Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
Berlin Nordbahnhof is a railway station in the Mitte district of Berlin, Germany. It is served by the Berlin S-Bahn and local tram lines. In 1842, the Stettiner Bahnhof opened as terminus of the railway line to Pommeranian city of Stettin, connecting Berlin with the Stettin sea port also important for reaching the holiday resorts on the Baltic Sea; as the number of passengers increased the station on Invalidenstraße became one of Berlin's busiest railway termini and had to be enlarged several times. 1877, the Stettiner Bahnhof became the Berlin passenger train terminus of the Preußische Nordbahn to Stralsund via Neu-Strelitz, also to Rostock. A special suburban station was built to the west of the mainline terminal, serving three suburban lines, to Bernau on the Berlin-Stettin railway, to Oranienburg on the North Railway, to Velten via Berlin-Tegel on the Kremmen Railway. In 1939, these three suburban lines were paired with the three southern suburban lines to form three transversal lines, by means of the North-South S-Bahn link with a tunnel from Stettiner Bahnhof to Anhalter Bahnhof under the Berlin city centre.
As part of opening of the first phase, the northern section, the present-day underground station of the S-Bahn opened on 28 May 1936. The new underground station replaced the former suburban railway station, whose railhead building can still be seen west of the Nordbahnhof on Zinnowitzer Straße; the new, underground, S-Bahn station was located East of the main building, with the tracks crossing from the west to the east under the approaches of the mainline tracks. On 25 April 1945 the S-Bahn ceased operation due to the Soviet invasion, which had reached Berlin's suburbia on 21 April. Most on 2 May 1945 the SS exploded the tunnel ceiling under Landwehrkanal, which caused the subsequent flooding of the tunnel. After World War II the station itself was within the Soviet sector. After drainage and repair the tunnel and its stations reopened for traffic in November 1947. On 1 December 1950, the name of the German town of Stettin was deleted by a renaming into Berlin Nordbahnhof. Since the rail lines leading to the station crossed the territories of West Berlin, it was closed by the GDR authorities on 18 May 1952 and demolished in 1962.
The adjacent S-Bahn station remained under the name of Nordbahnhof. During the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany and East Berlin the S-Bahn, operated by the eastern Deutsche Reichsbahn, interrupted traffic between 17 June and 9 July 1953. Between 13 August 1961, the day the Berlin Wall went up, 1 September 1990 trains did not stop at the station, because it was located in East Berlin; the Reichsbahn continued to operate the line to connect the stations in the northern and southern areas of West Berlin. Trains only stopped in the stations with entrances in West Berlin, when they passed through the East Berlin stations passengers viewed from the train windows the empty and lit platforms of so-called ghost stations, where time had stood still since 13 August 1961. All entrances were closed until the station reopened on 1 September 1990. Soon after, the station closed again for extensive refurbishment lasting one and a half years; the tunnel and station reopened on 1 March 1992. The Nordbahnhof entrance hall was restored in 2006, including a new layout of the forecourt with indicated tracks and inset plaques bearing the destinations of the former trains to the Baltic coast and an exhibition near the platforms describing the era of the "ghost stations".
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Though villages are located in rural areas, the term urban village is applied to certain urban neighborhoods. Villages are permanent, with fixed dwellings. Further, the dwellings of a village are close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape, as a dispersed settlement. In the past, villages were a usual form of community for societies that practice subsistence agriculture, for some non-agricultural societies. In Great Britain, a hamlet earned the right to be called a village. In many cultures and cities were few, with only a small proportion of the population living in them; the Industrial Revolution attracted people in larger numbers to work in factories. This enabled specialization of labor and crafts, development of many trades; the trend of urbanization continues, though not always in connection with industrialization.
Although many patterns of village life have existed, the typical village is small, consisting of 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defence, land surrounding the living quarters was farmed. Traditional fishing villages were located adjacent to fishing grounds. "The soul of India lives in its villages," declared M. K. Gandhi at the beginning of 20th century. According to the 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians live in 640,867 different villages. The size of these villages varies considerably. 236,004 Indian villages have a population of fewer than 500, while 3,976 villages have a population of 10,000+. Most of the villages have their own temple, mosque, or church, depending on the local religious following. In Afghanistan, the village, or deh is the mid-size settlement type in Afghan society, trumping the hamlet or qala, though smaller than the town, or shār. In contrast to the qala, the deh is a bigger settlement which includes a commercial area, while the yet larger shār includes governmental buildings and services such as schools of higher education, basic health care, police stations etc.
Auyl is a Kazakh word meaning "village" in Kazakhstan. According to the 2009 census of Kazakhstan, 42.7% of Kazakhs live in 8172 different villages. To refer to this concept along with the word "auyl" used the Slavic word "selo" in Northern Kazakhstan. People's Republic of China In mainland China, villages 村 are divisions under township Zh:乡 or town Zh:镇. Republic of China In the Republic of China, villages are divisions under townships or county-controlled cities; the village is called a tsuen or cūn under a rural township and a li under an urban township or a county-controlled city. See Li. Japan South Korea In Brunei, villages are the third- and lowest-level subdivisions of Brunei below districts and mukims. A village is locally known by the Malay word kampung, they may be villages in the traditional or anthropological sense but may comprise delineated residential settlements, both rural and urban. The community of a village is headed by a village head. Communal infrastructure for the villagers may include a primary school, a religious school providing ugama or Islamic religious primary education, compulsory for the Muslim pupils in the country, a mosque, a community centre.
In Indonesia, depending on the principles they are administered, villages are called Kampung or Desa. A "Desa" is administered according to traditions and customary law, while a kelurahan is administered along more "modern" principles. Desa are located in rural areas while kelurahan are urban subdivisions. A village head is called kepala desa or lurah. Both are elected by the local community. A desa or kelurahan is the subdivision of a kecamatan, in turn the subdivision of a kabupaten or kota; the same general concept applies all over Indonesia. However, there is some variation among the vast numbers of Austronesian ethnic groups. For instance, in Bali villages have been created by grouping traditional hamlets or banjar, which constitute the basis of Balinese social life. In the Minangkabau area in West Sumatra province, traditional villages are called nagari. In some areas such as Tanah Toraja, elders take; as a general rule and kelurahan are groupings of hamlets. A kampung is defined today as a village in Indonesia.
Kampung is a term used in Malaysia, for "a Malay hamlet or village in a Malay-speaking country". In Malaysia, a kampung is determined as a locality with 10,000 or fewer people. Since historical times, every Malay village came under the leadership of a penghulu, who has the power to hear civil matters in his village. A Malay village contains a "masjid" or "surau", paddy fields and Malay houses on st
Gothic architecture is a style that flourished in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. It was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. Originating in 12th-century France, it was used for cathedrals and churches, until the 16th century, its most prominent features included the use of the rib vault and the flying buttress, which allowed the weight of the roof to be counterbalanced by buttresses outside the building, giving greater height and more space for windows. Another important feature was the extensive use of stained glass, the rose window, to bring light and color to the interior. Another feature was the use of realistic statuary on the exterior over the portals, to illustrate biblical stories for the illiterate parishioners; these technologies had all existed in Romanesque architecture, but they were used in more innovative ways and more extensively in Gothic architecture to make buildings taller and stronger. The first notable example is considered to be the Abbey of Saint-Denis, near Paris, whose choir and facade were reconstructed with Gothic features.
The choir was completed in 1144. The style appeared in some civic architecture in northern Europe, notably in town halls and university buildings. A Gothic revival began in mid-18th-century England, spread through 19th century Europe and continued for ecclesiastical and university structures, into the 20th century. Gothic architecture was known during the period as opus francigenum, The term "Gothic architecture" originated in the 16th century, was very negative, suggesting barbaric. Giorgio Vasari used the term "barbarous German style" in his 1550 Lives of the Artists to describe what is now considered the Gothic style, in the introduction to the Lives he attributed various architectural features to "the Goths" whom he held responsible for destroying the ancient buildings after they conquered Rome, erecting new ones in this style; the Gothic style originated in the Ile-de-France region of northern France in the first half of the 12th century. A new dynasty of French Kings, the Capetians, had subdued the feudal lords, had become the most powerful rulers in France, with their capital in Paris.
They allied themselves with the bishops of the major cities of northern France, reduced the power of the feudal abbots and monasteries. Their rise coincided with an enormous growth of the population and prosperity of the cities of northern France; the Capetian Kings and their bishops wished to build new cathedrals as monuments of their power and religious faith. The church which served as the primary model for the style was the Abbey of St-Denis, which underwent reconstruction by the Abbot Suger, first in the choir and the facade, Suger was a close ally and biographer of the French King, Louis VII, a fervent Catholic and builder, the founder of the University of Paris. Suger remodeled the ambulatory of the Abbey, removed the enclosures that separated the chapels, replaced the existing structure with imposing pillars and rib vaults; this created higher and wider bays, into which he installed larger windows, which filled the end of the church with light. Soon afterwards he rebuilt the facade, adding three deep portals, each with a tympanum, an arch filled with sculpture illustrating biblical stories.
The new facade was flanked by two towers. He installed a small circular rose window over the central portal; this design became the prototype for a series of new French cathedrals. Sens Cathedral was the first Cathedral to be built in the new style. Other versions of the new style soon appeared in Noyon Cathedral; the Gothic style was adapted by some French monastic orders, notably the Cistercian order under Saint Bernard of Clairvaux It was used in an austere form without ornament at the new Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay and the church of Clairvaux Abbey, whose site is now occupied by a French prison. The new style was copied outside the Kingdom of France in the Duchy of Normandy. Early examples of Norman Gothic included Coutances Cathedral. Through the rule of the Angevin dynasty, the new style was introduced to England and spread from there to Low Countries, Spain, northern Italy and Sicily; the Gothic style did not replace the Romanesque everywhere in Europe. The Late Romanesque continued to flourish in the Holy Roman Empire under the Hohenstaufens and Rhineland.
From the end of the 12th century until the middle of the 13th century, the gothic style spread from the Île-de-France to appear in other cities of northern France. New structures in the style included Chartres Cathedral; the early type of rib vault used of Saint Denis and Notre Dame, with six parts, was modified to four parts, making it simpler and stronger. Amiens and Chartres were among the first to use the flying buttress. At Reims, the buttresses were given greater weight and strength by the addition of heavy stone pinnacles on top; these were decorated with statues of ange
The Left (Germany)
The Left commonly referred to as the Left Party, is a democratic socialist political party in Germany. It is considered to be left-wing populist by some researchers; the party was founded in 2007 as the result of the merger of the Party of Democratic Socialism and the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice. Through the PDS, the party is the direct descendant of the ruling party of the former East Germany, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. Since mid-2012, its co-chairs have been Bernd Riexinger. In the Bundestag the party won 64 out of 630 seats after polling 8.6% of the vote in the 2013 federal elections and, after the Social Democrats and the CDU/CSU formed a grand coalition, became leader of the opposition. In the 2017 elections, the party acquired 69 out of 709 seats after receiving 9.2% of the vote.. Its parliamentary group is the fifth largest among the six groups in the German Bundestag, ahead of the Greens; the Left is a founding member of the Party of the European Left, is the largest party in the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group in the European Parliament.
The party is the most left-wing party of the six represented in the Bundestag, has been called far-left by some news outlets, but according to the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the party as such is not to be regarded as left or a threat to democracy. However, it does monitor some of its internal factions, such as Socialist Left, as do some states' similar authorities, on account of suspected extremist tendencies. According to official party figures, the Left Party had 63,784 registered members as of December 2013, making it the fifth-largest party in Germany; the party participates in governments in the states of Brandenburg, as junior partner to the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The Peaceful Revolution in East Germany which led to the replacement of Communist leader Erich Honecker in October 1989 led to a new generation of politicians in East Germany's ruling Socialist Unity Party who looked to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika as their model for political change.
They had kept their own counsel during the Honecker era. However, the upheaval in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall gave them an opening. Longtime SED politician Hans Modrow, attorney Gregor Gysi and dissidents like Rudolf Bahro and Stefan Heym soon began to rebuild a party that had long been known as one of the most rigidly Stalinist parties in the Soviet bloc. After protests, the party was forced to give up its monopoly of power on 1 December 1989. Honecker's successor, Egon Krenz, resigned two days and Gysi was named party chairman. By the end of 1989, the last hardline members of the party's Central Committee had either resigned or been pushed out. In 1990, 95% of SED's 2.3 million members had left the party. By the time of a special congress in December 1989, the party was no longer a Marxist–Leninist party, though neo-Marxist and communist minority factions continued to be part of the party. At the congress, the party adopted a program of democratic reform. To try to distance itself from its repressive past and repair its reputation with the public, the party renamed itself "Socialist Unity Party-Party of Democratic Socialism", but dropped the SED part altogether in February 1990.
Gysi remained its leader, soon became one of the most well-known faces within German politics. By the end of February, the PDS had expelled most of the remaining prominent Communist-era leaders from its ranks - including Honecker and Krenz. However, this was not enough to save the party when it faced the voters at the 18 March general election, the first free election in East Germany; the party came in a distant third with 16.4% of the vote, behind the East German branches of the West German-based Christian Democratic Union and Social Democratic Party. The two major parties formed a grand coalition, led by the Alliance for Germany, built around the East German CDU, which meant the PDS was the main opposition party. In the first all-German Bundestag elections in 1990, the PDS won 2.4% of the nationwide vote. Under normal circumstances, a party must win at least five percent of the vote to qualify for mixed member proportional representation in the Bundestag. However, for the 1990 elections only, a one-time exception allowed eastern-based parties to qualify for list representation if they won at least five percent of the vote in the former East Germany.
Gysi was elected from a Berlin-area district. As a result, the PDS entered the 1990 Bundestag with 17 deputies led by Gysi, albeit without the privileges afforded to parliamentary groups. In the 1994 federal election the PDS managed to increase its share of the vote to 4.4 percent. This was in spite of an aggressive "Red Socks" campaign organised against the PDS by the then-ruling CDU aimed at scaring off voters by insinuating that underneath their suits, representatives of the PDS were "still wearing red socks"—i.e. harboring hardline Communist convictions. More Gysi was reelected from his Berlin-area seat, three other candidates were elected from eastern electoral districts; this allowed the PDS to qualify for MMP though it came up just short of the five percent threshold. Parties with at least three directly ele
In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic is the period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is used synonymously for outside northern Europe, for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus; the Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans 15,000 to 5,000 BP; the term is less used of areas further east, not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa. The type of culture associated with the Mesolithic varies between areas, but it is associated with a decline in the group hunting of large animals in favour of a broader hunter-gatherer way of life, the development of more sophisticated and smaller lithic tools and weapons than the heavy chipped equivalents typical of the Paleolithic. Depending on the region, some use of pottery and textiles may be found in sites allocated to the Mesolithic, but indications of agriculture are taken as marking transition into the Neolithic.
The more permanent settlements tend to be close to the sea or inland waters offering a good supply of food. Mesolithic societies are not seen as complex, burials are simple; the terms "Paleolithic" and "Neolithic" were introduced by John Lubbock in his work Pre-historic Times in 1865. The additional "Mesolithic" category was added as an intermediate category by Hodder Westropp in 1866. Westropp's suggestion was controversial. A British school led by John Evans denied any need for an intermediate: the ages blended together like the colors of a rainbow, he said. A European school led by Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet asserted that there was a gap between the earlier and later. Edouard Piette claimed to have filled the gap with his naming of the Azilian Culture. Knut Stjerna offered an alternative in the "Epipaleolithic", suggesting a final phase of the Paleolithic rather than an intermediate age in its own right inserted between the Paleolithic and Neolithic. By the time of Vere Gordon Childe's work, The Dawn of Europe, which affirms the Mesolithic, sufficient data had been collected to determine that a transitional period between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic was indeed a useful concept.
However, the terms "Mesolithic" and "Epipalaeolitic" remain in competition, with varying conventions of usage. In the archaeology of Northern Europe, for example for archaeological sites in Great Britain, Scandinavia and Russia, the term "Mesolithic" is always used. In the archaeology of other areas, the term "Epipaleolithic" may be preferred by most authors, or there may be divergences between authors over which term to use or what meaning to assign to each. In the New World, neither term is used. "Epipaleolithic" is sometimes used alongside "Mesolithic" for the final end of the Upper Paleolithic followed by the Mesolithic. As "Mesolithic" suggests an intermediate period, followed by the Neolithic, some authors prefer the term "Epipaleolithic" for hunter-gatherer cultures who are not succeeded by agricultural traditions, reserving "Mesolithic" for cultures who are succeeded by the Neolithic Revolution, such as the Natufian culture. Other authors use "Mesolithic" as a generic term for post-LGM hunter-gatherer cultures, whether they are transitional towards agriculture or not.
In addition, terminology appears to differ between archaeological sub-disciplines, with "Mesolithic" being used in European archaeology, while "Epipalaeolithic" is more common in Near Eastern archaeology. The Balkan Mesolithic begins around 15,000 years ago. In Western Europe, the Early Mesolithic, or Azilian, begins about 14,000 years ago, in the Franco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and southern France. In other parts of Europe, the Mesolithic begins by 11,500 years ago, it ends with the introduction of farming, depending on the region between c. 8,500 and 5,500 years ago. Regions that experienced greater environmental effects as the last glacial period ended have a much more apparent Mesolithic era, lasting millennia. In northern Europe, for example, societies were able to live well on rich food supplies from the marshlands created by the warmer climate; such conditions produced distinctive human behaviors that are preserved in the material record, such as the Maglemosian and Azilian cultures.
Such conditions delayed the coming of the Neolithic until some 5,500 BP in northern Europe. The type of stone toolkit remains one of the most diagnostic features: the Mesolithic used a microlithic technology – composite devices manufactured with Mode V chipped stone tools, while the Paleolithic had utilized Modes I–IV. In some areas, such as Ireland, parts of Portugal, the Isle of Man and the Tyrrhenian Islands, a macrolithic technology was used in the Mesolithic. In the Neolithic, the microlithic technology was replaced by a macrolithic technology, with an increased use of polished stone tools such as stone axes. There is some evidence for the beginning of construction at sites with a ritual or astronomical significance, including Stonehenge, with a short row of large post holes aligned east-west, a possible "lunar calendar" at Warren Field in Scotland, with pits of post holes of varying sizes, thought to reflect the lunar phases. Both are dated to before c. 9,000 BP. As the "Neolithic package" (including farming, polished stone axes, timber longhouses and pot
East Germany the German Democratic Republic, was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line; the Soviet zone did not include it. The German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. However, Soviet forces remained in the country throughout the Cold War; until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party, though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany.
The SED made the teaching of Marxism -- the Russian language compulsory in schools. The economy was centrally planned and state-owned. Prices of housing, basic goods and services were set by central government planners rather than rising and falling through supply and demand. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the USSR, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Emigration to the West was a significant problem – as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, it further weakened the state economically; the government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to flee were killed by border guards or booby traps, such as landmines. Several others were imprisoned for many years. In 1989, numerous social and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalisation; the following year, open elections were held, international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany.
The GDR dissolved itself, Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a sovereign state again. Several of the GDR's leaders, notably its last communist leader Egon Krenz, were prosecuted in reunified Germany for crimes committed during the Cold War. Geographically, the German Democratic Republic bordered the Baltic Sea to the north. Internally, the GDR bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin, known as East Berlin, administered as the state's de facto capital, it bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the rest of the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989; the official name was Deutsche Demokratische Republik abbreviated to DDR. Both terms were used in East Germany, with increasing usage of the abbreviated form since East Germany considered West Germans and West Berliners to be foreigners following the promulgation of its second constitution in 1968.
West Germans, the western media and statesmen avoided the official name and its abbreviation, instead using terms like Ostzone, Sowjetische Besatzungszone, sogenannte DDR. The centre of political power in East Berlin was referred to as Pankow. Over time, the abbreviation DDR was increasingly used colloquially by West Germans and West German media; the term Westdeutschland, when used by West Germans, was always a reference to the geographic region of Western Germany and not to the area within the boundaries of the Federal Republic of Germany. However, this use was not always consistent. Before World War II, Ostdeutschland was used to describe all the territories east of the Elbe, as reflected in the works of sociologist Max Weber and political theorist Carl Schmitt. Explaining the internal impact of the DDR regime from the perspective of German history in the long term, historian Gerhard A. Ritter has argued that the East German state was defined by two dominant forces – Soviet Communism on the one hand, German traditions filtered through the interwar experiences of German Communists on the other.
It always was constrained by the powerful example of the prosperous West, to which East Germans compared their nation. The changes wrought by the Communists were most apparent in ending capitalism and transforming industry and agriculture, in the militarization of society, in the political thrust of the educational system and the media. On the other hand, there was little change made in the independent domains of the sciences, the engineering professions, the Protestant churches, in many bourgeois lifestyles. Social policy, says Ritter, became a critical legitimization tool in the last decades and mixed socialist and traditional elements about equally. At the Yalta Conference during World War II, the Allies (the U. S. the UK and