How Germany Is Still Divided Today

How Germany Is Still Divided Today

Last week i made a video about how old
borders still impact countries today
focusing mostly on the old borders of
the german and austro-hungarian empire
in poland and romania and how the old
imperial borders are still visible in
local electoral results one of the other
countries i mentioned about this topic
and promised to further expand on was
germany germany has been divided various
times throughout history from the area
occupied by the romans the
semi-sovereign members of the holy roman
empire or the member states of the
german confederation but most of all
there has been one key moment of
division in germany which is also the
most recent one and whose impact and
effects are still visible today the
division between east and west germany
after german defeat in world war ii the
former german reich was dismantled the
allies had invaded from the west the
soviet union from the east they met in
the middle sort of and separate areas of
occupation were established depending on
where each side had invaded the west was
initially divided between a british zone
a french zone and a u.s control zone
while the east was fully under soviet
control with the exception of the
capital of berlin which followed the
same model of division as the entire
country eventually the three western
areas were joined creating the federal
republic of germany while the east was
established as the democratic republic
of germany despite being influenced by
the allies west germany was for all
intents and purposes independent while
east germany was heavily under the
soviet union’s sphere of influence and
due to this reality the two countries
developed in very different ways at very
different speeds west germany
experienced an economic wonder in 1955
later becoming the most wealthy european
economy while east germany deteriorated
as the soviets controlled its financial
system with little success doing so they
were different on everything politics
economics religion education even sports
the west’s capital was inborn and the
east was in east berlin a capital city
divided by the iconic wall that fell in
1989 with germany reuniting in 1990 but
while the country became whole again the
divisions between the two sides are
still immensely visible today even from
space east and west berlin used
different street lamps the east use
yellow sodium lights different from the
ones in the west today they’re the same
city but the old systems aren’t
electrically compatible and apparently
haven’t yet been replaced in full so you
can tell the old border through the
difference in the color of the lights
and within berlin as well the two sides
of the city support two different
football clubs so in this video we’re
going to take a look at a few of those
factors in which the division between
east and west is still visible in
germany attempting to understand why
that is the case keep in mind a lot of
this data is outdated most of the stats
are from 2011 or 2014 but i believe most
differences are still a reality today
the first indicator we can compare is
disposable income many of these are from
a great washington post article about
this topic in this map we can clearly
see that regions in the west have much
more disposable income than those in the
east disposable income is essentially
how much money you have left after
paying taxes this has to do with two
reasons first the different economic
development we mentioned earlier from
what i could search the industry in east
germany wasn’t that bad the problem is
that it was mostly state owned along
with the means of production and so
oddly reunification itself is another
reason after the fall of the berlin wall
east communist factories and companies
suddenly became privatized losing their
former organization and also having to
compete with their much more efficient
western rivals capitalism came too fast
many eastern german companies went
bankrupt and some regions never
recovered from the shock until today
income levels are much lower in the east
than in the west this is also visible
when it comes to unemployment rates this
research paper by authors john hall and
uru ludwig state that east germany has a
problem of persistent unemployment due
to two factors first east germany was
less industrialized and with unification
demand for east german labor declined
that’s visible on this other map about
the size of farms east german forms are
much larger perhaps a sign of a more
rural economy which is less and less
prevalent in developed countries and two
former eastern companies were privatized
and when they were they moved their hq
to the west therefore hiring more people
in those regions this economic situation
might be one of the consequences of the
next stats that show a difference
between east and west demographics the
percentage of young people among total
population is much higher in the west
this might be because people
understandably move to where there is
economic opportunity and a possibility
to have a good job and make a good
salary but it’s not just the younger
population that think life is best in
the west the gross average pensions are
also higher in west german states
population density itself in general is
also more concentrated in the west
likely for the same reasons the gdp per
capita is clearly highest in the south
and west and lower in the east with the
capital city being an exception and the
percentage of foreigners in east germany
is also much lower perhaps for the same
reason a lot of people moved to germany
to work and find good jobs that aren’t
available in the countries they
originally were from berlin is an
exception here with a very large foreign
community and another interesting
statistic that i found on the washington
post article about this is trash
production the west apparently produces
or at least did in this year much more
trash than the east this could have a
simple interpretation people in the west
make more money therefore they consume
more and because of this they produce
more trash but it could also be
something cultural although it’s odd
since the environmental concern is
higher in the west perhaps it still has
to do with agriculture and the fact that
there are many more farms in the east
perhaps more people still live off their
land and therefore don’t have the need
to produce trash by buying many products
also maybe having the possibility of
composting in their farms but again this
is just a guess from all the factors i
could find about the differences between
east and west east germany only had
better results than the west in two of
them the vaccination ratio of the flu
the soviet union famously had a large
immunization program throughout its
sphere of influence slash puppet states
and east germany was no exception and
also child care the amount of people
whose children get to have full-time
child care up to 2 years old is much
larger than in the west perhaps also a
remnant of certain soviet social care
policies not to mention the fact that
housing is cheaper in the east as well
as the general cost of living but
considering that unemployment is bigger
and salaries are lower it might end up
being the same as the west and not
necessarily an eastern advantage one
other differentiating factor is religion
germany is mainly divided in three main
belief types if you will roman catholics
protestants and non-religious the west
is divided between catholics and
protestants the south southwest is
mostly catholic while the north is
protestant this has to do with
historical reasons prior to the cold war
division but the east where these old
historical differences were also visible
is now almost entirely non-religious the
reason why might be the fact that the
soviet union did not promote religion
and even was against it in some ways
this is even visible in other religions
this map shows us the distribution of
muslim mosques throughout germany and
there are almost none in the east this
is also likely related to the fact that
most immigrants are in the west as we
saw earlier and the biggest immigrant
community in those western states are
turks while the most common in the east
are polish but still then they would be
catholic and they are mostly
non-religious and these religious and
cultural differences among other things
like all of the social economic factors
we just saw are perhaps the reason why
electoral results also differ between
east and west for instance the green
party gets much better results in west
germany fun fact the difference between
the lamps of east and west berlin were
apparently also to do with environmental
concerns of the west even at the time
while extremist parties get more votes
in the east perhaps a consequence of the
conservatism that was left after the
soviet union and finally one other
difference between east and west germany
according to the article is apparently
the usage or ownership of trailers it
states that if you travel to a
campground in germany you will easily
distinguish between the two groups
westerns and easterners east germans
usually camp using tents while west
germans have the habit of owning
trailers or caravans two reasons could
be the cause for this one tents are
cheaper than trailers and two the
article states that west germans were
able to travel outside the country while
east germans weren’t this before
unification and so it made sense for
some to have a moving trailer while
there was no point for the others to do
so but again this is just what the
article proposes there’s no confirmation
as to why this is actually a difference
between the two sides so those are a few
of the differences between east and west
germany today and how the country is
still divided in many factors and
indicators in modern times despite the
fact that they were reunited in 1940
over 32 years ago today those 45 or so
years under very different regimes were
enough to make mark the differences in
politics economics cultural religion
education pretty much everything were
tremendous as we move on with time and
new historical events take place they
will likely take over the role of that
which defines regional differences the
differences themselves become lessened
through time this graph shows us how
life satisfaction rates have gotten
closer since 1991 but many of them might
be in reality domino effects from the
same cold war division thanks so much
for watching this video subscribe if you
want and leave a comment below with your
opinions and thoughts about this and
whether or not there are any other
factors in which germany is divided be
it between east and west or some other
way i will see you next time for more
general knowledge

 

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