The downfall and disappearance of the German Democratic Republic, the GDR, and the unification in 1990 of the two German states into the Federal Republic of Germany, the FRG, marked the end of an era. Forty years of divided and non-simultaneous German history had been brought to an end, and the national or German question had at last been solved. Since 1990 German history has continued as the history of the Federal Republic. From this perspective 1990 marked not an absolute end, but the continuity of the Federal Republic and to some degree even the triumph of the political, economic and social system of the FRG, as the inhabitants of the socialist GDR, when they had the opportunity, voted for joining the successful and wealthy West German state. The end of divided history, however, has had another consequence. Even if the era of the GDR, because of the very favourable archive situation, attracted great attention among historians, the focus of historical research has turned more and more to the history of the Federal Republic in order to analyse and explain why the FRG ended as a success, while the socialist GDR failed in its ambitions and aspirations as an alternative Germany. History demonstrated that the GDR was no German option, although for some time it was a German reality.