German Language Blog

3 Words About Former West Germany Posted by on Jul 24, 2019 in Culture, Language

Guten Tag! I recently read a book about the history of Germany. It contained many words I hadn’t heard of before, that gave insights into specific aspects of German history. The section on the post-war/Cold War period (1945-1991), in particular, used several German words when discussing the topic of East and West Germany. We all know that Germany was divided into east and west, but what we perhaps aren’t as familiar with are the terms used to describe what was happening as a result of this divide. In this post I’m sharing the ‘west’ words mentioned in the book (words related to former West Germany), and this post shares the ‘east’ words (words related to former East Germany). I hope you find this as interesting as I did!

3 Words About Former West Germany

Allies’ flags outside Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin / Image via Pixabay

die Westintegration

‘The west integration’, or ‘integration with the west’, refers to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s desire to push post-war (West) Germany into a westernised society as quickly as possible, away from Nazism and away from the Soviet rule in East Germany. Adenauer was Germany’s first chancellor (1949-1963) and Westintegration was at the root of his politics.


die Westernisierung
die Verwestlichung

Die Westernisierung translates to ‘westernisation’. In 1950s Germany, Westernisierung was regarded as a good thing because it had replaced the Nazism which came before it. People generally welcomed the Westernisierung of post-war Germany. But by the 1960s people started to become dissatisfied with the apparent Amerikanisierung (Americanisation) of parts of West Germany under allied rule, and so Westernisierung began being known as die Verwestlichung, which carried a more negative connotation and suggested American culture was ‘taking over’.

The book also mentions the word McKultur. Literally ‘McCulture’, this is a reference to American fast-food chain McDonalds, and is a colloquial term to describe how American culture spread across Germany. As McDonalds was not in Germany until 1971, this term won’t have come about until much later. Other, similar terms include die Coca-Colaisierung (‘the Coca-Colaisation’) and die McDonaldisierung (‘the McDonaldisation’).


image via pixabay


Here is the post on words related to East Germany! Bis bald (see you soon)!

Related vocabulary:

history – die Geschichte

Cold War – der Kalte Krieg

East Germany – Ostdeutschland / Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR)

West Germany – Westdeutschland / Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD)

integration – die Integration

chancellor – der Kanzler (m) / die Kanzlerin (f)

politics – die Politik

Nazism – der Nazismus

Americanisation – die Amerikanisierung

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.