Peace Time: Digging Up World War II


May 5, 2005

One of the unanticipated costs of unifying Germany has been the expense of removing all the unexploded munitions in the former East Germany. The Communist government there was not interested in doing it, and was able to avoid doing so because there was not a lot of new construction while the communist were in charge (1945-91). When unification, and a market economy, arrived in 1991, East Germany was found to be full of unexploded munitions. As the more prosperous West Germany began pouring billions of dollars into the East, the construction projects continually bumped into thousands of bombs and shells that had not gone off. As a result, since 1991, nearly 10,000 tons of munitions have been removed. Last year alone, there were 1,478 sites in and around Berlin where 500 tons of munitions were removed, at a cost of $26 million. Berlin has an exceptionally large amount of unexploded munitions. This is partly due to the extensive air bombardment of the city during World War II, and also because of the major battles fought with the Russian troops, who captured the city, in 1945. In addition to all the unexploded munitions, thousands of bodies, mostly skeletons now, of soldiers and civilians, have also been unearthed. The construction boom in eastern Germany is expected to continue for another few years, and so will the large haul of deadly reminders of World War II. 


Article Archive

Peace Time: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close