The fall of the Berlin Wall and a programme of immediate action for scientists in East Germany

1989

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Photo: Relief image of a divided Germany, Wikicommons.

When the Berlin Wall came down on 9 November 1989 the consequences were also felt in the German science system. The MPG embarked on a programme of immediate action to establish fixed-term research posts and encourage scientist exchange. Six months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the two German states came together for a “Science Summit” in Bonn. The Science Minister for the Federal Republic of Germany, Heinz Riesenhuber, and his East German counterpart, Frank Terpe, participated. They discussed the future of the scientific community in a unified German state and came out of the meeting with an undertaking to construct a “unified research environment” in future “with the elements that characterize the Federal Republic of Germany today”. The MPG subsequently began establishing new institutes in the eastern part of Germany. The majority of the GDR’s research institutions became part of the Leibniz Association as a consequence of the unification process. The principles of the Science Summit were also recorded in the German Unification Treaty, which came into force on 3 October 1990.

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