What if Germany was still split?

That depends on when the GDR should be rescued:

From 1989 on it was pretty much impossible - without Soviet loans (which would not exist because the Soviet Union needed every ruble) or West German loans, the country would have gone bankrupt by the end of 1990 and would have collapsed.

If the GDR had previously been able to develop a kind of Hungarian "goulash communism" or even a Yugoslavian model, the country could well have survived. Reunification was not a political necessity in 1989 - most demonstrators on the streets did not want reunification until mid-November (even after the fall of the Berlin Wall), but a (socialist) democratic GDR. For people born after 1949, reunification was just as "inevitable" as a "reunification" of Austria with Germany.

What forced reunification in the end was above all the economic bankruptcy, which was unavoidable in reality. If the GDR had been allowed to operate a sensible social and economic policy and gradually democratized, it could have survived. The renaissance of GDR culture in the 90s shows that an independent GDR could have been possible.
 
If the Austrians can conveniently become "not German", who says the same can't happen to East Germany? The Moldovan government similarly determined at some point that they were not Romanians and speak a completely different language, even though it sounds just like Romanian.

I agree that no unification is certainly unlikely, but I wouldn't say it absolutely couldn't happen. If the Allies agreed on a more draconian partition of Germany at the end of WW2, a dismembered Germany could very well have become permanent and the German identity could have been relegated to the dustbin of history.
In which case the "Reunification of Germany" doesn't make any sense. If German identity was regulated to the dustbin of history, which is barely possible IMO, the whole idea of reunification is logically impossible. You can't reunify something that no longer exists.
 
That depends on when the GDR should be rescued:

From 1989 on it was pretty much impossible - without Soviet loans (which would not exist because the Soviet Union needed every ruble) or West German loans, the country would have gone bankrupt by the end of 1990 and would have collapsed.

If the GDR had previously been able to develop a kind of Hungarian "goulash communism" or even a Yugoslavian model, the country could well have survived. Reunification was not a political necessity in 1989 - most demonstrators on the streets did not want reunification until mid-November (even after the fall of the Berlin Wall), but a (socialist) democratic GDR. For people born after 1949, reunification was just as "inevitable" as a "reunification" of Austria with Germany.

What forced reunification in the end was above all the economic bankruptcy, which was unavoidable in reality. If the GDR had been allowed to operate a sensible social and economic policy and gradually democratized, it could have survived. The renaissance of GDR culture in the 90s shows that an independent GDR could have been possible.
Both Hungry and Yugoslavia were far behind West Germany so I doubt it would have helped all that much. The best and brightest still would have left leaving the till empty.
 
I think if the financial cost had been known, the social effects known, it might have been delayed a few years while the East brought itself up to a nearer standard.
Then East Germany would have simply collapsed within a year or two and ultimately West Germany would still have had to pay the costs - which most assuredly would not have been lower in such a scenario. That thing with the nearer standard would have remained a pipe dream as living standards would have dropped even lower for the 'transition period'.

The demographic death spiral of people being free to just up and leave has been brought up, but what was kind of neglected is the economic death spiral East Germany was in at that point. 40 years of centrally planned mismanagement on increasingly debilitated infrastructure, decaying housing, a looming ecological disaster, and outdated technology meant that the East German economy was critically obsolete. Not only was it producing inferior products, it was also doing so with way lower material efficiency or personnel productivity than the West - making their cheap trash not so cheap after all, but still trash all the same.

The GDR economy could not compete on an open market, especially not if the newly empowered people democratically fought for salary increases like they did OTL. Now that the Iron Curtain had come down and there were no more East block countries for which GDR products were the least bad import choice, it was over. The economy was dead. As a dodo. The GDR was bankrupt. A regime change does not change that.

West Germany pumped around 1.3-1.5 trillion Euro into East Germany to stabilize it. It put itself into an economic malaise that lasted throughout the 1990s trying to shoulder the burden. In a scenario in which West Germany does not max out its credit card investing into the East, things would presumably have gone much, much worse for the GDR economy and its crash course* in capitalism.

* Emphasis on crash
 
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Both Hungry and Yugoslavia were far behind West Germany so I doubt it would have helped all that much. The best and brightest still would have left leaving the till empty.
That's no surprise considering both were much more un-industrialized before World War 2. But they developed way faster than the GDR which declined since the 1970s.
 
Austria had already been its own nation that was united for centuries before the German invasion and was geographically separated from Germany. East Germany, as one could tell just by looking at its name, had neither of those things.
Austria was part of Germany from the Migration Period in 300-500ish AD until the formation of the German Empire 1871. Even then, pan-Germanism remained strong in Austria until the end of WWII, when Austria sought to paint itself as a victim of Nazi Germany rather than a collaborator. This was reinforced by the Cold War, where Austria was neutral and so wanted to distance itself from both the NATO-aligned West Germany and the Warsaw Pact-aligned East Germany.

The main difference I guess is that while Austria spent 1945-1991 swearing up and down that they weren't Germany, East Germany spent that same period swearing up and down that they were Germany, they were the best Germany, they were the only true Germany. But I can easily see an East Germany declaring themselves to be a new people, a new progressive Communist people with no link to the old reactionaries and liberals of the German past, looking forward rather than backward, etc etc.
 
Austria had already been its own nation that was united for centuries before the German invasion and was geographically separated from Germany. East Germany, as one could tell just by looking at its name, had neither of those things.
Prussia had already been its own nation that was united for centuries before German unification and was geographically separated from Germany. German-Austria, as one could tell just by looking at its name, had neither of those things.

See how that works?
 
Prussia had already been its own nation that was united for centuries before German unification and was geographically separated from Germany. German-Austria, as one could tell just by looking at its name, had neither of those things.

See how that works?
It isn’t geographically separated like Austria though
 
That depends on when the GDR should be rescued:

From 1989 on it was pretty much impossible - without Soviet loans (which would not exist because the Soviet Union needed every ruble) or West German loans, the country would have gone bankrupt.

What forced reunification in the end was above all the economic bankruptcy, which was unavoidable in reality. If the GDR had been allowed to operate a sensible social and economic policy and gradually democratized, it could have survived. The renaissance of GDR culture in the 90s shows that an independent GDR could have been possible.
The GDR was as bankrupt as the rest of east europe, and probably was not the worst case. Having done better would have not save it because what made its survival impossible was to had the third economy of the planet, with same culture, language and a comon past at the front door, including family links...
 
It isn’t geographically separated like Austria though
What do you mean by "geographically separated"? Austria is contiguous with Germany and was always counted within the borders of "Germany" - whether that was East Francia, the Kingdom of Germany, the Holy Roman Empire, or the German Confederation.


This is one of those questions that leads me to sometimes think there needs to be a Soft AH section. Because it's not outright ASB, in the way that ASBs get their stupid on with mass teleportation and the like, but it's implausible enough that you can't have real debate on the effects of it because of the culture here.
I don't see what's ASB about it. Reunification was far from foregone, especially on the part of the East. Was it the likelier outcome? Yes. Was it 100% certain? Definitely not. And that's just with a PoD of say 1990. Starting with 1945, it's easy to come up with a DDR that really wouldn't want to reunify with the FDR (and/or vice-versa).
 
What do you mean by "geographically separated"? Austria is contiguous with Germany and was always counted within the borders of "Germany" - whether that was East Francia, the Kingdom of Germany, the Holy Roman Empire, or the German Confederation.




I don't see what's ASB about it. Reunification was far from foregone, especially on the part of the East. Was it the likelier outcome? Yes. Was it 100% certain? Definitely not. And that's just with a PoD of say 1990. Starting with 1945, it's easy to come up with a DDR that really wouldn't want to reunify with the FDR (and/or vice-versa).
I thin we are both detached from the point I'm trying to make. Maybe it is or isn't historically or geographically attached to Germany, but in the timeframe that this thread is set in, Austria claimed to be separate from Germany but East Germany claimed to be Germany itself. East Germany wasn't trying to separate from Germany, it was an alternative government of Germany.
 
I thin we are both detached from the point I'm trying to make. Maybe it is or isn't historically or geographically attached to Germany,
Threads are allowed to meander. I'm very interested in what you mean about Austria being detached.

but in the timeframe that this thread is set in, Austria claimed to be separate from Germany but East Germany claimed to be Germany itself.
True, as I noted.

East Germany wasn't trying to separate from Germany, it was an alternative government of Germany.
Yes, but that doesn't ensure reunification. East Germany could still claim to be the real Germany while not wanting to reunite with those capitalist reactionaries in the West. If nothing else, the elites might prefer to maintain their grip on power.
 
That's no surprise considering both were much more un-industrialized before World War 2. But they developed way faster than the GDR which declined since the 1970s.
That is because they WERE behind Germany prior to WW2. It is far easier to play catch me up than to remain ahead. Germany already picked the low hanging fruit, Hungry and Yugoslavia had low hanging fruit left to pick.
 
I don't see what's ASB about it. Reunification was far from foregone, especially on the part of the East. Was it the likelier outcome? Yes. Was it 100% certain? Definitely not. And that's just with a PoD of say 1990. Starting with 1945, it's easy to come up with a DDR that really wouldn't want to reunify with the FDR (and/or vice-versa).
It is very difficult though, particularly by 1990.
 
I don't think it's ASB, but around these parts, it's one of those scenarios that might as well be as far as most people see it. And since it is, debate about it is mostly impossible as people get so hung up on the plausibility that it basically goes no where. Just look at here. Most people are talking about why and how Germany can be split, when the question was about the effects of it. And some will retort that you need to know the whys and hows in order to get to the effects, but really debate about such things go nowhere, because no one can agree on anything, and whole threads like these essentially bring out nothing productive for the OP. Which is why a section in which things like this could go on without having all the talk about the hows and whys would be very nice. ASB doesn't work because that forum is for the most part a place where most questions are, IMO, exercises in just coming up with wacky scenarios.
I completely agree. Here's a shameless repost of mine from a few months back about this sort of topic
They probably would have said that about the Bolsheviks if a white victory occurred. People underestimate popular will in history. Bolsheviks didn't have major backers and infact the entire western world opposed them, yet they created the Soviet Union. People think way too rigidly with alternate history, and I think people who shut off such possibilities would find aspects of this current world (assuming they lived in an alternate world) impossible.
"no way could have the red army won, the entire western powers backed white army and the white army had all of the experienced officers!"
"how did the chinese communists win! they had a fraction of both the manpower and firepower of the nationalists? Even assuming the soviet support they got, this is total asb!"
"how did cuba go communist? Monroe doctrine and foreign economic domination outright prevent that!"
See all three of these movements won due to popular support. Hitler in this scenario retains his excellent oratory skills. However, no Hitler isn't much of an anti semite in this TL. Why do people assume he must retain anti semitism to be a bastard? Mao and Stalin weren't anti semitic, they were bastards.
The Cliche of people assuming this Hitler goes strictly and rigidly Nazbol is kinda annoying.
Great point, we especially see this when it comes to WWI and WWII, some of the most emotionally charged topics out there, especially when it comes to alternate history. Everyone writes off Barbarossa or Sea Lion as an inevitable failure but IOTL similar implausible feats were accomplished. For example:
“How could the Germans capture all of Norway even Narvik when they don’t have naval superiority? They would’ve been crushed by the Royal Navy!”
“Do you seriously want me to believe that France falls in 6 weeks to a vastly inferior army than the one that tried and failed to defeat it for 4 years?”
“How the hell do these ‘Nazis’ just annex most of Central Europe without war? So you’re just hand-waving away the Western Powers by giving all their leaders a lobotomy?“

Like I said, much of it is politically charged, some of it is simply a lack of imagination. Not to overuse the German example, but I’ve seen it argued that had Germany had all the oil she needed during World War II, not much would’ve changed(!). When people discuss that a reverse Midway, or a more disastrous Pearl Harbor would’ve simply “prolonged the war by 6 months to a year” it seems that they do not even want to think what butterflies this entails.
 
Great point, we especially see this when it comes to WWI and WWII, some of the most emotionally charged topics out there, especially when it comes to alternate history. Everyone writes off Barbarossa or Sea Lion as an inevitable failure but IOTL similar implausible feats were accomplished. For example:
“How could the Germans capture all of Norway even Narvik when they don’t have naval superiority? They would’ve been crushed by the Royal Navy!”
“Do you seriously want me to believe that France falls in 6 weeks to a vastly inferior army than the one that tried and failed to defeat it for 4 years?”
“How the hell do these ‘Nazis’ just annex most of Central Europe without war? So you’re just hand-waving away the Western Powers by giving all their leaders a lobotomy?“
Norway isn't the English Channel. The Brits didn't throw everything plus the kitchen sink at Norway, they would in the English Channel. The RN>>>>>KM! No one considered the German Army "vastly inferior" in 1940, they didn't think it could win in six weeks but they didn't think it was "vastly inferior" otherwise France would have invaded Germany when Germany invaded Poland, they wouldn't have just sat on their butt doing nothing. The last is more difficult, French and British leaders clearly lacked a spine in the mid-late 1930's.
 
Norway isn't the English Channel. The Brits didn't throw everything plus the kitchen sink at Norway, they would in the English Channel. The RN>>>>>KM! No one considered the German Army "vastly inferior" in 1940, they didn't think it could win in six weeks but they didn't think it was "vastly inferior" otherwise France would have invaded Germany when Germany invaded Poland, they wouldn't have just sat on their butt doing nothing. The last is more difficult, French and British leaders clearly lacked a spine in the mid-late 1930's.
 
There was never any guarantee that East Germany and West Germany would re-unite. Germany only re-unified because West Germany had a strong economy and was willing to support their poorer cousins in East Germany.

Also consider that Germany - as we know it today - only united in 1871. Before that “Germania” was a loose collection of duchies, principalities and tiny kingdoms. It look a forceful Prussian - like Bismarck - to unite all these different little German-speaking states. Bismark’s political tactics included militarily defeating some of the more stubborn “Germanic” rulers.
Bismarck only had a superior Prussian Army after centuries of fighting across the Northern European Plain. That plain has few natural/defensible obstacles between Poland and Northern France. French, Russian, Swedish, Polish, Lithuanian, Mongol, etc. invaders all took turns marching across Prussia.

Even today, not all German-speaking peoples are united under the German flag. Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Austria still have sizeable German-speaking populations. Volks-Deutsch were only exiles from: Poland, Ukraine, Russia, East Prussia, etc. after World War 2.
 
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