Quo vadis Deutschland? Part III German society... A divided society
"...a certain degree of division is arguably present in all societies and is a constant in human history." Here is how this applies to Germany.
According to historians, division is common in human societies. All human societies experience division. "...a certain degree of division is arguably present in all societies and is a constant in human history," according to Martin Jehne, historian of ancient history. The phenomenon of "division" in German society is not new. Indeed, division in society is something normal in Germany – from a historical point of view. Nevertheless, the Germans seem to be somewhat more "divisive" than other peoples. This is owing to a particular period in their history: the era of National Socialism and total defeat in the war.
The first documented division goes back to a monk in 16th century Wittenberg by the name of Martin Luther. He divided the church, and thus, created a schism among the believers in Germany, which then spread throughout the world.
The second great division occurred after WWII: with the creation of East and West Germany. In 1989, the (East) German Democratic Republic (GDR) collapsed leading to "Reunification", called "die Wende" ["the reversal"] in German... or as the critics term it, "the colonization of East Germany."
The then-Chancellor of West Germany (FRG) Helmut Kohl (1982-1989) pushed this reunification through, despite resistance against it by some European states, such as France, in exchange for his acceptance of the introduction of the euro, which he had previously opposed. Kohl promised the "new citizens" in East Germany "green pastures", which have not been seen to this day.
The "Iron Curtain" and the Berlin Wall were finally surmounted, but not the social division, which continues to this day in other forms. After the initial euphoria of the "pan-German" population and the consumer frenzy of the East Germans, sober reality set in. West German hubris clashed with the East German sense of inadequacy: And so it was "Wessi versus Ossi."
East Germany was laid open to looting by Westerners (not only Germans), who fell upon the enticing prey like vultures – which is not an unusual phenomenon in capitalist colonialism. Its still intact industry and agricultural businesses were sold off for peanuts. Millions of East Germans, for whom "unemployment" had been a foreign word until then, suddenly found themselves unemployed and would either have to take "any old job" or draw unemployment benefits or welfare to survive. Even today, between 80% and 95% of senior positions in the administration, the judiciary, higher education, banks, tax offices, and the federal secret service are held by West Germans.
Wages in the East are presently 67% to 90% lower than in the West for the same work. According to the data of the Federal Statistical Office, "West Germans earned 55,797 euros last year (2021) in manufacturing and services. East Germans received an average of only 43,624 euros. This corresponds to a salary difference of 12,173 euros a year."
Book author, analyst, consultant, and philosopher Bernd Liske wrote: "The East of Germany was annexed by the West, its existing competitive strength was obliterated, it was inundated with West German ideologies and it was transformed into a consumer's market for western wares and then into a cheap-labor state...". While the Wessis colonized the East, the Ossis got their "freedom to travel" and [bananas], but... they "lost their homeland". And after a while, even the initial "freedom to travel" (one of the motives for the "Peaceful Revolution" of the East Germans in 1989) was not feasible for everyone – due to their limited financial means.
The few East Germans who were able to hold high offices in the government (including Merkel) are regarded by the East Germans as "westernized Ossis".
While both known and unknown Nazis remained safe and sound in positions of authority for decades, and while the denazification measures introduced by the victorious powers ended up being hampered or even obstructed by various state and private organizations, a bureau of investigation was set up instead, in 1989, for the reappraisal of the "STASI" (the state security organ of the GDR) past and an inquiry into the involvement of the population with this organization. This inquisitorial bureau – known as the "Gaukbehörde" – launched a merciless witch-hunt for potential collaborators and informants of the Stasi... and only deepened the division of German society.
In the 1990s, the growing resentment of the East German population was deflected and directed toward the increased numbers of incoming immigrants and asylum seekers... Gangs and groups of neo-Nazis, right-wing skinheads, and other racists sprouted like mushrooms on East German soil. These ruthlessly hunted down "foreigners" and asylum seekers to attack them and even resorted to burning their homes and murdering them.
Interestingly enough, the neo-Nazis from both East and West found each other on this front and overcame their "division" – true to the motto, "what belongs together grows together" (Willi Brandt). This trend persists to this day. A pinnacle was reached with an interconnected series of murders of immigrants committed between 2000 and 2006, which went down in German history as the "NSU (National Socialist Underground) Affair".
The NSU Affair is too complex and convoluted a topic to be presented here. (Those interested can find detailed and compelling information on the internet.) Here, I would only like to mention that at the termination of the parliamentary and legal proceedings it was decided that all the files and final reports pertaining to the case were to be put aside and remain sealed for 120 years (this period was then reduced to 30 years following a heated outcry). The reason given for this decision was that the information could potentially "endanger the welfare of the state"... a justification that only reinforced the prevailing suspicion that the state was involved in these crimes.
The third significant division also came after 1945, following the war. The defeat suffered by the country and the disclosure of the crimes of the Nazi regime profoundly struck an already wounded "national pride" and German identity. Young people were especially affected, and the 1968 student revolt caused a deep rift between the younger and older generations and their politics.
This division, which manifested itself as a "psychologically divided personality," has dominated the Left and especially the Greens (the latter emerged from the 1968 student revolt) in their positions regarding Germany's domestic and foreign policy to this day. One of the fruits it bore was the unconditional, perverse support for "Israel" and Zionism alongside their uncritical, almost servile loyalty to the USA, and an internalized fear of the Russians. This circumstance enabled the USA (and "Israel") to dominate, manipulate, and direct these parties (particularly the Greens), along with the post-war generations who were deeply influenced by the Greens.
The prevailing hubris in the Nazi era ("we are the best") that had been suppressed after the war found another way to express itself through the Greens ("we are the good guys") with their sanctimonious flaunting of ethical principles (human rights, democracy, freedom), a habit that is common among religious extremists. The current Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, both Greens, are two shining examples of this mindset.