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"Talk Is Cheap" (1989)

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Time and again, reasonable people in this country have warned of the consequences, especially for young people, of having millions of people unemployed, and they have also reminded us how we arrived at 1933. Reunification slogans can also be heard from these young right-wingers.

Certainly, there are also people in the GDR voicing slogans like these, although unemployment is surely not the cause over there, but rather the lack of opportunity for travel and, for young people, boredom. Furthermore, many are discouraged and resigned because hardly anything is changing in their state compared with Poland, Hungary, and the Soviet Union.

With regard to a German question that may or may not be open, we are happy to talk about a common European house, or about a German nation or a cultural nation that still exists. Talk costs nothing. And, after all, everyone was concerned with himself until the point at which we became the way we are. I realize [ . . . ] this final sentence sounds neither hopeful nor pithy. But nor is an easy answer on the horizon!

Source: „Mußten wir werden, wie wir sind?“ [“Did We Have to Become the Way We Are?”], Metall 1989, n. 10; reprinted in Christoph Kleßmann and Georg Wagner, eds., Das gespaltene Land. Leben in Deutschland 1945-1990 [The Divided Country. Life in Germany 1945-1990]. Munich, 1993, p. 45.

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