The initial joy of the reunification was short lived for many citizens of both the former East and West Germany. When the Wall fell in 1989 citizens were joyed with thoughts of being reunited with their friends and family. The East Germans envisioned freedom while the West Germans were just happy the suffering of their neighbors might come to an end. An anonymous citizen of the West reminisces the day the wall fell “I still remember hearing the news, it was something so unbelievable, I just had to see for myself”. These feelings of hope soon faded after the various economic, political, and cultural effects of the unification.
Many East German citizens were tired of living in constant fear of their controlling government and could only fantasize about breaking down the wall and rejoining life with the West. The GDR’s paranoia and absurd tactics forced the citizens dreading life within East Germany. The rumors of the rough conditions caused West Germans to pity their friends and families stuck in the East. The day the wall fell everybody rejoiced and citizens on both sides celebrated the wonderful unification of Berlin. This celebration was brought to a halt as they learned of all the complications merging two countries, with opposing political ideologies, can bring.
The East Germans soon began to miss their “communist” life after suffering many job loses and being forced into changing various aspects of their life. They began to see all the propaganda against capitalism coming to life, which caused them to forget about all the troubles of their former communist country and begin to miss it. Aside from the economic and political effects, the citizens of East Germany began to see their culture begin to fade. They had to give up all the East German products they had become so accustomed to, and could only find the capitalistic West products on the market. There was even a word created for the nostalgia former citizens of the East felt, “ostalgie” (Germany’s Disappointing Reunification). They blamed the capitalist West for their troubles and even came up with the derogatory term “Wessie” to explain citizens who were from the West.
West Germans were not concerned with the effects of reunification, since it seemed as if nothing would change for them. The country was remaining capitalist, so they though they would be facing no political, economical, or even cultural changes. However, they soon realized what a burden unifying with the East truly was. An anonymous women living in the West said “We really felt the effects on the economy, and a lot of people thought ‘why should we have to take on all of their problems’ “. The prosperous West Germans believed their slowing and declining economy was due to trying to take on the problems East Germany had left.
Initially East and West Germans both wanted to reunify and were extremely excited upon hearing the wall had fallen. Slowly as the effects of reunifying became more prominent they began to miss life before the wall had fallen. The effects of reunifying left the citizens resenting each other. The East Germans believed their loss of jobs, income, and culture could be blamed on the greedy capitalists. All while the West Germans resented the East for bringing all their problems and slowing the economy. Despite both citizens from the East and West being excited to reunify, they both began to miss the life they had before and resent one another for the changes.