Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of German Reunification

The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of German reunification. On October 3rd, 1990, East and West Germany, which were divided after World War II, were reunited into one nation. Only a year prior to the re-unification, nobody thought that the Wall would ever come down or the end of the Cold War would be in sight and therefore an end of the post-war area as we know it, would be imaginable.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall was a major turning point that affected not only Germany and Europe but vast areas of the rest of the world. The following reunification created a new Europe while establishing better ties with allies such as the United States. The division of East and West was a tangible and psychological barrier and its dissolution is a symbol of freedom and peaceful revolution leading to a long awaited reunification.

Germans gratefully remember the role the United States played in making German unity possible. Reunification is a watershed event in the history of German-American relations that was triggered as I said by a peaceful revolution and made possible by the 2+4-Treaty between the former World War II Allies and the two German states, it meant full sovereignty for Germany after more than 40 years and was a key factor leading to the end of the Cold War. It also serves to remind us of the power of democracy – one of the core values shared by the US and Germany.

In the “25 Years of German Unity” campus weeks, we will investigate the factors and roles from around the world that played into the reunification of Germany. We will put a major focus on political, social, and cultural events and movements that led up to and brought about the only successful and peaceful revolution in Germany.

We will engage students by relating to events before, during and after reunification of East and West Germany to their own lives and society. These fast moving events are prime examples of soft and social skills students are challenged to learn; such as being open and flexible to new ideas and new beginnings, being accepting of uncertainty, and being able to work in a team and implement creativity.

Building on the huge success of the 2014 “25 Years of the Fall of the Wall” Campus Weeks, we will again be opening up this year’s campus campaign to local high schools and to the wider Twin Cities German Community.

We hope to not only educate students about the history of the events leading up to reunification and America’s role in the political and cultural shift, but also to challenge our students to learn from them. Students will be asked to consider the barriers, hardships, and injustices East Germans have faced before and after reunification. By applying these concepts to their own 21stcentury world/society, students will learn how to work together to deconstruct their own hardships.

Newsroom link: St. Thomas Plans Events Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of German Reunification