October 1, 2010
Bloomberg Businessweek is commemorating the reunification of the two Germanys with its cover story Best Merger Ever - How did two Germanys become one? "There won't be many birthday parties for Berlin this year. The city's main thoroughfare, Unter den Linden, is still jammed with tourists, and the Prussian-era museums, destroyed by Allied bombs during World War II, have been restored to their former glory. The cafés and bars of Mitte, in what used to be East Berlin, overflow with polyglot congregations of artists and hipsters. But Berliners are staying stoic about Oct. 3, 2010-the 20th anniversary of German unification, an event that ended four decades of German division and closed the books on the Cold War. Today, Germany is the most important country in Europe. Its export-driven economy is the envy of the developed world. Second-quarter gross domestic product rose 9 percent, the fastest pace in two decades. German business confidence hit its highest level in more than three years in September, suggesting that German companies can withstand weaker demand for exports should the global economy slow. The rest of Europe has become dependent on Germany's size, industry, and frugality, and many of the country's business leaders-and largest exporters-are reconciled to the need to support weaker nations. Two decades after unification, Germany is "stable, democratic, and prosperous," says John Kornblum. "It's exactly what we wanted it to be." The task now for Germany's friends-something unimaginable just a few decades ago-is to help it get even stronger."