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The Volkskammer Decision on Accession (August 24, 1990)

During the night of August 23, 1990, after controversial discussions between the proponents of rapid unity and the supporters of continued independence, the GDR Volkskammer decided to accede to the Federal Republic on October 3, 1990. The following article from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung describes how two FRG politicians, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Deputy SPD Chairman Oskar Lafontaine, responded to the news.

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A Day of Joy for all Germans
Kohl thanks the Volkskammer, the Allies, Gorbachev/ Lafontaine also welcomes the accession decision.

In a government declaration before the Bundestag on Thursday, Chancellor Helmut Kohl spoke of “a historical event in German history” – his appraisal of the Volkskammer’s decision to expand the jurisdiction of the Basic Law to include the territory of the GDR as of October 3 and to thereby effect the GDR’s accession to the Federal Republic. “Today is a day of joy for all Germans. Wednesday, October 3, 1990, will be the date of reunification. It will be a great day in the history of our people. After more than forty years, that which the preamble of the constitution demands for ‘the entire German people’ will come to pass: ‘To achieve the unity and freedom of Germany in free self-determination,” said the chancellor.

Kohl said that it was a day to give thanks, as well as a day to offer respect and appreciation to colleagues in the Volkskammer and the government of the GDR for carrying out the task given to them by voters on March 18th.

Deputy SPD Chairman Oskar Lafontaine also welcomed the Volkskammer resolution, since he views it as a foundation upon which the people of East Germany would be able to live their lives in freedom. Lafontaine reminded listeners that political unification was a prerequisite for “real unity” – namely, the establishment of uniform living standards throughout Germany. At the same time, he referred to Carlo Schmid’s demand for a European nation, and spoke out for a new national concept, one that could be realized in a United States of Europe. Lafontaine also called for the creation of a constitutional council, which would prepare a new constitution on the fundaments of the Basic Law. This new constitution would then be put to a referendum in Germany.

The Bundestag approved an election agreement that evening, establishing the basis for the all-German Bundestag elections to be held on December 2nd.

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