New states of Germany
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|History of Germany|
|Early Modern period|
The new federal states of Germany (German: die neuen Bundesländer) are the five re-established states in the former East Germany that acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany with its 10 states upon German reunification on 3 October 1990.
The new states, which were dissolved by the East German government in 1952 and were re-established in 1990, are Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The state of Berlin, the result of a merger between East and West Berlin, is usually not considered one of the new states, although many of its residents are former East Germans.
Since the reunification, Germany thus consists of 16 states with equal legal statuses. Yet the process of the "inner reunification" between the former East and West Germany is still ongoing.
Persisting differences in culture and mentality among the old East Germany and old West Germany are often referred to as the "wall in the head" ("Mauer im Kopf"). "Ossis" ("Easties") are stereotyped as racist, poor and largely influenced by Russian culture. "Wessis" ("Westies") are usually considered snobbish, dishonest, wealthy, and selfish. The terms can be considered disparaging.
In 2009, twenty years after the fall of the wall, a poll found that 22% of former East Germans (40% of under-25s) considered themselves "real citizens of the Federal Republic". 62% feel in a kind of limbo, no longer citizens of East Germany but not fully integrated into the unified Germany. Around 11% would have liked to have East Germany back. A 2004 poll found that 25% of West Germans and 12% of East Germans wished reunification had not happened.
Some East German brands have been revived, appealing to former East Germans who are nostalgic for the goods they grew up with. Brands revived in this manner include Rotkäppchen, which holds about 40% of the German sparkling wine market, and Zeha, the sport shoe maker that supplied most of East Germany's sports teams and also the Soviet Union national football team.
Pornography and prostitution were outlawed in the GDR as forms of exploitation, and West Germans commonly believe that those who grew up in the GDR are more sexually inhibited than their western counterparts. Nonetheless, better access to higher education and jobs along with free abortion, contraception and generous family policies made East German women generally more promiscuous with respect to their sex life. Another notable difference is the attitude towards naturism or FKK (short for Freikörperkultur) in German. While it existed in both East and West, only in the East was it a mass cultural phenomenon in which almost everybody participated. This can still be seen at beaches of former East Germany compared to their West German counterparts.
More children are born out of wedlock in eastern Germany than in western Germany. In 2009, in eastern Germany 61% of births were to unmarried women, while in western Germany 27% were. The states of Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had the highest rate of birth outside wedlock, each with 64%, followed by Brandenburg with 62%. The state of Baden-Württemberg had the lowest rate with 22%, followed by Hesse and Bavaria, each with 26%.
Irreligion is predominant in the eastern part of Germany, which is considered to be the least religious region in the world. An exception is former West Berlin, which had a Christian plurality in 2016 (44.4% Christian and 43.5% unaffiliated). It also has a higher share of Muslims, at 8.5%, compared to former East Berlin with only 1.5% self-declared Muslims as of 2016. On the other hand, Christianity is the dominant religion of Western Germany, excluding Hamburg, which has a non-religious plurality.
|Religion by state, 2016||Protestants||Catholics||Not religious||Muslims||Others|
On 26 April 2009, a referendum (de) was held on whether Berlin pupils should be allowed to choose between the ethics class, a compulsory class introduced in all Berlin schools in 2006, and a religion class. The SPD, the Left Party and Greens supported the "Pro Ethics" camp for a "No" vote, stressing that the ethics class should remain compulsory, and pupils could voluntarily take an extra religion class alongside it if they so chose; the CDU and FDP supported the "Pro Reli" camp for a "Yes" vote, wanting to give pupils a free choice. In East Berlin, an overwhelming majority of 74.62% voted against the introduction of religious education. In West Berlin, only 41.41% voted "No". In total, 51.5% voted "No" and 48.4% voted "Yes".
The economic reconstruction of eastern Germany (German: Aufbau Ost) is proving to be longer-term than originally foreseen. The standard of living and average annual income remain significantly lower in the new federal states.
Reunification cost the federal government €2 trillion. At reunification, almost all East German industry was considered outdated. The government privatised 8,500 state-owned East German enterprises. Since 1990, between €100 billion and €140 billion a year have been transferred to the new states. More than $60 billion were spent supporting businesses and building infrastructure in the years 2006-2008.
A €156 billion economic plan, Solidarity Pact II, came into force in 2005, and provides the financial basis for the advancement and special promotion of the economy of the new federal states until 2019. The "solidarity tax", a 5.5% surcharge on the income tax, was instated by the Kohl government to restore the infrastructure of the new states to the levels of the western ones and to apportion the cost of unification as well as the expenses of the Gulf War and of European integration. The tax, which raises €11 billion a year, will be maintained until 2019 at least.
Ever since reunification, the unemployment rate in the east has been almost twice that of the west. The unemployment rate reached 12.7% in April 2010, after having reached a maximum of 18.7% in 2005. In the decade 1999-2009, economic activity per person has risen from 67% to 71% of western Germany. According to Wolfgang Tiefensee, the minister then responsible for the development of the new federal states, in 2009, "The gap is closing." Eastern Germany is also the part of the country least affected by the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
The "German Unity Transport Projects" (Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit, VDE) is a programme launched in 1991 and meant to upgrade the infrastructure of eastern Germany, and modernise transport links between the old and new federal states.
The programme consists of nine railway and seven motorway projects, as well as one waterway project, with a total funding of €38.5 billion. As of 2009, all 17 projects are either under construction or have already been completed. The construction of new railway lines and high-speed upgrades of existing lines reduced journey times between Berlin and Hanover from over four hours to 96 minutes. Due to increasing car usage and depopulation since reunification, many railway lines (branches and main lines) have been closed by the unified Deutsche Bahn (German Railways). Some main lines are still not finished or upgraded according to the VDE, with the Leipzig-Nuremberg line (via Erfurt and part of the Munich-Berlin route) scheduled to come on-line in December 2017, almost three decades after reunification. Some lines, even those connecting large cities, are still in a worse state then they were in the 1930s, with travel time from Berlin to Dresden slower in 2015 than in 1935.
"DEGES" (Deutsche Einheit Fernstraßenplanungs- und -bau GmbH, German Unity Road Construction Company) is the state-owned project management institution responsible for the construction of approximately 1,360 km of federal roads within the VDE, with a total investment of €10.2 billion. It is also involved in other transport projects, including 435 km of roads costing about €1,760 million as well as a city tunnel in Leipzig, at the cost of €685 million.
Private ownership rates of cars have markedly increased since 1990: in 1988, 55% of East German households had at least one car, in 1993 this had already risen to 67%, and to 71% in 1998. This compares to the West German rates of 61% in 1988, 74% in 1993 and 76% in 1998.
Unlike the West, there was a three-party system (SPD, CDU, PDS/The Left) until the rise of the AfD, which has led to a four-party system. Since 2009 at least four factions have been represented in each of the East German regional parliaments, in Saxony even six, while in 1998/1999, for example, only one of the regional parliaments included more than three factions.
In the East, there is usually a low turnout at elections.
While "only" 56% want better relations with Russia in the West, 66% of the population of the former Soviet satellite state want better relations with Russia after 28 years (and above all the stronger parties in the East: AfD 74% and the Left 71%).
The socialist party The Left (Die Linke, successor to the Party of Democratic Socialism, the GDR state party's successor) has been successful throughout eastern Germany, perhaps as a result of the continued disparity of living conditions and salaries compared with western Germany, and high unemployment. Since its association with the WASG, The Left mostly loses in state elections, and has been losing members since 2010.
The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), and The Left from 2005, have achieved the following vote shares in recent elections:
|East German general election, 1990||16.4%, Communist Party of Germany (KPD) 0.1%|
|German federal election, 1990||East 11.1%, West 0.2%|
|State elections, 1990||East Berlin 30.1%, KPD 0.2%; Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 15.7%; Saxony 10.2%; Saxony-Anhalt 12.0%; Thuringia 9.7%; East Berlin 23.6%|
|Federal election, 1994||East 19.8%, West 1%|
|State elections in 1994:||18.7% in Brandenburg; 19.9% in Saxony-Anhalt; Saxony 16.5%; Thuringia 16.6%; 22.7% in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern|
|Berlin state election, 1995||in East Berlin the PDS was the biggest party with 36.3%.|
|Federal election, 1998||East 21.6%, West 1.2%.|
|State elections in 1998/1999:||23.3% in Brandenburg; 19.6% in Saxony-Anhalt; Saxony 22.2%, KPD 0.1%; Thuringia 21.3%; 24.4% in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; 39.5% in East Berlin.|
|Federal election, 2002||East 16.9%, West 1.1%|
|State elections in 2001/2002||16.4% in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; 20.4%, KPD/DKP 0.1% in Saxony-Anhalt; 47.6%, 0.2% DKP in East Berlin.|
|Federal election, 2005||East 25.3%, West 4.9%|
|State elections in 2004 to 2006||16.8% in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (+0.5% WASG), 24.1% in Saxony-Anhalt and 28.1% (+3.3% WASG) in East Berlin (–19.5%).|
|Federal election, 2009||East 28.5% (The Left became the strongest force in Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt); West 8.3%.|
|State elections in 2009||20.6% in Saxony, 27.2% in Brandenburg and 27.4% in Thuringia|
|State elections in 2011||18.6% in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 23.7% in Saxony-Anhalt and 22.7% in East Berlin.|
|Federal election, 2013||East 22.7%, West 5.2%.|
|State elections in 2014||18.9% in Saxony, 28.2% in Thuringia and 18.6% in Brandenburg (–8.6%).|
|2014 European Parliament election||German Communist Party (DKP) had its strongest vote in Eastern Germany (0.2% in East, 0.0% in West).|
|State elections in 2016||16.3% in Saxony-Anhalt, 13.2% in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and 23.4% in Berlin|
|Federal election, 2017||East 17.8%; West 7.4%.|
After 1990, far-right and German nationalist groups gained followers. Some sources claim mostly among people frustrated by the high unemployment and the poor economic situation. Der Spiegel also points out that these people are mostly single men and that there may also be socio-demographic reasons. Since around 1998 the Party stronghold moved from the south of Germany to the east.
Already in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic the strongholds of the German Conservative Party (DKP), German National People's Party (DNVP) and Nazi Party (NSDAP) they were Pomerania, Lower Silesia, East Prussia and Brandenburg. (Prussia)
The Far-right party German People's Union (DVU) was since 1998 in Saxony-Anhalt and in Brandenburg sice 1999. A study of the University of Berlin from 1998/99 comes to 13% for the whole of Germany, and 12% for the West and 17% for the East for right-wing extremist recruitment potential.
In May 2001, the Düsseldorf Federal Party Congress of the FDP decided the strategy, the "Strategy 18" which is premised by Jürgen Möllemann as a goal. Jürgen Möllemann stood behind Jamal Karsli who is criticized as anti-Semitic, Möllemann was criticized by the then FDP leader Guido Westerwelle that he wanted to make the FDP a right-wing populist party and got the backing of Jörg Haider. The name referred to the election goal of tripling the share of electoral votes from 6 to 18%. In the midst of controversy over a possibly associated right-wing populist orientation, the FDP ultimately achieved 7.4% and moved away from the course after the election, but gained in all new states in 2002 between 3.6% in Saxony and 2.4% in East Berlin. At the Saxony-Anhalt state election, 2002 failed, the right-wing populist Schill party just short of the 5% threshold (4.5%) and the FDP moved into the state parliament. In East-Berlin election, 2001 won the FDP 5.3% (+4.2%) and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern just short of the 5% threshold (4.7%)
The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) won 9.2% of the vote in 2004 state parliament elections in Saxony, and the party has eight seats in the state parliament in Dresden, just behind the 13 held by the Social Democrats. In 2004 won the DVU votes in Brandenburg (+0.8%). In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was the NPD represented since 2006.
In 2009, Junge Landsmannschaft Ostdeutschland, which is supported by the NPD, organized a march on the anniversary of the Bombing of Dresden in World War II. There were 6,000 Nationalists, met by tens of thousands of ″anti-Nazis″ and several thousand police.
The Free Voters of Germany emerged in 2009 from the Land Brandenburg regional branch of Free Voters, after this had been excluded because of "signs of right infiltration" from the Federal Association of Free Voters Germany.
The Pegida has its focus in East Germany. According to a survey by TNS Emnid, in mid-December 2014, 53% of East Germans in each case understood the PEGIDA demonstrators. (48% in the West)
In 2016, AfD reached at least 17% in Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (where the NPD lost all seats) and East Berlin; whereas they won up to 15% in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and West Berlin.
In 2015, Rhineland-Palatinate interior minister Roger Lewentz said the former communist states were ″more susceptible″ to ″xenophobic radicalization″ because Eastern Germany had not had the same exposure to foreign people and cultures over a period of decades that the people in the west of the country have had.
In the 2017 Federal Election, AfD reached ~ 22% in the East and ~ 11% in the West. The AfD became even the strongest party in Saxony.
The Pirate Party Germany were chosen slightly more frequently in the East (10.1 percent) than in the West (8.1 percent) of the city. Among the under-30s in East Berlin, the pirates with 20 percent were even the second strongest party. For example, none of the parties elected to the Berlin House of Representatives in 2011 lost such a high proportion of their voters to the AfD as the pirates at the next election in 2016, namely 16%. This and other finding suggests that some of their voters, like the AfD, regard the Pirate Party primarily as a protest party.
The election slogans of the DVU in the regional elections in Saxony-Anhalt in 1998 were directed primarily against the already represented in parliament politicians: "Not the people - the political bigwigs will dole!" And "German let's not make the sow you. DVU - The protest in the election against dirty things from above ". In particular, politically dissatisfied people were advertised with the slogan "vote protest - vote German". At the time, the DVU stood at 12.9%.
In 1991, the parliamentary group of the PDS demanded in its draft for a constitution the right of Thuringia to leave the Federal Republic of Germany. However, the group could not prevail with its draft.
Tatjana Festerling she was after the withdrawal of Kathrin Oertel from February 2015 to mid-April 2016, a leader in the Dresden Pegida demonstrations, they demanded on October 12, 2015 the "Säxit" - meaning the secession of Saxony from the Federal Republic of Germany - after she had already demanded the rebuilding of German border installations on 9 March 2015.
|Polling firm||Fieldwork date||Sample size|
|Emnid||2010||1001||15 (+8 partially)|
|Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungszentrum Berlin-Brandenburg||2010||~1900||10|
|Institut für Marktforschung Leipzig||2007||1001||18|
The former East German states have experienced significant depopulation and extremely low birth rates since 1990, with a recovery in recent years. About 1.7 million people have left the new federal states since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or 12% of the population. A disproportionately high number of them were women under 35. In fact about 500,000 women aged under 30 have left for western Germany in the past 15 years.
After 1990, the fertility rate in the East dropped to 0.77. In 2006, the rates in the new states (1.30) was approaching those in the West (1.34), and is now higher (1.56 vs 1.50 in West, year 2015). Since 1989, about 2,000 schools have closed because of a paucity of children.
In some regions the number of women between the ages of 20 and 30 has dropped by more than 30 percent. In 2004, in the age group 18-29 (statistically important for starting families) there were only 90 women for every 100 men in the new federal states (including Berlin). In parts of the state of Thuringia, there are 82 women for every 100 men. The town of Königstein has the biggest demographic imbalance in Europe between young men and women. This is in contrast to many areas in Europe as many cities across the continent suffer an imbalance of younger women to men. This has led to the concern to local leaders, as a large imbalance of males to females is usually linked to historical social instabilities and increased crime rates.
Around 300,000 homes have been demolished in recent years. In parts of eastern Germany, wolves and lynx have reappeared after many decades.
Brandenburg had a population of 2,660,000 in 1989, and 2,447,700 in March 2013. It has the second lowest population density in Germany. In 1995, it became the only new state to experience population growth, aided by the vicinity of Berlin.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern had a population of 1,970,000 in 1989, and 1,598,000 in March 2013, with the lowest population density in Germany. The local Landtag held several inquiries over population trends, the opposition has requested an annual report on the topic.
Saxony had a population of 5,003,000 in 1989, which fell to 4,044,000 in March 2013. It still remains the most populous among the five new states. The proportion of the population under 20 fell from 24.6% in 1988 to 19.7% in 1999. Dresden and Leipzig are among the fastest growing cities in Germany both rising their population over half a million inhabitants again and in strong contrast to the other districts of Saxony.
Saxony-Anhalt had a population of 2,960,000 in 1989, and 2,253,000 in March 2013. The state has a long history of demographic decline: its current territory had a population of 4,100,000 in 1945. The emigration already began during the GDR years.
Thuringia had a population of 2,680,000 in 1989, and 2,166,000 in March 2013. In Thuringia, the migration has less of an impact than the decrease of the fertility rate. Former Minister-President Bernhard Vogel called for a stop to the exodus of skilled workers and young people.
Total change in population of former East Germany is from 15.273 million in 1989, just before reunification, to 12.509 million in 2013, a decrease of 18.1%.
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