Democratic Awakening

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Democratic Awakening

Demokratischer Aufbruch
LeadersFriedrich Schorlemmer,
Rainer Eppelmann
Günter Nooke,
Thomas Welz
FoundedOctober 1989
DissolvedOctober 1990
Succeeded byChristian Democratic Union
HeadquartersEast Berlin
IdeologyLiberal democracy
Christian democracy
German unionism
Political positionCentre-right[1]
Colours     Black

Democratic Awakening (German: Demokratischer Aufbruch) was an East German political movement and political party that was active during the Fall of Communism and in the period leading up to the German reunification. While it was a relatively minor party, it took part in the first democratically elected government in East Germany in 1990, and is especially known because future Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel started her political career within the party.

It was founded in October 1989, based on existing politically active church groups. Founding members included Wolfgang Schnur, Friedrich Schorlemmer, Rainer Eppelmann, Günter Nooke and Thomas Welz. The organisation became a political party on December 16/17, 1989 in Leipzig. The party convention adopted a more conservative program than some of the founding members, like Schorlemmer, were willing to bear, so they left the party. Others, like Nooke, who left some time later, resented the growing cooperation with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of East Germany, which had been a member of the Communist-dominated National Front of parties and mass organisations that had supported the Communist regime.

Democratic Awakening now supported rapid German reunification and joined the Alliance for Germany (Allianz für Deutschland) along with the CDU and German Social Union (DSU) for the 1990 Volkskammer elections on March 18. Only a few days prior to the elections, party chairman Schnur had to confess to having been an informer for the Ministry for State Security (Stasi), and resigned. Although Alliance for Germany won the elections, Democratic Awakening only collected 0.9% of votes, amounting to four seats in the Volkskammer. Eppelmann became minister for disarmament and defense in the new government and new party chairman. On August 5, 1990 Democratic Awakening ceased to exist after merging into the East German CDU, which in turn on 3 October 1990 merged into its West German counterpart, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

From February 1990, Angela Merkel served as the party's spokeswoman. After the mergers, Merkel was elected in the post-unification election as a member of the all-German Bundestag for the CDU, and eventually became Chancellor of Germany in 2005.


  1. ^ Boswell, Christina; Dough, Dan (2009). Bale, Tim, ed. Politicizing migration: opportunity or liability for the centre-right in Germany?. Immigration and Integration Policy in Europe: Why Politics – and the Centre-Right – Matter. Routledge. p. 21.

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