German Reunification (Domestic Autonomy)

Oct. 3, 2019 Weekly Graphs

October 3rd is the Day of German Unity, commemorating the reunification of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1990. V-Dem’s Variable Graph shows the Domestic Autonomy index in the years while the country was divided.

The V-Dem Domestic Autotomy Index reflects the degree to which domestic political actors are free to conduct policy without direct control from external actors. It is measured on a scale from 0 to 2, where 0 means non-autonomous (national authority is exercised by a foreign power), 1 means semi-autonomous (an external political actor constrains national rule), and 2 means autonomous (free of direct control of external actors).

The Variable Graph shows that the Federal Republic of Germany had some limits to its domestic autonomy in the early years after WWII, while it was still occupied by the Allies. However, it reobtained its sovereignty in the mid-50s obtaining scores of approximately 2 on the Domestic Autonomy Index.

The German Democratic Republic, on the other hand, had scores close to one throughout its existence, reflecting Soviet influence over internal policy. The country shows a significant increase in domestic autonomy from 1989 to 1990, after the fall of the Berlin wall and during the reunification process.

To learn more about V-Dem’s indicators and graphing tools, including on historical polities that have ceased to exist, visit

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