Philipp Ther

is a lecturer in history at the Europa-Üniversität Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder).

Articles

Cover for: The price of unity

The price of unity

The transformation of Germany and east central Europe after 1989

The strength of the German economy is often attributed to the shock therapy of the 1990s. But in 1999, the reunited country was considered ‘the sick man of the euro’. Its failings were blamed on the socialist legacy, yet the economic crisis was the result of western decision-making in 1990. Comparison with the economies of Poland and Czech Republic suggests that shock therapy was not the key to Germany’s success. 

Erzwungene Wege [“Forced journeys”] is the title of the newly opened exhibition at the German Historical Museum in Berlin on the history of forced migration in Europe. It has been organized by the German League of Expellees, which represents Germans forced to migrate after WWII, and is a step towards the League’s goal to set up a permanent exhibition in the German capital. The exhibition has been the source of ongoing diplomatic conflict between Germany and its eastern neighbours – above all Poland – since the League called on Poland to pay compensation to former German owners of Polish property and even opposed Poland’s accession to the EU. Philipp Ther outlines the background of the historical conflict between Germany and Poland, the reasons behind the paradigm shift from culprit to victim in the German view of its history, and the enduring and very different memory in Poland of the German occupation.

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