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Summary: Germany
A Divided Germany
Today, Germany is one of the largest countries in Europe.
The country was once divided. When World War II ended in
1945, British and American soldiers had control of West
Germany. Soviet soldiers controlled the eastern part.
The United States helped West Germany set up a
democracy. West Germany also received loans from the
United States. Within 20 years, West Germany rebuilt its
factories. It became one of the world’s richest nations.
East Germany remained poor. Most East Germans knew
that people in West Germany and Western Europe had
better lives. The Communist government of East Germany
tried to keep them from having contact with the West.
By 1989, the Soviet Union was growing weaker. It was
losing control of Eastern Europe. Then Hungary loosened its
borders with Western Europe. East Germans began crossing
Hungary’s border. Eventually, they made their way into West
Germany. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989. Later, even
more East Germans moved to West Germany.
Reunified Germany
The reunification of East and West Germany took place in
1990. The German government has worked hard to rebuild
the eastern part of Germany. They have spent lots of money
to build roads, factories, housing, and hospitals.
Reunification also caused tensions between former West
and East Germans. There are few jobs in the eastern part of
Germany. Housing is very expensive. People in the western
part have to pay heavy taxes to rebuild the nation.
Germany has many rich traditions. Its people are proud
of their music and literature. Germans are famous for
designing cars and other high-quality products. They are also
known for designing appliances and other complex
Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, and
Ludwig van Beethoven are three of Germany’s best-known
composers. Rainer Maria Rilke was one of Germany’s
greatest writers. His poems are still admired and studied
today. Both Günter Grass and Thomas Mann won the Nobel
Prize in Literature.
Resources for Reaching All Learners
Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Circle the vocabulary word.
reunification noun, the
uniting again of parts
REVIEW Why did East
Germany need to be rebuilt
and not West Germany?
Draw a box around the
reasons why East Germany
needed to be rebuilt and why
West Germany did not.