The German Unification Treaty (1990)

On August 31st 1990, representatives of the West German and East German governments signed a Unification Treaty. After more than 40 years of division, the two Germanys were reunited as a single nation. The East German Länder (states) were incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany on October 3rd. The Unification Treaty contained 45 articles covering government, laws, finances, treaties, education and culture. The treaty’s preamble and first two articles are reproduced here:

“The Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic:

Resolved to achieve in free self-determination the unity of Germany in peace and freedom as an equal partner in the community of nations;

Mindful of the desire of the people in both parts of Germany to live together in peace and freedom in a democratic and social federal state governed by the rule of law;

In grateful respect to those who peacefully helped freedom prevail and who have unswervingly adhered to the task of establishing German unity and are achieving it;

Aware of the continuity of German history and bearing in mind the special responsibility arising from our past for a democratic development in Germany committed to respect for human rights and to peace;

Seeking through German unity to contribute to the unification of Europe and to the building of a peaceful European order in which borders no longer divide and which ensures that all European nations can live together in a spirit of mutual trust;

Aware that the inviolability of frontiers and of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states in Europe within their frontiers constitutes a fundamental condition for peace;

Have agreed to conclude a Treaty on the Establishment of German Unity, containing the following provisions:

Article One

Upon the accession of the German Democratic Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany, in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law taking effect on October 3rd 1990, the Länder [states] of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia shall become Länder of the Federal Republic of Germany. The establishment of these Länder and their boundaries shall be governed by the provisions of the Constitutional Act of July 2nd 1990…

Article Two

1. The capital of Germany shall be Berlin. The seat of the parliament and government shall be decided after the establishment of German unity.

2. October 3rd shall be a public holiday, known as the Day of German Unity.”