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German Political & Economic History (Chronology), 1945 - 1997

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Chronology

1945
Feb.4-11 Yalta Conference: Among other topics: Occupation of Germany
May 7-9 Signing of German Surrender
July 1-4 Withdrawel of British & American troops from East Germany; Western troops entered Berlin
June 5 Berlin Declaration by the Allies assuming supreme powers in Germany
July 17-Aug.2 Potsdam Conference: Among others topics: Occupation Zones
1946
April Amalgamation of the K.P.D. and S.P.D. to form the S.E.D. in the East
Dec.2 Washington Treaty on the economic unification of the British and American zones.
1947
June 5 Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposes a program of economic assistance for Europe in a commencement address at Harvard University
June 27 British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin arranges conference to discuss the proposal by Marshall. Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov fears interference with national sovereignty and withdraws from conference
July 12 Paris Conference attended by delegates from 16 European countries opens to devise a recovery plan; Soviets decline to attend and prevent other Eastern European from participation
Dec.19 President Truman sends draft of European Recovery Plan bill (later known as "Marshall Plan") to Congress
1948
March U.S.House approves Marshall Plan, 318-75; Senate 69:17
March 20 Last session of Allied Control Commission (Disunity among occupation powers)
April 3 Truman sign Marshall Plan bill into law.
June 20/21 Currency Reform in Western zones (introducing Deutsche Mark)
June 26 Start of Berlin Airlift (Luftbrücke) after Soviets blockaded all land access to Berlin; marked the beginning of the 40-year U.S. commitment to the freedom of (West) Berlin.
1949
May 12 'Berlin Blockade' is lifted by Soviets
May 23 "Basic Law" (Grundgesetz) as Westgermany's Constitution
August 14 Election of first Bundestag
Sept.12 Election of Theodor Heuss (FDP) as first (West) German Federal President
Sept.15 Election of Konrad Adenauer (CDU) as first Federal Chancellor
Oct.7 GDR (DDR) was formally established
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1950
Jan.6 End of Food Rationing in West Germany
June 25 Start of Korean War (until cease fire on July 27, 1953)
1951
April 18 Signing (in Paris) of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty
1952
May 26 Signing (in Bonn) of FRG's "Germany Treaty" (which includes reunification as a political goal)
May 27 Signing (in Paris) of the European Defense Community (EDC)
Sept.10 Signing of the Reconciliation Treaty between Israel and West Germany
1953
March 3 Death of Stalin
June 17 Uprising in East Berlin & East Germany
July 27 Cease Fire in Korea
Dec.1 George Marshall is awarded Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the economic recovery of Europe.
1954
Jan.25-Feb.18 Abortive Four-Power Conference in Berlin on German re-unification.
Oct.23 Signing of the Paris Agreements. FRG/BRD is invited to join NATO permitting West German rearmament (Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the Accession of the Federal Republic of Germany), and Italy and the FRG/BRD accede to the Western European Union (WEU).
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1955
May 5 Paris Treaty in force (establishing sovereign for West Germany [FRG/BRD])
May 14 Founding of Warsaw Pact (including the GDR/DDR)
Sept.9-13 Chancellor Adenauer visits Moscow
Oct 23 Population of the Saar rejects the "European Saar-Statute", i.e. a European territory (67.7% No).
1956 "Treaty of Rome" (establishing the EEC [European Economic Community])
Feb. 20-23 The Free Democrats (FDP) forced the dawnfall of the Arnold Government in North Rhine Westphalia. FDP then leaves the Federal Government coalition.
Aug 17 Communist Party is declared unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court
Oct 27 German-French Saar Treaty signed in Luxembourg
1957
Jan 1 The Saar returns to Germany as a Land (to be followed in 3 years by economic reintegration)
Jan 22/TD> Bundestag passes the Pension Reform Law
March 25 The Treaty of Rome is signed establishing the European Economic Community
April 1 Bundeswehr (German Military) drafts first 10,000
Sept 15 The election to the Lower House ("Bundestag") establishes an absolute majority for the CDU/CSU
1958
Nov.27 "Berlin Ultimatum" issued by the Soviet Union
1959
Juli 1 Election of Heinrich Luebke to be Federal President
Nov 13-15 SPD Godesberg Party meeting establishing new party program (renouncing traditional socialist values)
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1960
Juli 1 Herbert Wehner for the SPD, in a speech to the Bundestag, accepts rearmament and Western integration of the FRG/BRD
1961
Aug.12/13 Begin of the building of the Berlin Wall
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1962
Oct 14-28 Cuba Crisis
Oct/Nov Spiegel Affair, resignation of Federal Secretary of Defense, Franz-Joseph Strauss
1963
Jan 22 French-German Friendship Treaty is signed in Paris
1964
1965
1966
Oct 26 FDP ministers resign from Erhard's coalition cabinet
Dec 1 Formation of a "Grosse Koalition" between CDU/CSU and SPD under new Chancellor Kiesinger
1967
Jan 31 FRG/BRD and Rumania establish diplomatic relations, relaxation of the Hallstein Doctrine
Feb 14 "Konzertierte Aktion": Process of "concerted action" starts under leadership of Economics Minister Schiller
April 19 Konrad Adenauer (5. 1. 1876 - 19. 4. 1967) dead; (Bundeskanzler von 1949-1963)
June 8 Bundestag passes Stability Law
1968
April 11-17 Student leader Dutschke is murdered; Berlin and other German cities experience "Easter Riots".
May 30 Emergency Decree passed by Bundestag
Aug.21 Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia
1969
March 5 Gustav Heinemann (SPD) is elected new Federal President
Sept 28 SPD makes considerable gains in Bundestag elections
Oct 21/22 Bundestag elects SPD Chairman Willy Brandt as Chancellor and head of the new coalition government (SPD & FDP)
Nov 28 Signing of Treaty in which FRG foregoes right to produce nuclear weapons
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1970
March 19 Meetings between FRG Chancellor Willy Brandt and GDR Chairman (of Council of Ministers) Stoph in Erfurt (East Germany)
May 21 Meeting (return visit) between FRG Chancellor Willy Brandt and GDR Chairman Stoph in Kassel (West Germany)
Aug.12 Signing of Westgerman - Soviet Non-Agression Pact in Moscow
Dec.7 Signing of Westgerman - Polish Treaty in Warsaw
1971 Erich Honecker succeeds Walter Ulbricht as GDR/DDR's head of government and of the Party (resigned Oct.19, 1989)
Sept.3 Signing of the Four Powers Agreement on Berlin
Dec 10 Chancellor Willy Brandt receives Nobel Peace Prize
1972
Dec.21 Signing of Basic Treaty between GDR/DDR and FRG/BRD in East Berlin
1973
Sept 18 DDR and FRG become members of the United Nations
October Beginning of the World Oil Crisis after Arab countries restrict deliveries and increase prices
1974
May 6 Resignation of Willy Brandt after East-German spy was uncovered on his personal staff
May 15 Election of Foreign Secretary Scheel (FDP) as Federal President
May 16/17 Election of Finance Minister Helmut Schmidt (SPD) as new Chancellor (head of the continuing SPD/FDP coalition government)
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1975 Helsinki Agreements: CSCE (Council for Security & Cooperation in Europe)
1977 Murder by terrorists of several West-German VIPs
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1980 Chancellor Helmut Schmidt visits Moscow
1981 Chancellor Helmut Schmidt visits East Germany
1982
Oct 1 From Helmut to Helmut: Schmidt becomes the first Federal Chancellor to be unseated by a "constructive vote of no-confidence" after the FDP had withdrawn their support to join the CDU/CSU in a new coalition headed by by Dr. Helmut Kohl (vote: 256:235)
1984
Oct.2 Temporary closure of the West German Embassy in CSR, after East Germans tried to force emigration to West Germany by occupying embassy
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1985
March 11 Michail Gorbatschow becomes new secretary of the KPdSU. Beginning of 'Glasnost' and 'Perestroika'.
1987
June 12 President Ronald Reagan in Berlin: "Mr. Gorbatschow, tear down this wall!" Start of large flows of emigrants from East European countries to West Germany
1988
July 1 "Real Estate Exchange" in Berlin to reduce total length of wall: now 155 kilometers
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1989
Feb.5 Last potential refugee (Chris Gueffroy) killed at wall
May 2 Hungary begins to dismantle Iron Curtain followed by mass escapes from East Germany via Hungary
Sept.4 Monday Demonstrations begin in Leipzig, rapidly increasing in size from week to week.
Sept.11Hungary opens officially its border to Germans from the GDR.
Sept.30Some 6,000 refugees from the GDR are allowed to leave the German Embassy in Prague to travel to the Federal Republic of Germany (also 800 from Warsaw).
Oct 6/7 GDR government and Central Committee celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the GDR, in the presence of Michail Gorbatschow (who appeals for reforms ("Those who are coming too late will be punished by life"). Predication by Honecker that the GDR will be successfully entering the next century...
Oct.9An estimated 70,000 people in Leipzig and 12,000 in Dresden demonstrate against the SED regime. During their so-called Monday demonstrations they chant, "We are the people!". Bloodshed avoided in Leipzig at the last minute
Oct.18 Egon Krenz succeeds Erich Honnecker
Nov.4 Largest demonstration in GDR/DDR history in East Berlin (for democratic reforms).
Nov.6 Largest "Monday Demonstration" in Leipzig with over 500,000 people (chanting: "Deutschland, einig Vaterland!")
Nov.7 GDR/DDR Council of Ministers resigns
Nov.8 The Politburo of the S.E.D. resigns. New Politburo includes representatives of reform wing of the party. Egon Krenz becomes General Secretary.
Nov.9The Berlin Wall and the border to the Federal Republic of Germany are opened after 28 years. Tens of thousands of people from the GDR cross the sectoral borders into West Berlin. Several million travel to West Germany in the days that follow.
Nov.10 Kohl interrupts visit to Poland and comes to Berlin to participate in highly emotional mass rally (in front to Schoeneberger Rathaus) together with Hans-Dietrich Genscher (foreign secretary), Mayor Walter Momper and ailing Willy Brandt)
Nov.13 Hans Modrow becomes GDR/DDR premier, suggest partnership treaty with FRG/BRD;
Nov.28Chancellor Kohl presents a Ten-Point Program for "confederative structures" and a federation between the two German parts in the Bundestag for ending Germany's division.
Dec.1 Constitutional change in DDR/GDR: End of supreme role of SED
Dec.4 Central Committee and Politburo of GDR/DDR resign en masse
Dec.16 The Advisory Council of the FRG's Ministry of Economics recommends uniting the two parts of Germany "under a common political roof".
Dec.20 Modrow and Kohl agree on a partnership treaty
Dec.22The Brandenburg Gate is opened.
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1990
Jan.10 GDR/DDR residents are now allowed to rent out rooms to western tourists, but have to turn part of the foreign currency to local government
Jan.14 GDR/DDR announces radical economic policy change ... to introduce social market economy, break with command economy. Prime Minister Modrow meets with Daimler CEO Reuter
Jan.17 "Foreign Banks to Open Branches in West Berlin" (due to expected economic importance in the future)
Feb 6 Supplementary federal budget (DM 7 bill) with 6 bill for aid to GDR/DDR and resettlement; increase in federal debt to DM 33.5 bill and 1990 budget to 307 bill.
Feb.10Chancellor Kohl and Foreign Minister Genscher meet with Gorbachev in Moscow. Gorbachev gives fundamental assurance that the Germans may live together as one nation.
Feb.13 Second Intra-German Summit in Bonn: "Monetary Union closer", credits available, repayment exchange rate 2.4 : 1. Land purchases in East remain impossible; Kohl + Modrow agree to form a commission of experts which would begin preparatory talks on currency union and an economic community.
Feb.15 Kohl reaffirms stand against German neutrality
Feb.27 European Community judge sees EC payments to East Germany as similar to payments to Portugal, Greece and Sicily.
March 1 Treuhand: GDR/DDR takes steps toward market economy: state-owned corporations are changed to stock companies. Trust corporation (Treuhandanstalt) will be formed to administer state-owned property (Initially in charge of 9,100 former state-owned enterprises with 40,000 facilities and 3.8 million employment; be directly responsible to GDR Council of Ministers. Law to bwe prepared to allow business to set up freely in the GDR.
March 5 The 4 largest West German publishers begin with large-scale distribution of West German 'press products' in the GDR/DDR (73 newspapers and journals)
March 6 New East German labor union law (allowing strikes but prohibiting lockouts) draws criticism in the West
March 18Free elections to the People's Chamber (parliament) of the GDR are held for the first time.
March 27Western constitutional law experts favor German Unity according to Article 23 of Grundgesetz
March (end) Following the announcement of a planned monetary union and the election victory of a conservative alliance in the GDR, many West German companies announce intentions to set up joint ventures, subsidiaries and branch plants in the East. (1,100 such declarartions ahve been "agreed-upon" since Leipzig Fair earlier in March
April 23 The federal government and representatives of the govering coalition (CDU, CSU and FDP) have agreed on a proposal setting the basic exchange rate for East German marks at 1:1 for wages and salaries, pensions and for cash and savings up to DM 4,000 East German marks per person (amounts beyond this maximum would be exchanged 2:1)
April 24 Chancellor Kohl and GDR Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere confirmed in Bonn that the economic, social and currency union between the FRG and GDR should go into effect on July 2.
April 25 Oskar Lafontaine, Saarland Prime Minister and the chancellor candidate of the Social Democrats, was attacked and seriously wounded by a woman who stabbed him in the throat during a state election campaign rally in Cologne (Koeln).
May 5The first round of the "Two-plus-Four" talks is held in Bonn. The two German states and the four victorious powers of WWII discuss security issues connected with Germany unity.
mid May Justice ministers take steps to harmonize legal systems
mid May Telephone modernization in GDR to cost DM 30 bill
May 18The Treaty establishing a Monetary, Economic and Social Union between the GDR and the Federal Republic is signed in Bonn. It goes into effect on 1 July.
June 17The Treaty establishing a GDR passes "Treuhandgesetz" on the basis of which the (already existing) Treuhandanstalt developed "Guidelines" for its business policy. Its credit line (originally set at DM 17 billion in the FRG-GDR Unification Treaty of May 18) was increased to DM 25 billion.
July 1The Treaty establishing a German Monetary Union
July 1 Anti-Trust laws similar to those in FRG become effective in GDR (approval requirement of large mergers). First five East-West ventures were approved involving insurance and banking.
July 1The Treaty establishing a Resettlers from GDR/DDR no longer receive special financial aid. Total of 190,973 resettlers from GDR/DDR have arrived in FRG/BRD since Jan.1
July 2 Warning strikes by 30,000 workers from 30 East German firms ... while contract negotiations are going on for metal workers in Brandenburg (asking for 2 year employment guaranty and DM 400 wage increase)
July 16Upon conclusion of two days of talks with President Gorbachev in the Caucasus, Chancellor Kohl announces that the Soviet Union agreed to united Germany's continued NATO membership.
Aug.31Interior Minister Schäuble and the State Secretary to the East German Prime Minister, Günther Krause, sign the Unification Treaty. Upon the GDR's accession to the Federal Republic under Article 23 of the Basic Law, the states of the GDR will become states of the Federal Republic. Berlin will be Germany's capital. The Basic Law will also apply to the eastern part of the country, with certain modifications.
Sept.12The Two-plus-Four Treaty is signed in Moscow. According to Article 1 of the Basic Law, united Germany will comprise the territories of the GDR, the Federal Republic and Berlin. The borders are confirmed as definitive. The rights and responsibilities of the four victorious powers with respect to Berlin and to Germany as a whole will end upon ratification of the treaty. Consequently, united Germany will then assume full sovereignty over its internal and external affairs.
Sept 20 Bundestag (Lower House, FRG/BRD) and Volkskammer (GDR/DDR) ratify Unification Treaty
Sept 30 The 44 year-old Free German Federation of Unions, the umbrella organization for all unions in the GDR/DDR, disbands.
Oct.3The GDR comes under the jurisdiction of the Basic Law and ceases to exist. Germany is united as one state. "Day of German Unity"
Oct.6The Corporation for Retail Privatization, an independent subsidiary of the Treuhandanstalt, starts operations
Nov.12 CDU Party leadership decides not to increase taxes
Nov.14 German-Polish Border Treaty signed in Warsaw
Nov.(end) Unemployment:
East: 6.7% (589,000; up by 52,400 in November)
West: 6.4% (down from 7.6 in Nov.1989)
Dec.2The first all-German Bundestag elections are held.
CDU: 36.7% || SPD: 33.5% || FDP: 11% || CSU: 7.1% || Greens: 3.9% || PDS: 2.4%
Dec.18 Nuclear Power Plant (Kernkraftwerk) Greifswald (East Germany) permanently shut down (resulting in contractual penalties [purchase of fuel rods] to be paid to the Soviet Union)
Dec.21 West German Television begins with East German broadcasts
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1991
Jan.17The Deutscher Bundestag elects Helmut Kohl as chancellor of united Germany.
JanuaryEberhard Diepgen (CDU, earlier mayor of West Berlin from 1984-89) becomes first, freely elected mayor of the re-united Berlin
January Institute of German Business in Cologne: Based on a recent study, 3.7 million jobs are expected to disappear in the former GDR/DDR by 1992.
Feb.26 Government coalition parties agree on tax increases
March 4 2+4 Treat ratified by Supreme Soviet of the USSR
March 15 2+4 Treaty becomes effective; FRG attains full sovereignty
March 22 Bundesrat (Upper House) approved law facilitating resultion of ownership questions of state-owned companies. Law upholds principle of returning property to former owners.... but with exceptions.
March 25 Demonstration against Treuhand and massive unemployment in towns throughout the new states. A major slogan: "Rehabilitation, Not Blind Privatization!"
March (end) Treuhand: 1261 companies have been sold!
April 1 Treuhand's president Detlef Rohwedder killed by terrorists in his house in Duesseldorf
April 13 Election of Birgit Breuel as new President of Treuhand
April 24 Pensions in Eastern states to increase by 15% as of July 1.
May 10 Treuhand: sold 1596 companies and has contractually secured 324,000 jobs
June 17 Bankrupt East German firms will leave debts of at least DM 300 billion by 1993. "No one could have foreseen in the Fall of 1990 just how desolate and catastrophic things were."
June 20The Bundestag votes (337 for Berlin, 330 for Bonn) to make Berlin the seat of government and parliament. Bonn will remain administrative center and receives the designation "federal city."
June 30 End of layoff protection in East Germany for 1 million employees
June (end) Unemployment
East: 842,500 (9.5%) [reduced work schedules (in June): - 60,000 to slightly more than 1.9mill)
West: 1.6mill (5.3%) [reduced work schedules: +51,200 to 162,500]
July 5 Bundesrat decides to remain -- for the time being -- in Bonn (38:30)
July 9 Government decides on subsidy reduction plan (- DM 30 billion)
1992: 9.7bill. | 1993: 11.7bill. | 1994: 11.9bill.
Sept.4 First drop in East German unemployment recorded (12.1%)
Dec.9/10 Maastricht Meeting of EC countries' heads of state
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1992
September First General Motors/Opel car leaves assembly line in Eisenach (East Germany)
Oct.8 Willy Brandt dies at the age of 78
Oct.12 First Russian firm buys East German company
Nov.22 Turkish woman & two children killed in Moelln (Schleswig-Holstein)
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1993
Jan. 1 Merger of two of the largest German steel corporations, Krupp and Hoesch into the Krupp Hoesch AG.
Jan. 1 New "Health Law" goes into effect, requiring cost reduction and increase in patients' contributions; savings expected to be DM 11.4 billion.
Jan. 14 Charges against Erich Honnecker were dropped due to illness (cancer)
May 19 Danish population votes for Maastricht Treaty (56.8%)
May 28 "'Solidarity Pact' approved by Bundestag and Bundesrat to transfer more than DM 100 billion per year to Eastern part of Germany. Income taxes will be increased on July 1, 1993. This "solidarity surcharge" will reach a level of 7.5% on Jan 1, 1995
May 28 Privatization of the Privatization Process: As part of the "solidarity pact", the Association of German Banks announced the foundation of the Beteiligungsgesellschaft Neue Laender (investment company for the new states). The goal of the new company is to take over and later privatize small to medium-sized Treuhand-held companies ("wish to develop potential that may have been neglected in previous privatization efforts").
May 28 Legalization of first trimester abortion is declared unconstitutional by German Constitutional Court (thus reversing new law before it went into effect; but: will not be prosecuted). Abortion was legal in GDR/DDR.
May 29 Arson attack in the city of Solingen (North Rhine-Westphalia, population 166,000) killing five Turkish residents (all members of one family who had had lived in Germany for 23 years) leading to many spontaneous pro-Turkish, anti-xenophobia, sympathy demonstrations and to a public discussion about right-wing activities and the role of "skinheads" in Germany
June 25 Rudolf Scharping elected (SPD) Party Chair; declares his candidacy for chancellor
June 30 Naturalization of foreigners is governed by the Nationality Act of 1913 and a number of special acts. In order to facilitate the integration of foreigners who were born here, have grown up here, or have lived in the FRG for at least 15 years, they have a legal entitlement to naturalization under sections 85 ff. of the Aliens Act as amended on 30 June 1993.
July 1 Changes in asylum laws go into effect: Germany will not accept asylum seekers who have entered Germany through neighboring countries that have been declared secure third countries, or whose countries of origin have been declared secure under the German asylum provisions.
Sept 2 Federal canbinet approves the 100-page "Location Report" (Standortbericht) a report on Germany's attractiveness (or unattractiveness) as a site for industrial investments
Oct.12 Announcement of timing of moving seat of government to Berlin by year 2000 (cost still estimated to be DM 20-30 billion)
Oct.12 Germany's Constitutional Court removes final hurdle to ratification of Maastricht Treaty ... "compatible with democratic principles", rejecting several appeals.
Nov.1 Maastricht Treaty becomes effective (Germany last country to ratify treaty)
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1994
Jan 1 Volkswagen AG introduces the 4-day week (incl. a reduction from 36 hours to 28.8 hours per week) to save 20% wage costs and avaoid mass layoffs. Flexible worktime arrangements will permits plants to be operated 5 days per week.
May 23The first all-German election of the head of state is held and Roman Herzog, president of the Federal Constitutional Court at the time, is elected federal president by the Federal Convention in Berlin.
Aug.31President Boris Yeltsin and Chancellor Helmut Kohl take leave of the last Russian troops during ceremonies in Berlin.
Sept.8Ceremonies to mark the departure of American, British and French troops are held in Berlin in the presence of Secretary of State Christopher, Prime Minister Major, President Mitterand and Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The chancellor thanks the western allies for defending West Berlin's freedom over the decades.
Dec.31The Treuhandanstalt privatization agency ends its work, having privatized some 15,000 formerly "publicly owned" companies or corporate divisions during the previous four years.
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1995
Jan.1 Treuhandanstalt (The German privatization agency) is disbanded. Founded in 1990, Treuhand was once the largest holding company in the world. In 4 1/2 years, 13,800 firms and parts of firms were privatized
Jan.1A "solidarity surcharge" on income and corporate taxes goes into effect. Reorganized as part of the solidarity pact, revenue sharing between the federal states is carried out in its new form for the first time in 1995. As a consequence, Germany's new states are full and equal partners in an all-German financial equalization system between the federal states and the federal government.
Jan.13 Number of Asylum-Seekers drop sharply in 1994 (127,210 = 60% decrease from the 1993 figure of 322,599, itself a 26% drop from 1992)
March Germany joins other countries in urging Turkey to exercise moderation (in operations against the Kurds in Northern Iraque); PKK (Kurdish Wirkers Party) attacks against Turks in Germany continue
April 27 An OECD study comes to the conclusion that Germany provided 2/3 of all the assistance (from the G24 industrialized countries) to East European countries (incl. the former Soviet Union) between 1990 and 1993. However, Austria ranked first based on the percentage of GNP for 1992 and 1993.
May 8 Germans debate the meaning of May 8 (1945), the end of World War II
June 26 Heads of state of 15 EU countries endorsed recent decision of their finance ministers to postpone the introduction of the common European currency from 1997 (as planned in Maastricht) to no later than Jan.1, 1999. "All the member states recognized the importance of achieving the stability criteria specified in the Maastricht Treaty as a precondition for currency union." At present, only Germany, Ireland, and Luxembourg fall within the allowable limits of government indebtedness.
July 6 Prime Minister Johannes Rau of Nordrhein-Westfalen is reelected for the fifth time, but now governing in a coalition with the Greens.
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1996
Jan 8 Francois Mitterrand (former French President) dies after long battle with cancer; "friend of Germany" and "European visionary".
Feb 14 The Federal Cabinet has approved a pension reform plan taking effect immediately. Retirement age with full pension benefits for men increases in 3 stages (by 1999) from 60 to 63. Women's retirement age remains unaffected (60). Older workers will be able to work part-time and receive half salary, half pension. Men who still want to retire at 60 will have to accept reduction in pension benefits.
March 19 Federal Minister of the Environment, Angela Merkel, declares that U.S. is now ahead of Germany in Recycling Technology
March 29 Heads of state of current 15 members of EU meet in Turin (Italy) to prepare what has been dubbed as "Maastricht II" (possibly including an "employment charter")
May 8The first Goethe Institute in the new states is opened in Weimar.
May 10 Voters in Brandenburg reject a proposed merger with Berlin (with 62.7% No) (Berliners had voted in favor of a merger by 53.4 [58.7 Yes in West Berlin, 54.7 No in East Berlin])
Oct.2The federal, state and local governments agree to funnel the new state's debts from GDR days - a total of DM 8.4 billion - into a fund for the amortization of debt from the former GDR. It is estimated that the federal government and the new states will have to pay DM 315 million a year for the next 30 years to retire this debt.
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1997
May 22Chancellor Kohl and representatives of industry and trade unions present the Joint Initiative for More Jobs in Eastern Germany in Berlin.
Oct 2 Treaty of Amsterdam (European Union)
1998
March 1 Gerhard Schröder and his Social Democrats win the state elections in Lower Saxony by an enlarged majority. He thereby has become the challenger for Helmut Kohl's job in the federal elections in September.
Sept. 27 Wahl zum Deutschen Bundestag: Gerhard Schröder wird der dritte SPD-Bundeskanzler [Beginning of the Red-Green Coalition under Schroeder as chancellor; see Charles Lees].
1999
April 19 Germany reopens renovated Reichstag
Aug 2 New German language law doesn't spell satisfaction, Seattle Times, August 2, 1999
BONN - The German language is supposed to become a little easier today when a controversial reform takes effect - but critics say the changes spell only trouble.
Dec 1999 / Jan 2000 The arrogance of power Seattle Times, Jan 21, 2000: As auditors unearth more secret contributions to Germany's Christian Democrats, former chancellor Helmut Kohl's claim of principled silence is really obstruction of justice.
2000
Jan 2000 January 23, 2000: Kohl Scandal Threatens Germany's Stability By William Drozdiak Washington Post Foreign Service
2001
Dec 10 German Army committing about 1000 soldiers to UN Peace troops
Germany will commit about 1000 soldiers to the planned UN peace force in Afghanistan, according to reports from coalition circles.
Dec "The 11 September" word of the year 2001 "The 11 September" is the word of the year 2001. The Association for the German Language in Wiesbaden said that their choice was based on the fact that this date had been at the center of world-wide discussions. Runners-up were "anti-terror war", "anthrax attack" and "sleepers", all related to the attacks in the US.
2002
Jan 1 Introduction of Euro currency:
Millions of Germans have used New Year's Day to acquire euros. In many cities banks were open in spite of the holiday to provide their clients with the new money. The European Central Bank assumes that the new currency will have replaced the old DM within a few days in Germany.

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Stations along the road to German unification: Much has changed - much has yet to be done

"At the time, there were indications that it could all be achieved somewhat more easily, more quickly and with less sacrifice. In October 1990, it looked as if living conditions in the eastern part of the country could be put on par with the western part within ten years' time. Today we know that it will take considerably longer to reach this goal.

Despite this, Germany's new federal states have obviously seen positive change in the years since 1990. New roads and railway lines have been built. The world's most modern telecommunications network has been installed. Billions have been spent to clean up the environment. Thousands of homes have been repaired and historical buildings restored. Numerous factories and businesses have been modernized or established. Approximately DM 1 trillion has been invested in construction and development to date, and it will be necessary to invest large sums in the future as well. This will require considerable financial sacrifice. But the Germans want this change and are therefore willing to make sacrifices for it.

The pictures in this exhibition can provide only glimpses of what has been accomplished in the eastern part of Germany since unification. They document the stations of an upheaval that is unique in history, a radical change that is coupled with hopes and expectations, and yet cannot be achieved without setbacks and disappointments.

The photos on display here do not showcase spectacular subjects or the gigantic projects that make the headlines. Here, it is the less conspicuous changes which make it evident that the people in eastern Germany have gained the hope and confidence necessary to take their future into their own hands once again." (Bundespresseamt)

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