West Germany sustained what many call an “economic miracle” rebuilding after the war. Their social market economy allowed for individuals to be entrepeneurial and yet be socially responsible to the state. With so much rebuilding necessary, but an entire Western Europe and the United States ripe for importing and exporting, the economic future of the West was in high gear (Erhard, 2000). In contrast, East Germany as a client state to the Soviet Union, was part of the large buffer zone Moscow set up between themselves and the West. Because so much of the GDP either went back to Moscow or to run the Stasi, economic growth was typically stagnant, and there was little motivation for increased production or free spirit workers (Leonhard, 2000).
This also bled over politically; West Germany had free elections, East Germanys a ruse and the ruling elite chosen by Moscow. Socially, West German standards of living rose, the infrastructure was repaired, and the population rapidly reintegrated into Greater Europe while still remining true to their heritage. In the East, particularly after the Wall was built, many families felt disconnected since they could not visit or associate with any family in the West. Indeed, communication was monitored and limited even under extreme family situations.
Not only did this result in tension, the rapid economic growth in the West was rather demotivating socially as well for the East (Ibid). Finally, the contrast in allegiance was quite polar as well; West Germany clearly sided with the Western European countries, the United States, and the Commonwealth States of Great Britain (Canada and Australia). The East remined tied to Moscow, but only through tremendous political and military control and expenditures.
Colchester, N. (2001, January 1). D-Mark Day Dawns. Retrieved October 2010, from Financial Times.com: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/504285c4-68b6-11da-bd30-0000779e2340,dwp_uuid=6f876a3c-e19f-11da-bf4c-0000779e2340.html
Erhard, L. (2000). West Germanys Social Market Economy. In B. a. Perry, Sources of Twentieth Century Europe (pp. 390-92). New York: Macmillan.
Leonhard, W. (2000). The Communist Takeover of East Germany. In B. a. Perry, Sources of Twentieth Century Europe (pp. 338-41). New York: Macmillan.
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