The ongoing wave of GDR citizens leaving for the West, and the expectations they had about enjoying the benefits of political freedom and economic consumption as soon as possible, increased the pressure on politicians. The West German government responded with an unusual centralization of the decision-making powers in the Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of the Interior (11). On July 1, 1990, the social and economic unification of East and West Germany took place; the favorable exchange rate (i.e., for the East German Mark) was politically motivated and economically difficult to sustain: 1:1 for wages and salaries, and 1:2 for financial assets. The political unification of the two German states followed on October 3, 1990. In the unification treaty, representatives of both German governments agreed to carry out the merger in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law. Whereas Article 146 would have offered an opportunity to build a republic on the basis of a new constitution, the chosen course allowed the former GDR to be incorporated into the existing Federal Republic. This entailed the transfer of West German institutions, symbols, and laws onto the former GDR (12). In the course of administrative restructuring, the five East German federal states that had been dissolved in 1952 were reconstituted (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and Saxony). The intention, at least, was to maintain continuity rather than introduce change. Many factors contributed to this tendency: real and perceived time pressures, insufficient planning for the eventuality of unification, but also the conviction that the West German political and economic system had proven itself (13).
(11) Wolfgang Schäuble, Der Vertrag. Wie ich über die deutsche Einheit verhandelte. With an introduction by Dirk Koch and Klaus Wirtgen, eds. (Stuttgart, 1991); Horst Teltschik, 329 Tage. Innenansichten der Einigung (Berlin, 1991); Claus J. Duisberg, Das deutsche Jahr. Einblicke in die Wiedervereinigung1989/90 (Berlin, 2005).
(12) Wade Jacoby, Imitation and Politics: Redesigning Modern Germany (Ithaca, NY, and London, 2000).
(13) The following are representative of the abundant literature on the topic: Gerhard Lehmbruch, “Die deutsche Vereinigung: Strukturen und Strategien” Politische Vierteljahresschrift 32 (1991), pp. 585-604; Roland Czada, “Schleichweg in die ‘Dritte Republik’. Politik der Vereinigung und politischer Wandel in Deutschland,” Politische Vierteljahresschrift 35, 2 (1994), pp. 245-70.