Talk:Inner German border

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Featured article Inner German border is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on November 9, 2009.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
October 15, 2009 WikiProject peer review Reviewed
October 28, 2009 Featured article candidate Promoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on October 5, 2009.
Current status: Featured article

Wikipedia needs your photos![edit]

If contributors have any photos of the inner German border (either before or after 1989), please contribute them! (But note that they must be your own photos - please don't copy images you find elsewhere on the Internet.) -- ChrisO (talk) 22:37, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Urgent ALT text check, can someone please check this diff for the quality of my alt text? Fifelfoo (talk) 03:33, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

checked and fixed. Auntieruth55 (talk) 04:53, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
Yay! I greatly like the idea of the best of our articles trying to meet access requirements! Fifelfoo (talk) 05:03, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the effort, but I'm afraid I had to take it out - the image is in the wrong section (the poles weren't installed until the 1960s) and its subject is already shown in the article... -- ChrisO (talk) 08:48, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Inner German border on the Main Page[edit]

Please add below any comments about the article. -- ChrisO (talk) 22:37, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Escapes from marienborn ?[edit]

the article claims: "..during the 28 years of operation of the Marienborn complex, no successful escapes were recorded.[103].." yet a little later is a photo of an escape in a "bubble car" from Marienborn Feroshki (talk) 00:32, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out. The Isetta wasn't used at Marienborn; it's only on display there. Sorry about the confusion. I've amended the article accordingly. -- ChrisO (talk) 00:34, 9 November 2009 (UTC)


dates of construction[edit]

was the entire border system built in just 1945? That is hard to believe... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 119.86.104.7 (talk) 07:31, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

It was built along the entire border, and was upgraded in successive waves of design and construction work over its entire lifetime. Tony (talk) 08:15, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
It was established in 1945, hence that start date. -- ChrisO (talk) 08:45, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
The sentence "It was formally established on 1 July 1945 as the boundary between the Western and Soviet occupation zones of Germany" is misleading and should be rewritten. There was no "Western" occupation zone in 1945; there was simply defeated and occupied Germany, divided into British, American, and Soviet zones (the French zone was created later). The wartime Allies (including the Soviets) were still cooperating. The first formal steps toward the West vs. East partition happened in 1947 as relations between the Soviets and the other Allies deteriorated. See Bizone. Justinbb (talk) 17:29, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Cold War border[edit]

It strike me that a more appropriate name for this article might be Cold War German border. Just a thought. Politis (talk) 11:13, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Not really. It was actually called the inner German border in German (innerdeutsche Grenze). The name you suggest would be ambiguous; it was not Germany's border with other countries but the border between the two parts of Germany, hence the "inner German" bit - as opposed to the external (i.e. international) border. -- ChrisO (talk) 12:41, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

thanks, it makes sense. Politis (talk) 13:25, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

FA status[edit]

I would like to congratulate all the users who put a lot of effort in to this article. Good job. - BennyK95 - Talk 18:33, November 9 1009 (UTC)

Andrew Sullivan[edit]

This is a nice little tribute from Andrew Sullivan, who evidently liked the pics I sent him: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/11/more-views-from-germany.html - it's always good to get a link to Wikipedia as well! -- ChrisO (talk) 21:46, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Cool. Ah well, the day is done, the vandals didn't manage to ruin the article ... and I bet you got millions of page hits. :) --JN466 00:42, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, 143,200, to be more exact. --JN466 01:10, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, lots of hits. A nice job, Chris, JN, Fifelfoo and everyone else. The tweakers continue to try to hit it though. A short while ago, someone reverted an addition (unsourced) about German citizenship. Ah well. Auntieruth55 (talk) 19:28, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

to ChrisO and everyone else who's contributed to this page. I don't read every TFA, but I did read this entire article, and learned a lot of things. It's a good read, and so relevant to todays date. Well done, and thanks. Matthewedwards :  Chat  22:53, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

+1. I've been on Wikipedia for almost ten years, and this is quite possible the single best article I've stumbled into yet! Jpatokal (talk) 06:23, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Citizenship issue[edit]

An IP editor brought something up which was not very well phrased, but is actually pretty relevant to the context here. Under BRD law anyone who could prove German ancestry and could speak the language could gain citizenship upon request. This wasn't exclusive to East Germans, but it was particularly useful to the ones who escaped to the west because nearly any DDR citizen qualified. Unfortunately I don't have a source for that either, since it was something I learned from an off-textbook discussion with a university language professor. Durova362 19:24, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

I think this is correct, also, but the IP editor added it unsourced, so it should not go in. I was about to remove it when you snipped it out. Perhaps the source is in the Grundgesetz? Auntieruth55 (talk) 19:31, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
additional thought: it would also seem that Jus sanguinis is more complicated than the editor described; furthermore, if I remember correctly from my discussions on my last visit, the laws were just changed in 2000 or 2001. Auntieruth55 (talk) 19:38, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
I will look for sources. There should be plenty of them, because the change was announced a longish time before it happened, and that led to a last massive influx of people who had, or claimed to have, German ancestors. It was widely reported at the time. Hans Adler 19:41, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you very much, Hans. Been wondering whether I'd still qualify. ;) Durova362 20:09, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
I have trouble finding the details, but if you are in doubt then I guess you qualified before 2000 and now don't qualify any more. I trust that you won't take this for serious legal advice. Hans Adler 20:23, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
It turns out that there was a difference between GDR (East Germany) citizens and other Germans outside the FRG (West Germany). As one of the two successors of the German Reich, the FRG originally adopted all of its laws, gradually replacing most of them. The citizenship law (Reichs- und Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz, abbr. RuStAG), however, was not replaced but amended. According to that, any citizen of one of the German (federal) states was a citizen of the FRG. Since the GDR was the successor of the Eastern German states, any GDR citizen was automatically an FRG citizen. This is why they were entitled to get West German passports if they made it into a West German embassy. (In practice they would not always get it that way, since some embassies had certain obligations to their host countries.) On the other hand, the GDR replaced its citizenship law with a new one that defined an exclusively GDR citizenship. Therefore FRG citizens were foreigners from the POV of the GDR government.
Except for the legal details behind this (which are in part my original research), this is still common knowledge in Germany. Everybody knew that GDR citizens were entitled to an FRG passport. A good source on German citizenship laws (in German) is here. Hans Adler 20:12, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Danke sehr for the reference. Will root around. :) Durova362 20:26, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, the case is simple: The treaty between the two states was what one calls in German a "Staatsvertrag" between two states, but the "Völkerrecht" (i.e. covering the "German" citizenship) was not changed. The Brandt admininistration carefully kept this subtle distinction, and nonetheless the treaty ("Grundlagenvertrag" in German) was signed by the communist government.-
Consequence: please restore my text, adding the above remarks (from "The treaty ..." to "...the communist government) as reference, i.e. included in a Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

pair. - Regards, 87.160.84.170 (talk) 20:35, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

We need to quote a source. I agree it is a point worth mentioning that Brandt's Ostpolitik agreements didn't abandon this principle; editors here will work on it. --JN466 20:36, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
I propose we could cite this source, which makes the point in direct relation to the status of the inner German border: [1] --JN466 20:56, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Looks good, except that it says East Germans could "claim" West German citizenship. I believe that's not precise: According to West German law they were German citizens, and there was no separate West German citizenship. Hans Adler 21:09, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
The next sentence in the linked source says that the West German government considered the inner German border to be – in theory – like the border between two Länder. I think the word "claim" is just there because in practice, that is what East Germans had to do; they had to go and "claim" their citizenship, which was theirs by right. --JN466 22:03, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
The best source is the "Grundlagenvertrag" itself. How to cite this as source? Its your task to find out, and certainly you have a solution to this strange problem, or you or your colleagues will find it. If you have a solution, please tell! I am actually very interested. - By the way: don't you feel that sometimes the "law" faculty is crazy; this means I am not a member of it, but sometimes they are so subtle that after decades one discovers that they have met a very relevant point: From 1945 to 1989 to 2009; and in Wikipedia they have apparently not yet seen the essentials. Have they? - Nonetheless, best regards, 87.160.84.170 (talk) 21:02, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Presently I have only found one solution, namely to cite as a source the German Wikipedia, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/grundlagenvertrag , which contains an important remark on the citizenship-problem ("Die Verhandlungen gingen nur mühsam voran weil ... "="The negotiations proceeded rather slowly because ... (just of the citizenship-problem!) ). In contrast, the English Wikipedia article should better not be cited, because it does not mention that problem. Perhaps a good English text exists? - Regards, 87.160.84.170 (talk) 21:41, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Now I have found a suitable source, www.ena.lu . It delivers the original and official text, in multiligual presentation (one can choose the language). -,87.160.84.170 (talk) 21:51, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
It may surprise you to know that we are not allowed to cite Wikipedia articles, because they are not a reliable source. --JN466 22:03, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Border between saxons and slavs[edit]

Actually this border is not "inner". It's border between two different countries, which have different cultures and religion. All land between Oder and Elbe is slavic territory belonging to polabian slavs - obodrites and veleti, which were pagans. Most of towns, rivers, lakes in GDR have slavic names. Even name of capital city "Berlin" means "Pond". Christianized saxons have conquered this land during 10-13 centuries. Only in 20-th century Red Army have liberated slavic territory. So, border between two countries was running exactly along Elbe, historical border between two nations. --RethraTemple (talk) 20:54, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Interesting stuff! If you can source it properly, I think it could be included somehow. I dont think it has much relevance for why the modern border was created after the Second World War, though?
As I know it, the Obotrites were allies of Charlemagne, while the Saxons were actually violently subdued and forcefully christened by ham and the Francs (see the saxon wars). How does it resonate with what you claim?
RhinoMind (talk) 21:43, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Iron Curtain Trail[edit]

Surely someone should mention this cycle trail as being an intrinsic part of the division today? I actually cycled part of it... maybe I'll get the chance to write something on it sometime...79.148.110.52 (talk) 15:13, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Iron Curtain Trail[edit]

Surely someone should mention this cycle trail as being an intrinsic part of the division today? I actually cycled part of it... maybe I'll get the chance to write something on it sometime...Maxjjazz (talk) 15:15, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Views of the border & citizenship revisited[edit]

The sections "Origins" and "Views on the border" need some work. The current version describes the situation during the 1970s and 80s, somewhat crudely but for the most part correct. What it fails to describe is that particularly East Germany's view (West Germany's to a lesser degree) changed over time.

From section "Origins":

West Germany regarded German citizenship and rights as applying equally to East and West German citizens. An East German who escaped or was released to the West was automatically granted West German rights, including residence and the right to work;

True, but between 1949 and 1967 East Germany did exactly the same reciprocally. Only in 1967 was a separate East German citizenship established - which West Germany did not recognize -, and only from then on did East Germany regard West Germany as a foreign country, and from then on only the situation was as described in the article. I cannot source these fact properly, but it shouldn't be difficult for anyone willing to invest the time.

West German laws were deemed to be applicable in the East.

Not really. While the West German government never viewed East Germany as a foreign country, viewed its regime as illegitimate and was striving for reunification, it did not claim to have the right to legislate over East Germany. I suggest to remove that sentence, as it probably cannot be credibly sourced.

Section "Views of the border":

The GDR saw it as the international frontier of a sovereign state

True only after 1967/70ish. Until then, East Germany viewed West Germany as part of the German nation and was striving for reunification with it, of course under communist rule.

However, West German propaganda leaflets referred to the border as merely "the demarcation line of the Soviet occupation zone", and emphasised the cruelty and injustice of the division of Germany.

Before roughly 1970, East Germany described the division of Germany equally as cruel and injust, except they blamed Western aggression for it.

Again, it'll probably take some time to find reliable English speaking sourced for my claims, but I suggest to whoever is willing to do the work to find them and change the article accordingly. Sorry I currently don't have the time to do that work, otherwhise I would. Anorak2 (talk) 23:49, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

The context of the border[edit]

Very good article. It covers some of the most important issues, while not drowning in details. The links give the details for the interested student/reader. From a quick glance, I also think it overall presents the information without choosing side in this otherwise heavily political subject. Very good. Except for one important issue.

The article has almost no information about the context that sustained the border! It describes why it was constructed at the end of the Second World War, but not why it persisted for so long and why its was thought important to keep it for so long. The context of Cold War Europe should be included somehow, otherwise the border just comes out as an anachronistic curiosity of the past. The context of espionage, the threat of nuclear war, the large numbers of conventional soldiers stationed on both sides of the border should be touched. At least some "see also" links would be appropriate.

RhinoMind (talk) 21:24, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

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