OTD in Berlin History | 2 December 1990: First All-German Elections since the Nazis

2nd December 1990: On this day in Berlin history, the first all-German elections were held in reunified Germany. It had been almost 60 years since the last one.

A German woman votes in the first all-German election since 1933
A German woman votes in the first all-German election since 1933. (Source: Bundesregierung/Harald Kirschner)

Since the end of the Second World War, the country had been divided between East and West – carved up along the geographical and ideological fault lines of the Cold War. In 1961, the historic capital Berlin had also been physically sundered by the concrete and barbed wire of the Berlin Wall.

But in the revolutionary Autumn of 1989 the gates of the wall finally opened.

Election Results: By Erinthecute – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

From that point a tumultuous few months ensued as West Germans celebrated a victory in the FIFA World Cup, East Germans effectively voted their socialist state out of existence – and the nation was finally made whole again on 3 October 1990.

The enthusiasm for reunification contributed to a resounding electoral victory for the coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and CDU leader Helmut Kohl – seen as the chief advocate and architect of reunification – was named Chancellor.

Helmut Kohl in Dresden, September 1990. (Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild)

This election was the first free and fair multi-party election to be conducted across the whole of Germany since the Nazi seizure of power in 1933.

This slice of On This Day in Berlin History was written by Berlin Guides Association member, Sam Wiszniewski.

It’s one of four noteworthy events he’s chosen to remember this December. Keep an eye on our blog to see what else made the cut.