Germany Celebrates 20 Years of Reunification

WTOP-FM (Washington, D.C.), October 3, 2010

Germany’s president celebrated the country’s new-found national pride but also stressed that more needs to be done to integrate Muslim and other immigrants as he marked the 20th anniversary of reunification on Sunday.

Germany’s post–World War II division ended with reunification on Oct. 3, 1990–less than 11 months after communist East Germany opened the Berlin Wall amid pressure from massive demonstrations.

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“Now, a new self-confidence has grown in all of Germany, an uninhibited patriotism, an open commitment to our country, which is aware of its great responsibility for the past,” Wulff said in a speech in the western city of Bremen, which hosted this year’s main anniversary event.

Germans have become more comfortable with displays of patriotism in recent years–illustrated notably by their enthusiastic flag-waving during the 2006 football World Cup, which Germany hosted.

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Referring to a recent debate over difficulties in integrating immigrants, he [Wulff] said that Germany “must be open to those who come to us from all parts of the world–Germany needs them.”

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“We need a clear position: an understanding of Germany that isn’t confined to a passport, a family history or a belief,” he added. “There is no doubt that Christianity belongs to Germany; there is no doubt that Judaism belongs to Germany . . . but Islam now also belongs to Germany.”

Germany has long been home to a large Turkish community.

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