Germans and Democracy
A documentary for international television
Real democracy can't just be declared. The people have to live it with feeling. A legalistic, unlived democracy is just a shell.
In Germany, the victorious Allies of World War II installed two republics on the soil of the defeated Third Reich. Both states called themselves democratic. Neither could draw upon a stable democratic tradition and their political systems were completely different from each other. Their hostile border became Europe's cold war dividing line.
In the west, bare structures of democracy became fleshed out gradually by people striving for freedom of the individual in an open society openly acknowledging its past.
In the east, an all-controlling one-party regime masquerading as "people's democracy" finally crumbled into its own hollowness, pushed over by its disillusioned people. They wanted the same freedoms as their compatriots in the west. The fall of the Berlin Wall signaled to the world that the cold war now was over.
Democratic Germans striving for integrity took ownership of their history and changed their future. This is their story.