Differences Between East And West Germany

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After World War II, Germany was divided into two halves, as well as Berlin. The United States, Great Britain, and France occupied the western portion of Germany and the western half of Berlin. The eastern half of Germany and Berlin was occupied by the Soviet Union. This led to major differences between the two halves of Germany. This also led to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Each side of Germany had different economies, held separate ideologies, societies, alliances, and political systems, and each side dealt with the memories of World War II in a different way. One of the major differences between East and West Germany is how they came to terms with their past, Vergangenheitsbewaltigung is the word used to describe this. Jeffrey Herf wrote Divided Memory and goes into great detail as to how East and West Germany dealt with, or did not deal with, the memories associated with World War II. He states that the West German government made the Holocaust a central part of their society. West Germany “offered financial restitution to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, established close relations with the state of Israel, gave the Holocaust a place in the national political memory, and … conducted more trials of suspected perpetrators of crimes committed during the Nazi ear.” On the contrary, East Germany chose to suppress the memories of the Holocaust by not paying restitutions, got rid of leaders attempting to talk about the memories, and supported Israel’s
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