Primary Sources

NATO celebrates German Reunification


On 3 October 1990, the constitution of West Germany was extended to cover the five states of East Germany, reunifying Germany as a single country under one law. Congratulations were extended to the new country from around the world, including from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which could celebrate the reunification as one of its own achievements. NATO was a military alliance to contain Communist expansion. The reunification of Germany both ended the Cold War division of this European country, and provided a new path toward integrating East and West Europe as a whole. As the Secretary General of NATO points out in the following speech, this victory was achieved through peaceful means, not violence, a hopeful sign for the future reintegration of all of Europe as one community.


Manfred Wörner. "Address to the North Atlantic Council on the occasion of German Unification," speech, Brussels, Belgium, October 3, 1990. NATO, Online Library, NATO (accessed September 7, 2006).

Primary Source—Excerpt

Today, the 3rd of October 1990, is a decisive landmark in the history of our Alliance [NATO]. This is a day of undiminished rejoicing, not only for the Germans, but for the whole of our Alliance....

The German people have exercised at long last their right of self-determination. Germany has overcome its painful, unnatural division. Thus a vital step has been taken to overcome the division of Europe. Without our Alliance this would not have been possible.... Today we put nearly half a century of confrontation and frustration behind us. Our policy of secure defense and the active pursuit of détente has proved the recipe for peaceful change. With German unity finally realized, the way is clear for this Alliance to achieve its ultimate objective: a lasting order of peace, freedom and justice in Europe.

Less than a year has passed since that night of celebration when the Berlin Wall came down. In that time we have all been witnesses of the historic process of a divided nation growing together again. This unique task of merging two incompatible political and social systems has demanded an unparalleled effort. Yet by their imagination, courage and determination, the German authorities, loyally supported by their partners in the Alliance and in the European Community, have created the climate of confidence needed for success...We gratefully acknowledge the contribution and consent of the Soviet leadership and people.

The unification of Germany in conditions of peace, freedom and prosperity is a vindication of our perseverance; and also of our values, which have proved infinitely more powerful than military force, ideology and repression. Those universal values are the forces that drive history and move human progress....

How to Cite this Source

Secretary General Manfred Wörner, "NATO celebrates German Reunification," Making the History of 1989, Item #50, (accessed May 28 2021, 3:26 pm).

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