East and West fade out today as official ways to describe Germany. The power of old military occupiers is being handed over, and scores of foreign diplomats are losing their host country.

Reunification is not, however, coming without rough edges.The new united Germany of almost 78 million people arising at midnight will have to rely on considerable strengths to cope with difficult tasks. The West is absorbing an alien and ailing economy and rich and poor relations are moving in under the same roof.

The new Germany may also have to contend with stepped up violence by radicals at both ends of the political spectrum.

Such extremists have threatened to disrupt reunification celebrations and are being blamed by police for arson attacks Monday on two department stores that are the largest in East and West Berlin.

Police said two incendiary devices were set off at the Centrum-Warenhaus store in East Berlin at Alexanderplatz square about 10 p.m. About 30 minutes later another incendiary device exploded in the Kaufhaus des Westens in West Berlin, police said.There were no reports of injuries.

There was also no immediate indication on who carried out the attacks. Hesse state radio said damage was extensive and the timing of the fires indicated radicals were making good on their threats.

The mass-circulation Bild newspaper said 10,000 leftists were threatening to disrupt festivities, and police feared a clash with rightists who also have vowed to march through Berlin.

Beginning Tuesday were three days of fireworks, church services, ceremonies and parties to mark the end of 45 years of divison entering on Berlin, a city of 3 million people spliced by an infamous wall.

West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl told a convention of his Christian Democratic Union in Hamburg on Monday that Germany now faces three immense tasks: the reconstruction of formerly Communist East Germany, the completion of European integration and the taking on of a greater international role.

"We still have a difficult way ahead of us. And for the huge tasks which lie before us, we will have to make sacrifices," he declared.

"Everyone must know that there is no withdrawing into a comfortable niche of world politics."

The convention confirmed the merger of the Christian Democratic parties of the two Germanys and set the 60-year-old Kohl at the helm of the conservative party for countrywide elections expected in December.

Before the celebrations and politicking can get under way, an important procedural change was to take place Tuesday:

Three generals of the World War II Allies were to hand back the special power they wield over West Berlin.

Known as the "Allied Kommandantura," the U.S., British and French commanders have held veto power over whether West German laws apply to West Berlin. The veto power dates from after the Allies' defeat of Nazi Germany and East-West divisions turned Berlin and Germany into a tense Cold War frontier.

The three Western allies will keep troops in Berlin, however, until the Soviets withdraw their forces from East Germany in the next four years.


(Additional information)

Die Einheit

Unified Germany, 1990

Unification ceremonies

Events in Berlin on Oct. 2

(Times are local)

9 p.m.

Ceremony in the Schausplehaus Theater in East Berlin. Address by outgoing Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere, followed by concert conducted by Kurt Masur.

11 p.m.

Music starts in the Platz der Republik in front of the Reichstag building.

11:55 p.m.

Beginning of the ringing of the Freedom Bell.


German flag is raised at the Reichstag. The national anthem is sung, marking the end of the official events.