East Germans On East and West

Neues Deutschland
(New Germany), the former official press organ of East Germany now turned left-wing journal, reports (g) on a poll of Germans from both the West and former East on their attitudes toward reunification. A few of the more interesting findings:

  • 75% of East Germans see the reunification of Germany as bringing them more advantages than disadvantages, as opposed to only 48% of West Germans. 25% of West and 15% of East Germans say reunification had mostly negative consequences.
  • East Germans under 29 have a 96% favorable view of reunification
  • 78% of former East Germans believed the school system of the former East Germany was superior to that of West Germany — up from 76% who believed this in 1995.
  • Majorities of former East Germans also have a positive view of East Germany's social insurance system, equality between the sexes, and healthcare. 57% of East Germans find the West German political system superior, but 19% of East Germans still prefer the ways of the German Democratic Republic.

I don't have much to add here, except that nobody should be surprised that West Germans have a mixed view of reunification, given that they have been paying a special additional tax (the 'solidarity surcharge') for the past two decades to assist in reunification. Nobody likes taxes, and many who supported it in 1997 think it's time to get rid of it.

2 thoughts on “East Germans On East and West

  1. About the solidarity surcharge:

    Contrary to what many West Germans believe, East Germans pay it, too. And it’s not used for specific Eastern purposes but flows into the general federal pot (which is why governments of any shape and colour are reluctant to get rid off it and we’ll probably all pay it until the end of time).

    About the money paid for the east in general:

    Whenever this topic comes up in mixed company, I suggest we switch sides next time. The West gets to be the “East” (and pay all of the entire Germany’s reparations to the Soviet Union, among other things) and the East gets to be the “West” (and gets the Marshall Plan, freedom etc.). We do this for forty years and then the Easterners will pay for the Aufbau West. Oddly, no Westerner has ever wanted to take me up on the offer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s