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Germans still divided despite backing reunification

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Germans still divided despite backing reunification
Photo: DPA
13:51 CET+01:00
Confirming the popular notion that there is still a “Wall in the mind,” a poll revealed Thursday that most Germans believe there is a gulf between the East and West, even though they overwhelmingly support reunification.

According to the poll published by broadcaster ZDF, 86 percent of Germans describe the reunification of East and West Germany as having been successful.

Yet a majority also said there were more things that divided East and West than united them.

In the former East, 91 percent of people were happy with the way reunification had gone - slightly higher than in the former West, where satisfaction was 85 percent. Just 11 percent said reunification was the wrong decision – 12 percent in the West and 8 percent in the East.

Similar polls taken since the 1990s have generally shown about four out of five Germans were happy with reunification.

But there is considerable disagreement about who has profited from reunification. Six out of 10 people in the former West say reunification had favoured Easterners, compared with 18 percent who saw Westerners themselves as the winners.

Some 8 percent of Westerners thought the process had been equitable and 12 percent thought there had been no winner at all.

In the former East, 34 percent of people thought the West had profited most and 23 percent believed the East was the winner. Some 27 percent thought both sides had profited equally and 14 percent believed neither side had won.

Some 57 percent of respondents – 56 percent in the West and 61 percent in the East – believe differences outnumber similarities, compared with 40 percent who think the two sides have more in common – 40 percent in the West and 36 percent in the East.

But putting this in perspective, 44 percent of respondents also said the north and south of the country were poles apart.

The poll was conducted by the Mannheim-based Polling Research Group from October 27 to 29 and surveyed 1,207 people across Germany by telephone.

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