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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany


East Germany contains no minority groups of any significant size. Most citizens identify themselves as Germans, culturally and linguistically. The government, particularly since the early 1970s, has encouraged the development among its citizens of an East German national consciousness distinct from that of West Germans. It has adopted a "two-nation" policy and has pointed to divergences in culture, language, and socioeconomic development as proof that a single German nation no longer exists. Most East Germans, however, believe that they share with their West German counterparts a German nationality that is based on a common ethnic heritage and shared historical experiences.

Data as of July 1987