Die Wende

A “Wende” (f.) means a decisive change, development, or turning point, and for Germans it really means the dramatic period following the fall of the Berlin Wall (die Mauer). Die Wende encapsulates the social and political earthquake not just of 1989 but the years afterwards, as the East German government collapsed and the current reunified republic came into being.

When Germans refer to “the change”, they are talking about something so integral to modern Germany, so self-evident, that all you need to say is die Wende.

See also Eva Ladipo’s recent novel Wende, which carries the political double meaning of both German reunification and of the turn away from nuclear power.