25th Anniversary of German Reunification and the Liberation from Communism and Dictatorship
The Third of October 1990 went down in history as one of the happiest days ever. How many times in history have there been peaceful revolutions transforming a whole continent? How many times has peaceful change ended dictatorship and injustice, without a shot fired, without lives lost? How many times has the free will of citizens prevailed over illegitimate rulers and the utterly anti-democratic one-party-system? It is all this what the date is symbolizing, as the 3rd of October 1990 is not only standing for the formal reunification of Germany, but for the whole process of liberation of Europe from communism.
Formally, the reunification of Germany was brought about by a negotiation process, which effectively ended what was rightly dubbed the Post-War-Era. The division of Europe had, of course, been a direct consequence of the Second World War, and the ensuing Cold War. This negotiation process in itself was proof of great statesmanship on the side of the negotiating partners, amongst whom especially former U.S. President George Bush Sr. and former Soviet President Michail Gorbachev deserve to be lauded. However, the whole process was really made possible by the courageous popular movements in the formerly communist countries in Europe, who had firmly stood up against the illegitimate rule of the communist parties. Ever since a Pope from Poland, St. John Paul II., had been elected, the winds of change were felt in Central and Eastern Europe, and they finally swept away dictatorship and oppression.
For us Germans, the peaceful revolution in our country is an especially memorable event, one we remember with joy and thankfulness. After the horrors of the past, something had happened which reconciled a whole generation with their people and tradition. Who would have deemed possible that the Germans were capable of a peaceful revolution, and such a miraculous transition? All the credit goes to the people in the Eastern part of Germany, who felt the winds of change right away, and who took to the streets by their hundreds of thousands - one day up to a million peaceful demonstrators at a time, demanding freedom of speech, and democratic rights! The Communists and their State Security apparatus were rendered helpless by this, especially, as former Soviet President Gorbachev had made it crystal clear, that he would never support a monstrous bloodbath like that on Tien An Men Square in June of 1989. And without the backing of the Soviet military, the East German Communist Party was doomed.
I vividly remember the events leading to this historic change. At the time, I was posted to the German Embassy in Budapest, where, in a nutshell, it had all begun. Refugees from East Germany first escaped communism through Hungary, and it is worth mentioning, that it was the Hungarians who - as we all used to say - breached the infamous Berlin Wall first. For Germany, the end of the communist rule came through a massive refugee movement - Germans from the East fleeing to Freedom, the people fearlessly exerting their right to self determination in the most concrete way possible. Remembering how so many of our own fellow countrymen had been refugees, today strongly contributes to the willingness of the Germans to help other migrants, as best they can, and up to the limits.
The 3rd of October 1990 will always be remembered as a defining moment in history, as it stands for the peaceful revolution that ended the illegitimate rule of communism. I should like to invite all our Taiwanese friends to celebrate together with us this day, which, like no other date, stands for the values we share - Human Rights, freedom, and democracy.
Martin Eberts, Director General of the German Institute Taipei