30 years ago, the Berlin Wall came down. The historic 9 November 1989 was followed by a tireless gallop on the route to German unity: less than eleven months later, the East German state – better known as German Democratic Republic (GDR) – was a thing of the past. On 3 October 1990, Germans celebrated their reunification. In legal terms this meant: the GDR’s territory joined the Federal Republic of Germany as new eastern Länder.
At this year’s celebrations for Germany’s Unity Day, Chancellor Angela Merkel said an interesting sentence about the pace of this process: "We have to learn to understand what it meant for the individual people when the burden of division was followed by the impact of unification." For the abrupt end of the German Democratic Republic after its 40-year existence not only meant freedom of travel, free elections and hard Deutschmarks for its citizens. It also meant a new start in a system for which no-one really had prepared them.
For our latest title story, we searched for people at Daimler who experienced themselves how the political change resulted in personal change. We found Torsten Schulz, Thanh Nguyen Manh and Detlef Ludwig. All three were working at the commercial vehicle combine in Ludwigsfelde – which is now a Mercedes-Benz plant. They tell us what effects those major events in the autumn of 1989 had on a smaller scale: how the fall of the Wall and German unity changed their lives.
The story of the three men is also the first long feature to appear here exclusively on Daimler’s new online magazine – which from today will be an essential part of our corporate website. We want to do three things in this magazine: firstly we want to deal in depth with topics which are of social, technological or strategic relevance. Secondly we want to show the many faces that Daimler is made of. And thirdly we want to explain what this company does and why it does what it does. That is why we will be publishing a title story here every two weeks. If you click here you can find out more about who is doing the writing, why we are doing this and how you can contact us.
We have no cause for concern that we will run out of material for this magazine. Because Daimler has been writing history and driving the narrative for more than 130 years. This is where we tell these stories.
On behalf of the entire team: Enjoy the new medium and our first title story!