The unification of Germany as a prelude to the end of the division of Europe and the termination of the Cold War came as a surprise to the whole world. It was the beginning of a new era in German and European history. The Price of German Unity is the first full-scale analysis of this process, both domestically and in its wider international context, with a particular focus on the social-policy consequences. Gerhard A. Ritter uses a wide range of hitherto inaccessible sources to describe and analyse the dynamics of reunification, including archives from the Chancellor's Office, and the relevant ministries and major parties of both the Federal Republic and the GDR, as well as private papers of leading actors on both sides and a wealth of interview material. As the book convincingly demonstrates, the wholesale transfer of the social system of the Federal Republic of Germany to the territory of the former GDR and the huge drain of economic resources from West to East that this involved, profoundly affected the economic and political framework of the new Germany and greatly intensified the latent crisis of the German welfare state.