World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ossi (East Germans)

Article Id: WHEBN0005388207
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ossi (East Germans)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Berlin Wall, Potsdamer Platz, Korean reunification, Stasiland, Wessi, Alles auf Zucker!, Puhdys, List of films set in Berlin, The Wave (2008 film)
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Ossi (East Germans)

"Eastern Germany" redirects here. For other uses, see Eastern Germany (disambiguation).

The new federal states of Germany (German: die neuen Bundesländer) are the five re-established states in the former German Democratic Republic that acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany with its 10 states upon German reunification on 3 October 1990. Subsequently, the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache chose the term as German Word of the Year.[1]

The new states, which had been abolished 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 Eastern and Western Germany is still ongoing.

Culture

Main article: Ostalgie

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").[2] "Ossis" ("Easties") are stereotyped as racist, poor and largely influenced by Russian culture.[3] "Wessis" ("Westies") are usually considered snobbish, dishonest 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".[4] 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.[4] A 2004 poll found that 25% of West Germans and 12% of East Germans wished reunification had not happened.[2]

Some East German brands have been revived, appealing to former East Germans who are nostalgic for the goods they grew up with.[5] 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 national football team.[5]

Pornography and prostitution, considered by the government a sign of bourgeois decadence, were illegal in the GDR, and it is commonly believed that Germans who grew up during the communist years are more sexually inhibited than their western counterparts.[6] Nonetheless, better access to higher education and jobs along with free abortion, contraception and generous family policies made East German women generally more emancipated with respect to their sex life.[6]

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%.[7]

Economy


The economic reconstruction of eastern Germany (German: Aufbau Ost) is proving to be more long-term than originally foreseen.[8] The standard of living and annual income remains significantly lower in the new federal states.[9]

Reunification cost the federal government 2 Trillion.[10] At reunification, almost all East German industry was considered outdated.[8] The government privatised 8,500 state-owned East German enterprises.[10] Since 1990, between €100 billion and €140 billion a year have been transferred to the new states.[10] More than $60 billion were spent supporting businesses and building infrastructure in the years 2006-2008.[11]

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 economy of the new federal states until 2019.[8] 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 [12] and to apportion the cost of the unification as well as the expenses for the Gulf War and the European integration. The tax, which raises €11 billion a year, will be maintained until 2019 at least.[12]

Ever since the reunification, the unemployment rate in the east has been almost twice that of the west, currently at 12.7%[13] (as of April 2010) after having reached a maximum of 18.7% in 2005. In the 1999-2009 decade, economic activity per person has risen from 67% to 71% of western Germany.[11] According to Wolfgang Tiefensee in 2009, the minister then responsible for the development of the new federal states, “The gap is closing.”[11] Eastern Germany is also the part of the country least affected by the current financial crisis.[14]

All the new federal states, excluding Berlin, qualify as Objective 1 development regions within the European Union, and are eligible to receive investment subsidies of up to 30% until 2013.

Infrastructure

The "German Unity Transport Projects" (Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit) 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.[15]

The program consist of 9 rail and 7 motorway projects, as well as one waterway project, for a total funding of €38.5 billion. As of 2009, all 17 projects are either under construction or have already been completed.[16] 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.[15] 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).

"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, for a total investment of €10.2 billion. It is also involved in other transport projects, including a 435 km of roads for approximately € 1,760 million as well as a city tunnel in Leipzig, at the cost of €685 million.[17]

The Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2003 includes plans for the extension of the A14 from Magdeburg to Schwerin and construction of the A72 from Chemnitz to Leipzig.[16]

Private ownership rates of cars have markedly since 1990: in 1988, 55% of East German households had at least one car, in 1993 it had already risen to 67%, and to 71% in 1998. This compares to the West German rates of 61% for 1988, 74% for 1993 and 76% for 1998.[18][19]

Politics

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, capitalising on the continued disparity of living conditions and salaries with western Germany, and high unemployment.[20]

Far right

After 1990, far right and Nationalist groups gained followers. Some sources claim mostly among people frustrated by the high unemployment and the poor economic situation.[21] Der Spiegel also points out that these people are mostly single men and that there may also be social-demographic reasons.[22]

The National Democratic Party of Germany won 9.2% of the vote in 2004 state parliament elections, and the party has eight seats in the state parliament in Dresden, just behind the 13 held by the Social Democrats. Far right parties also have seats in the parliaments of Brandenburg and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.[23]

In the Saxony state election of September 2009 the NPD lost votes (-3.6%) and seats (-4),[24] while in the same month the German People's Union lost its representation in the Landtag of Brandenburg.[25]

A survey of 14 to 25-year-olds carried out by the Forsa opinion poll institute found that one out of two youths in eastern Germany now believe that National Socialism had “its good sides”.[21]

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.[26]

Demographic development

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.[11] A disproportionately high number of them were women under 35.[22] In fact about 500,000 women aged under 30 have left for western Germany in the past 15 years.[27]

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 (1.37), and is now higher (1.43 vs 1.36 in West, year 2011).[28] Since 1989, about 2,000 schools have closed because of a paucity of children.[11]

In some regions the number of women between the ages of 20 and 30 has dropped by more than 30 percent.[11] 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).[28] In parts of the state of Thuringia, there are 82 women for every 100 men.[27] The town of Königstein has the biggest demographic imbalance in Europe between young men and women.[27] 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.[27]

Around 300,000 homes have been demolished in recent years. In parts of eastern Germany, wolves and lynx have reappeared after many decades.[27]

Demographic evolution

Brandenburg had a population of 2,660,000 in 1989, and 2,523,000 in December 2008.[29] 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.[30]

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern had a population of 1,970,000 in 1989, and 1,666,000 in November 2008, with the lowest population density in Germany.[29] The local Landtag held several inquiries over population trends, the opposition has requested an annual report on the topic.[30]

Saxony had a population of 5,003,000 in 1989, which fell to 4,189,000 in January 2009.[29] It still remains the most populous among the five new states. In ten years the state lost 11.3% of its inhabitants. The proportion of the population under 20 fell from 24.6% in 1988 to 19.7% in 1999.[30] 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 2,379,000 in January 2009.[29] 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.[30]

Thuringia had a population of 2,680,000 in 1989, and 2,265,000 in January 2009.[29] 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.[30]

Major Cities

Federal capital
State capital


Rank City Pop.
1950
Pop.
1960
Pop.
1970
Pop.
1980
Pop.
1990
Pop.
2000
Pop.
2010
Area
[km²]
Density
per km²
Growth
[%]
(2000–
2010)
surpassed
100,000
State
(Bundesland)
1. Country symbol of Berlin color.svg Berlin 3,336,026 3,274,016 3,208,719 3,048,759 3,433,695 3,382,169 3,460,725 887,70 3,899 2.32 1747 Country symbol of Berlin color.svg Berlin
2. Dresden Stadtwappen.svg Dresden 494,187 493,603 502,432 516,225 490,571 477,807 523,058 328,31 1,593 9.47 1852 Coat of arms of Saxony.svg Saxony
3. Coat of arms of Leipzig.svg Leipzig 617,574 589,632 583,885 562,480 511,079 493,208 522,883 297,36 1,758 6.02 1871 Coat of arms of Saxony.svg Saxony
4. Coat of arms of Chemnitz.svg Chemnitz 293,373 286,329 299,411 317,644 294,244 259,246 243,248 220,84 1,101 −6.17 1883 Coat of arms of Saxony.svg Saxony
5. Coat of arms of Halle (Saale).svg Halle 289,119 277,855 257,261 232,294 247,736 247,736 232,963 135,02 1,725 −5.96 1890 Wappen Sachsen-Anhalt.svg Saxony-Anhalt
6. Wappen Magdeburg.svg Magdeburg 260,305 261,594 272,237 289,032 278,807 231,450 231,549 200,99 1,152 0.04 1882 Wappen Sachsen-Anhalt.svg Saxony-Anhalt
7. Wappen Erfurt.svg Erfurt 188,650 186,448 196,528 211,575 208,989 200,564 204,994 269,14 762 2.21 1906 Coat of arms of Thuringia.svg Thuringia
8. Rostock Wappen.svg Rostock 133,109 158,630 198,636 232,506 248,088 200,506 202,735 181,26 1,118 1.11 1935 Coat of arms of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (great).svg Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
9. Coat of arms of Potsdam.svg Potsdam 118,180 115,004 111,336 130,900 139,794 129,324 156,906 187,53 837 21.33 1939 Brandenburg Wappen.svg Brandenburg
Rank City Pop.
1950
Pop.
1960
Pop.
1970
Pop.
1980
Pop.
1990
Pop.
2000
Pop.
2010
Area
[km²]
Density
per km²
Growth
[%]
(2000–
2010)
surpassed
100,000
State
(Land)

See also

  • Wessi
  • East German jokes

References

External links

  • The Federal Government’s Annual Report on the State of German Unity 2009
  • REGIERUNGonline - Development of Eastern Germany
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.