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Readers talk about reunification

On topics ranging from German reunification as a model for other nations to a video game simulating GDR border guards shooting escapees, our readers chimed in on reunification on the occasion of its 20th anniversary.

Fireworks during unity celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate

German unity celebrations are held each year at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Can German reunification serve as a model for other countries today?

Definitely so. But hopefully without all of the bellyaching and gnashing of teeth that went on in West Germany about the high cost of reunification and having to support the East financially while they got their economic feet under them after 40 years of communist ruin. -- George

Full reunification - political, cultural, emotional, economic, personal, etc. - even in Germany is a goal still to be attained. Perhaps some of the legalistic mechanisms could be studied for applications to other areas of the world. Forty-five years of separation, with hostile powers in each of the two Germanys, is a lot to overcome. It is, however, being done, and efforts should of course be continued. -- Gerard

I don't think that just following the German steps will lead to reunification (unless just the word "reunification" is the goal!), because every society and era has its special needs and circumstances. For example, reunification is not just an internal issue but it is affected greatly by the global mood either with unity or against it. -- Ashraf

Charges that unification was really an annexation stir up memories

Do you think East Germany was annexed or unified with West Germany?

Most of the people in East Germany were demonstrating for becoming part of West Germany. They were cheering "if the deutschmark doesn't come here, we will come to West Germany" and so on. To say something different refers to a changed view today, but has no basis in what people wanted back then I think. -- Julius

It was reunification. Anyone using the word "annex" is trying to stir up emotions, perhaps for political gain. If the idea is striking a chord, then some thought and effort may be needed to resolve the underlying issues. -- Keith

I still feel it was an annexation that many people in the West, and nowadays also many people from the East, did simply not want, at least not on the terms Mr. Kohl pushed it through ... there should have been another solution. -- Ralph

Annexed as if the people living in the former GDR were not Germans? I can't believe that! Germany united (in theory and practice) can be complicated but is necessary for the country's sake! -- Karen

Citizens of the former GDR were certainly not given as much say as they would've liked. The whole thing was hurried off too fast. It was like the government was more concerned with winning the approval of foreign powers than that of the East Germans -- Wolfgang

I was a child at this time and even though I don't want the GDR back, I often ask myself if it was the right choice to glue the two states together that fast. People from both Germanys didn't know much about the other. East Germany lived with the illusion that everything was better in the West, and West Germany lived in the illusion that it would be easy to unite the two countries, emotionally, economically and politically. In the end it was/is much more difficult. Without having a chance to learn how the free economy works, East Germany had to deal with the consequences, and for many people in West Germany we became a burden because they had to pay more than they planned in the first place. There have been mistakes or false illusions on both sides, and some of the consequences are still visible. But that's just my opinion years later. It is never easy to decide something without knowing to where it leads or if it is as easy as it seems in the first place. -- Dorit

The bigger issue is, the new country doesn't look like a union of two Germanys. It merely looks like an extended version of West Germany. That's why many chose to call it annexation. -- Wolfgang

Computer game recreates horrors of former East German border

Is the game really tasteless, or can it teach young Germans about their past?

It is important to remember the past and the cruelty of the frontier, but I'm not sure if a video game (shooter game or other game) captures the whole situation. It offers a black and white vision: victims good - guards bad. But did the programmer of this game think about what it must have been like for the guard to have orders to shoot his own people? I really hate it when people think about history, and it's events in black and white. -- Dorit

In a video game ...? It can be interesting, because young Germans can learn about Germany 20 years ago and how they did cross the wall, and the guards, the victims, subways, etc. -- Edmundo

You can learn a lot about the border by reading about it, but this offers a great opportunity to see it and, to some degree, to experience it. This offers a great chance to learn in detail what that time period was like. -- Chris

Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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