After World War II, Germany – the loser – was partitioned into two separate countries: East & West Germany. West Germany, along with the western portion of Berlin was controlled by the Western countries of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each of these poured large amounts of money into an effort to stimulate economic redevelopment after the war, and it worked – West Germany went on to be a hugely successful country in its own right. East Germany, however, was controlled by the Soviet Union, which instituted the economic system of communism and eventually left the area with a stagnant economy.
East Germany was reunited with West Germany after the fall of worldwide communism, and its residents rightly expected the greater economic opportunities inherent in a free-market system. However, many East Germans seeking work moved away to the former West Germany, leaving the East with a similarly stagnant economy, especially when it was discovered that many factories in the East had been so inefficient under communism that they simply could not compete in a market system.
In an effort to promote economic growth in former East Germany, the German government has invested huge amounts of money in the area. This money has been used to do such things as repair infrastructure, promote investment, and retrain workers. Although these strategies are working somewhat to close it, there is still a considerable economic difference between the former East and West.
Boehm, Richard G. “German Reunification.” World Geography and Cultures. Columbus: Glencoe/McGraw Hill, 2012.
Graphi-Ogre. “Large Map of East and West Germany.” Map. Large Map of East and West Germany. Maps of Germany, 2004. http://www.maps-of-germany.co.uk/large-map-of-east-west-Germany.htm.