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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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German Reunification

In 1990, following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), East and West Germany reunited as the enlarged Federal Republic of Germany.

  • June 08, 1989

    Assessment Paper by the Austrian Foreign Ministry, '[Excerpt] Eastern Europe; Current Assessment'

    The paper addresses the change in economics, politics, and social structures in the Soviet bloc (Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the GDR) as a result of the USSR loosening up regulations.

  • June 26, 1989

    Memorandum of Conversation Foreign Ministers Alois Mock (Austria) and Gyula Horn (Hungary)

    Transcript of official visit between Foreign Minister Horn (Hungary) with Foreign Minister Mock (Austria). In it they discuss Western European integration including Hungary's participation, the Europe Free Trade Agreement, and Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. They continue with the development of Eastern Europe elaborating the developments with the Warsaw Pact, Hungarian/USSR relations, reforming Hungarian policy, and Austria's place in these changing times.

  • September 08, 1989

    Ambassadors’ Conference at the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Vienna

    Summary of discussion between Austrian Foreign Minister Erich Maximilian Schmid and ambassadors from Belgium, Finland, Yugoslavia, Luxembourg, and Sweden about the state of Eastern Europe, the decline of the arms race, and Western reactions to German Reunification.

  • September 19, 1989

    Analysis by Envoy Thomas Nowotny, 'The Specter of German Reunification'

    The report discusses the conflicting views from countries such as the US and USSR surrounding German Reunification. It later explains predicted demographics, economics, and military prowess of a unified Germany.

  • September 23, 1989

    Record of Conversation Between Mikhail Gorbachev and Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher

    Gorbachev and Thatcher discuss reforms in the Soviet Union and issues with inter-ethnic tensions. Thatcher states that she is not in support of German unification.

  • October 12, 1989

    Assessment Paper by the Austrian Foreign Ministry, '[Excerpt] Eastern Europe; General Assessment'

    The Assessment Paper outlines new change is Eastern Europe, mostly surrounding political and economic diversification, following Gorabachev's leadership in the USSR. The report then evaluates the GDR's economy, emigration, and anticipated political changes in light of the new geopolitical climate.

  • October 23, 1989

    Bush-Kohl Telephone Conversation on the Situation in Eastern Europe

    Telephone conversation between President George H. W. Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on the situation in Eastern Europe.

  • October 31, 1989

    Information Note from Romanian Embassy in Berlin to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Note from Romanian Embassy in Berlin to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding peaceful street protests in the GDR, the opnening of dialogue between government and citizens, and the serious effort to enact reforms, including a cessation of criticizing West Germany in the media

  • November 01, 1989

    Soviet Record of Conversation between M. S. Gorbachev and the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), Egon Krenz

    Soviet record of conversation between M. S. Gorbachev and the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), Egon Krenz concerning the possible reunification of Germany and issues faced by both the Soviet Union and the GDR

  • November 06, 1989

    Conversation on GDR-FRG Economic Cooperation between Alexander Schalck and Egon Krenz

    Note of conversation between East German leader Alexander Schalck and West German Minister of the Chancellery Rudolf Seiters on future economic cooperation between the two German states. The discussion makes clear that the East German economy will collapse without immediate and massive West German aid.

  • November 09, 1989

    Conversation between Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa

    In this extraordinary conversation, Solidarity’s leader fears the collapse of the Wall would distract West Germany’s attention - and money - to the GDR, at the time when Poland, the trail-blazer to the post-communist era in Eastern Europe, desperately needed both. "Events are moving too fast," Walesa said, and only hours later, the Wall fell, and Kohl had to cut his Poland visit short to scramble back to Berlin, thus proving Walesa’s fear correct.

  • November 10, 1989

    Letter, General Secretary of the SED Egon Krenz to General Secretary of the CC CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev

    General Secretary Krentz reports to Gorbachev that East Germany has allowed GDR citizens to cross the border to West Berlin following mass protests at the Berlin Wall and its checkpoints. Of the 60,000 citizens who took advantage of the open border, reportedly 45,000 returned to East Germany after visiting the west.

  • November 10, 1989

    Bush-Kohl Telephone Conversation on the Situation in Germany

    Telephone conversation between President George H. W. Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on the situation in Germany.

  • November 10, 1989

    Johann Plattner, Austrian Foreign Ministry, 'Debate on German Reunification; Information and Language Regime'

    In light of Kohl & Gorbachev's joint statement (June 13, 1989), the Head of the Department for Western and Northern Europe of the Political Section of the Austrian Foreign Ministry discusses German reunification, the Berlin Question, and Detente. The report discusses the resistant attitudes of the West, with the exception of the US, towards German reunification.

  • November 11, 1989

    From the minutes of the joint special session of the Executive Committee of the SPD and the Steering Committee of the SPD faction

    Willy Brandt's observations on the joint special session of the Executive Committee of the SPD and the Steering Committee of the SPD faction. Brandt discusses the November 9 opening of the border between East and West Germany.

  • November 14, 1989

    Record of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and President of France Francois Mitterrand

    Telephone conversation between Gorbachev and Mitterrand about France's position on German unification. Mitterrand expresses that he is against changing the borders at this time.

  • November 21, 1989

    Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney.

    Gorbachev and Mulroney discuss US interference in Eastern Europe and increasing cooperation with Western Europe. They also briefly discuss George Bush's leadership.

  • November 24, 1989

    Memorandum of Conversation Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky and East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow, East-Berlin

    The conversation details various changes needed in the GDR, including within the economy, electoral law, and foreign relations. They further discuss Austria's role in the two German states.

  • November 24, 1989

    Information by the East German Office of National Security on the Austrian Assessment of the Situation in the GDR and the Development of Austrian–East German Relations, Berlin (East)

    The document recounts the discussion between party officials from Austria's People's Party and Socialist Party in regards to changing developments in East and West Germany. Based on historical, political, and economic precedent, the overwhelming sentiment is against reunification. However, due to the rapidness of political events in the GDR the Socialist Party had yet to decide how to react. The parties then outline a plan to establish connections from both East and West German leadership as well as resistance movements in Hungary, Poland, and Yugoslavia.

  • December 05, 1989

    Record of Conversation between M. S. Gorbachev and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the FRG H.D. Genscher

    Record of a conversation between M.S. Gorbachev and H.D. Genscher discussing Helmut Kohl's Ten Points. Genscher expresses interest in negotiating with FRG and passing reforms in the GDR.