“Germany 1990 is not Germany 1939” – The British response to German unification

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Beschreibung des Verlags

When the first bricks and pieces of the Berlin Wall fell to the ground on 9 November
1989, the German soil might not have been the only thing that has been shaking on
that day: As soon as the news arrived in Number 10 Downing Street, London, the
floor in Margaret Thatcher’s office might have been shaking as well.
The metaphorical earthquake German reunification is considered today to have been
in those days did not only cause disorientation and confusion in both German states
but also in Great Britain.
Since the four victorious powers decided to split the German nation into four parts –
that later became only two – at the Yalta conference, the British felt save from their
greatest enemy during the Second World War. The balance of power between the
Soviet Union and the West seemed to be restored after the Cold War. Germany was
not strong enough to even try to start a new war, which caused a strong securely
feeling among the British people and its government.
Now, that this stony guarantee for peace got its first cracks it forced the peaceful
atmosphere – not only the British created in the bygone decades – to crack as well.
In this paper I want to describe the response of both British politicians and the British
people to the events that happened in the months between November 1989 and
October 1990, but mainly concentrate on two of the most important ones for British
politics during this time, namely the Nicholas Ridley affair and the revelation of the
minutes of the Chequers meeting.
The British press of course has not ignored these events. Since it became one of the
most important commentators on the upheaval that went on in Germany and the
British domestic discussions and affairs, I want to underline the statements and
comments made by politicians or other spokesperson of public opinions with excerpts
of British newspapers.


18. April
GRIN Verlag

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