BBC News – Does the Berlin Wall still exist?

Does the Berlin Wall still exist?

By Stephen Evans

BBC News, Berlin

If you are wondering whether the two halves of Germany are becoming truly one nearly a quarter of a century after the country was officially unified, just have a look at the map of voting patterns in Berlin.

The picture is stark: the former route of the Berlin Wall divides the city into voting choices. In the constituencies of the East, voters chose Die Linke (The Left party), descended from the old communist party.

In the West, they voted for the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats (CDU), both formerly West German parties.

In a few locales in the centre of Berlin, on either side of what was the Wall, the Greens came out on top – and closer examination reveals these to be areas which have been gentrified heavily, with large numbers of young, professional incomers.

The map only takes account of votes in constituencies. Germans had two votes – one for a local candidate and a second for the party nationally. The geographic split of the second vote is not known, but the first vote reveals that old divisions run deep.

Little migration

Perhaps we should not be surprised that voting habits have not changed much. After all, apart from the gentrifying areas in the centre, populations have probably remained much the same as they were before the fall of the Wall.

There was no great cross-border migration in the city after 1989. People had security of tenure in their flats, and they stayed put. Berlin had a large concentration of members of the Socialist Unity Party (as the communist party in East Germany was called), as well as the civil servants and Stasi operatives who kept the communist state running, and they have remained in their areas and transferred their loyalty to Die Linke.

But a close look does reveal a more complicated pattern. In lots of the areas of East Berlin which voted in greatest numbers for Die Linke, the second choice was the CDU. The areas of the East in the city do not gravitate towards the Social Democrats. They are torn between the far-left and the centre-right.

It gets even more interesting if you look at a map of the whole of Germany. It shows that East Germans voted in large numbers for Chancellor Merkel’s party, perhaps out of loyalty to her.

The areas where the SPD triumphed were some of the old industrialised cities of the West (Duesseldorf, Dortmund, Essen, Hamburg, Bremen).

via BBC News – Does the Berlin Wall still exist?.

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The Effects of Germany ‘s Low Birth Rates

Human Imprint Synopsis: Germany Fights Population Drop – The New York Times

It is no surprise that a CORE country such as Germany has one of the lowest FERTILITY RATES in the World. But what may surprise some are the long-term socioeconomic effects that a low birth rate can bring. As Germany relishes one of the highest GDP’s in the World, it also means that more women are looking for long-term careers in spite of traditional values that support women to be stay-at-home moms. Due to Germany’s NEGATIVE POPULATION GROWTH, it is coming to grips with the reality that losing 1.5 million citizens (according to the last census) is weakening its strong economic system. Germany faces DEINDUSTRIALIZATION, a slumping housing market, high unemployment rates, and increasing retirement ages to ensure a tax base.

Germany also has a history of resisting immigration, and attitude that might need to change if it plans on sustaining a healthy economy. Not only is there a lack of young workers due to a low population growth rate, but if there is a high unemployment rate, Germany also faces a NET OUTMIGRATION of the working age that they have left. Though Germany is supporting of their AGING POPULATION in the workforce, bringing in MIGRANT WORKERS may be just what the doctor ordered. Until then, Germany is fighting with PRONATALIST POLICIES aimed at encouraging families to have children with tax break incentives and government subsidies to allow women to stay at home and raise a family.

Germany Negative Population Growth

Reblog: The Red Badge of Geopolitics: Remembering D-Day from a Geopolitical Perspective

The Red Badge of Geopolitics: Remembering D-Day from a Geopolitical Perspective.

The original article can be found at the blog link above.

Topics: Political Geography, geopolitics, rimland theory, heartland theory

Landscape

The Red Badge of Geopolitics: Remembering D-Day from a Geopolitical Perspective

“Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland
Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island
Who rules the World-Island commands the World” -MacKinder
Too often, we learn of history as a narrative. History has become a subject dominated by anecdotal evidence and non sequiturs. As a result, important facts become eclipse and their significance diminishes. D-Day, too, falls victim to this historical revision. So let us take some time to discover what geopolitical lessons we can glean on the 69th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion.
When the Nazis seize control of Germany, they sought to acquire “living space”. They fully believed in the heartland theory. The heartland theory states that the lands of Eastern Europe to the Ural Mountains in Russia along the Mongolian Plateau and down into the Hindu Kush form a resource rich land, which, if unified, would allow the controlling state to dominate Eurasia and the rest of the world. For this reason, the Nazis have a strong Prussian feel to them. Intensely focused on expansion into Eastern Europe, the Nazis sought to gain control of the heartland and from there to dominate the world.
With the early failings of Western Europe against the Nazi war machine, Germany had come to dominate Europe. This representative geopolitical nightmare, as this allowed the Nazis to gain the European rim. Although the heartland theory mentions nothing of Western Europe or the European rim, rimland theory goes into this geographic region in detail. In rimland theory, states located along strategic coast of Eurasia, or rimland’s, come to dominate these rim regions. (Rimland theory considers Europe one of the most important rims.) From these rimland’s, states proceed to project power into the Eurasian heartland. With access to the world’s oceans and should teach it resources, rimland states go on to dominate the world.
Accidentally, the Third Reich transformed into a rimland power. With an empire, which at its height, stretched from the Atlantic to the gates of Moscow Nazi Germany had control of one rimland and flirted with dominating the heartland. If not for the brave actions of the D-Day heroes, the Nazi jackboot would still fly high today.
After all, D-Day liberated the European rim. D-Day had denied the Nazis access to the world’s oceans and the economic and industrial advantages that come inherently with sea access.
Although one cannot question the heroics involved in D-Day, Operation Overlord clearly involve much more than courage. D-Day took into account geopolitical theory and formulated a strategy that allowed the United States and the Allies to ultimately win the war. Therefore, let us not lose sight of this fact. Further, with the challenges facing us today, we must pursue strategies that best implement geopolitical theory.