their opportunity by immigrating to the western part of Germany; approximately 130,000 East Germans fled to the West during the first nine months of 1989, about half of them legally.
Besides “Glasnost” and “Perestroika”, the general atmosphere in East Germany was deplorable. Similarly, the German Democratic Republic which ruled the eastern block was devastated economically, politically and socially since it was influenced by the USSR and was sinking in the communist regime which ruined its institutions. Fully entrenched in Communism and the rigid Soviet-style economy, East Germany was relatively stagnant compared to the thriving West German structure; the Soviet influence kept modernization, a market economy, and democratic tendencies in check. Consequently, citizens in the eastern block faced massive struggles in social sectors for instance: health, education, employment and accommodation. While the situation became worse, the USSR refused to get involved and save the GDR Government who was incredibly pathetic and numb. As many other East Germans openly protested the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), calling for democratic reform, there has been no substantive response from the Soviet Union.
Although Mikhail Gorbachev denies the USSR being responsible for the German division as he stated in his interview (European Navigator : 1990): “ Even after the emergence of the two German States, the Soviet government, together with the German Democratic Republic continued to uphold the principle of German unity”, Russian authorities feared the reunification because of several reasons. From the Russian perspectives, unification would increase nationalism in Germans and therefore this produces armament expansion which might threaten Russian borders. Furthermore, German unification would influence states such as: Czechoslovakia and other Baltic nations of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia to take their first steps towards independence. Besides the latter reasons, after the British experience with colonies, USSR feared from loosing prestige and power when loosing the GDR as a communist nation.