After forty years one could call the
division of Germany a social experiment. The experiment is similar
to the scientific research of twins separated at birth, both
of whom later have a common criminal record. Through the efforts
of the Allied Powers the twins are forcibly separated and placed
into two quite different boarding schools... The twin named
FRG grows up in the stimulating climate of western values, he
learns, initially only with great effort, then with growing
enthusiasm, to appreciate democracy, capitalism, and individual
freedom as basic values. Not lastly he learns to respect the
western director of research. The other twin, named GDR, often
physically abused, works just as hard to absorb the basic values
of eastern culture: the virtues of solidarity, social engagement,
passion for socialism and naturally eternal friendship with
the eastern director of research. Let's assume that a wall is
built between the twins and unusual visitation rights are agreed
upon. The FRG twin is allowed freedom of movement, whereas the
GDR twin is restricted from going to the West...
The FRG twin is supported by the Marshall
Plan and the western market economy, and gradually becomes wealthy.
His twin brother, the GDR, not only has to repay war reparations
to the much poorer eastern research director, but he is also
forced to adopt an inefficient economic system and prove at
a high level that this system doesn't work... The twins have
one cultural element in common: obedience. What kind of results
can we expect from such an experiment?
One result is predictable: the GDR twin
will develop an insatiable curiosity for everything on the other
side of the wall. This doesn't necessarily mean that he wants
to switch places with the FRG twin. He is simply the victim
of a psychological law: every wall on earth, whether German
or Chinese, creates the challenge to overcome it...
The GDR twin develops an attitude of
reproach toward the western twin, whose visit he can only await.
He cannot initiate a visit. He resents his twin who could visit
or call more regularly, who could be more generous and who simply
was lucky to be living on the correct side of the Elbe River.
He's not more hard-working than the GDR twin, but he's become
rather arrogant and self-righteous...
The western twin, on the other side
of the wall, is annoyed that the GDR twin always expects something
from him and refuses to believe that he (the FRG twin) has to
work hard in order to enjoy a high standard of living. Furthermore,
the GDR twin refuses to accept that the socialist system of
production is bankrupt... There is a growing distrust between
One of the first results of the experiment
is that, after 40 years of separation, ambivalent feelings for
each other have developed, even enmity... How deep are these
differences between the twins? The answer to this question touches
a basic bone of contention within twin research; that is, the
debate about the effect of the environment and genetics....
Although their common family traditions are preserved in language,
basic convictions and quirks, the environmental elements may
prove to be stronger than genes. The culture of obedience, inherited
by birth, results in a loyalty to the corresponding research
director. On one side of the wall, the twin becomes an obedient
democrat, on the other, an obedient communist. (Translation:
Ursula Rice and David Miller)