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Kar98_Byf42507 karma

I was more or less unaware of it, and my reaction to it nowadays, when people credit Reagan for what happened, is an eye-roll and a sigh.

Kar98_Byf42344 karma

Yes. But probably in ways Westerners could not comprehend. The Stasi wasn't the Gestapo. The Stasi was just about everybody. 190,000-ish informers, out of a population of 17 million. Many of them coerced into signing up while never bringing in anything useful, many others set up to be co-workers, friends, even spouses of the target person. You pretty much took it for granted that any critical word you said to anybody was gonna get you into trouble.

Kar98_Byf42330 karma

WAAAAHNSINN! Der WAAAAHNSINN! (Madness, this is madness!) was what was most often exclaimed that night, as in "holy fucking shit, I can't believe this!" Everybody was ecstatic, East Germans, West Berliners, everybody shared, we saw that "The West" was a real thing as we stumbled and lurched up and down Kurf├╝rstendamm, so much neon, everything so clean, stores where you could by ALL THE THINGS, even a Mercedes store!

In comparison, this is what my hometown looked like at that time: http://i.imgur.com/tDy1x.jpg (not my pic)

Kar98_Byf42274 karma

It's more than that. My generation and the one before were pretty much taught, inadvertently, to give as little as possible at work, because initiative was pretty much discouraged. Also, on a smaller and less sophisticated scale, East Germany was to West Germany what China is to the US: cheap source of labor and manufacturing. And also, although much propagandized, automation of production was really rudimentary and industry was, imho, state of the art as of 1934. In 1998. With unification, that work force was pretty much not needed anymore, so now wtf do you do with all of these people? The young and smart all moved out, so now all that remains in former East Germany, broadly spoken, is the infirm, the elderly, the lazy and the stupid. Who wants to hire there other than for McJobs like Amazon warehouses? Yes, there are some exceptions, like this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparent_Factory But much of East Germany, as far as I can tell, is an economical wasteland.