ABSTRACT

There was jubilation at unification but some people were uneasy. East Germans began to feel as though they were in a foreign land. Everything in the west was purported to be better than anything the east had to offer. Economically East Germany was in ruins, unemployment soared and people felt disorientated as their institutions began to be run along western lines. A few took refuge in extreme right wing groups; others sought promotion in the capitalist state; but most merely struggled on. The church was inundated with requests for help while it was struggling itself to keep its values and identity in the reunited all-German Church. Though more divided than ever, it stood out on the issues of clergy salaries, religious education and military chaplains, but in the end it was absorbed into western church structures. How different from each other had the two churches really become? The differences in general between East and West Germans caused many problems, but the East German Church had an important contribution to make in the new republic. After unification, most people from the erstwhile groups walked away from the church. The clergy had not expected otherwise; the church had acted ‘for others’.