East meets West

In October 1990 the two Germanies were reunited. East Germany became a part of West Germany. Most of what the East Germans were familiar with disappeared overnight.

Social rules, attitudes and opinions, cultural life, recreational habits, all of these began to change. East Germans had to adapt to a German spoken differently. People greeted each other with a „Hi!“. They ate chicken wings instead of broilers. Pepsi and Coca Cola was substituted for the East German Club-Cola. Colleagues worked in teams instead of in collectives.

East Germans had to quickly adjust. They had to become wary of shifty West German „deal-makers.“ Appliances, machines, automobiles, telephones, etc. worked differently, were confusing. An entire society of over 17 million people had to suddenly adjust to the rules of another society.

The change was difficult and confusing for the East Germans. In every sense of the word they were at a disadvantage over and against their new fellow German citizens. The rules – the processes – were not theirs, not East German. They were West German.