Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

Thirty years of German unity

Social Cohesion in a united Germany. English Summary.

  • 1. edition 2020, 8 pp (PDF)
  • Free of charge

The third of October 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of German reunification. The debate over whether, and if so at what pace, a Germany that “belongs together is growing together” is just as old. Differences between the federal states of the former West Germany and the former East Germany persist even today. However, this study takes the occasion of this anniversary to look instead at the unifying elements within our society. Its goal is to explore what holds German society together in 2020, and how the people here look back on unification and the protracted process of growing together. In this regard, today’s Germany differs in many respects from the freshly reunified country of 1990. Among other changes, the diversity has become much greater, and is much more visible. Today’s Germany is slowly but steadily developing a new conception of itself as a country of immigration. The last 30 years have been shaped in many ways by this often contradictory and even painful process. Therefore, in this study, German unification is regarded not just as the process through which residents of the former East and West Germany have grown together, but also as one that has brought together Germans both with and without a migration background.

This is the Englisch summary. The full study is available only in German: 30 Jahre deutsche Einheit. Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt im vereingten Deutschland.