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Extra info for Developments in German Politics
No one publicly suggested that Germany should choose, but there was much uncertainty and confusion as to how it should be accomplished and what the long-term effect would be on the Community. Would it, for instance, prove to be so time-consuming and expensive as to derail the Single Market Programme? Should it be accompanied, as Mrs Thatcher suggested, by an extension of the Community eastwards? The European Community's response to the developing German situation was defined in the first instance by the French and Irish William E.
The tendency of many in the East to regard themselves as passive victims of succeeding dictatorships is to some extent called into question by this development. The failure to come to terms with the Nazi period is also reflected in the support given by some younger people to neoNazi parties. It is, however, the behaviour of the former citizens of the GDR between 1949 and 1989 that raises the sharpest and most divergent responses. Many in the West point to the lack of resistance and to the readiness of those who remained in the GDR to cooperate with the regime, including the Stasi.
The unresolvable questions concern the speed with which unification was effected and the means used to achieve it. With the knowledge now of the social and economic consequences of unification - large-scale unemployment, economic bankruptcy, social dislocation - it is natural to ask whether they could have been avoided or at least ameliorated if a different course had been adopted. Should not Article 146 have been employed rather than Article 23, on the argument that the people of the GDR should have felt themselves to be equal partners?