West Germany (and others) - missing from list of countries

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Notice something missing? The CD was manufactured in West Germany. A country that existed for 40+ years. Surprised no one noticed it missing before. Especially comical as East Germany is listed correctly, but not West Germany.


See https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/STYLE-831

I agree that it’s a bit silly though.

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Same here.
I ran into the same issue with releases released in what’s now Zimbabwe (it was known as Rhodesia between 1965 and 1979).


@mfmeulenbelt - that ticket is weird. And just plain wrong. It is not just a bit silly, it is totally bonkers to leave these countries out of the list - people have fought wars and died over this stuff!! :smile:

Have a look at Olympics records as a good example. The reunited Germany can’t claim the records from West or East Germany are theirs.

I haven’t got time to research now, but the 1945-1990 period of separation is seen as different countries to the reunified Germany. It is also something of real interest with the Music. And actually very important when trying to set a date correctly.

Yes the countries are related, but not the same.

That makes me wonder about Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia - please don’t tell me they just lump Slovakia into Czechoslovakia as “close enough to the same thing”!

Do we have USSR and Russia as separate? Or are the “just the same”? :roll_eyes:

@HibiscusKazeneko - You can add Celyon to that ticket too and other ex-colonies. I can see them arguing over those as “renamed” due to the borders not moving after the name changes. But something credited as recorded in Rhodesia shows a huge amount about the date and history of that recording.

History is important. And naming of countries equally important. These countries are much more than just “renamed”. Especially as “credited as” aliases are not available in the GUI for countries.

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Not having West-Germany as a release country is a bit silly, I never called the existence of West-Germany itself silly.


Sorry… bad edit. I meant that leaving these countries off of the LIST is beyond silly.

I agree with you totally.

Actually there is no missing country name.
After reunification with East Germany, the united Germany is considered to be the enlarged continuation of West Germany and not a successor state.

The proper name should be “Federal Republic of Germany” (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland). Using “Germany” is like using “America” for the United States of America.

So you should use “Germany” before and after reunification, lacking a proper naming of that country.
If there is a change, it would be to rename “Germany” into “Federal Republic of Germany”.

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I will read more another day as I have to stop for tonight and eat. @Algwyn You have linked to a section about the EU.

Why is East Germany listed as an option? West Germany should also be an option to select. It is VERY relevant to dating the item involved. And is also an important part of the history of that recording.

It is wrong to say a CD was “manufactured in Germany” when the date is 1984.

@reosarevok and others why might know: is there any reason MB isn’t using country areas for release countries nowadays (since they can have aliases)? I know areas are a relatively new feature compared to release countries, but apart from that? I’d imagine the vast majority if not all release countries correspond 1:1 with areas on the country level.

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I quoted the first sentence of this section of Germany wikipedia page. It explains that Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BRD, West Germany) continued as the same state, not a new one, and as such kept all its existing links, including membership with EU.

East Germany was an actual state (German Democratic Republic, Deutsche Demokratische Republik) until the reunification with West Germany. “West Germany” and “Germany” designate the same state in different time periods.

I don’t think that it’s much worse that to say “West Germany”. In both case you are using an informal name, instead of the official country name.


Legally, the reunification did not create a third state out of the two. Rather, West Germany effectively absorbed East Germany. Accordingly, on Unification Day, 3 October 1990, the German Democratic Republic ceased to exist, and five new Federal States on its former territory joined the Federal Republic of Germany. East and West Berlin were reunited and joined the Federal Republic as a full-fledged Federal City-State. Under this model, the Federal Republic of Germany, now enlarged to include the five states of the former German Democratic Republic plus the reunified Berlin, continued legally to exist under the same legal personality that was founded in May 1949.


As others have pointed out, Germany and West Germany are legally speaking the same thing. Denmark didn’t stop being Denmark when our borders to Germany or Sweden changed either.

That said, Area relationships allow you to use “credited as” phrases, so you can pick Germany as the Area and have it credited as “West Germany” just the same. This is how “EU” releases are dealt with currently, using Europe but crediting as “(the) EU”, which is even more wrong, since Europe and the EU are not, legally or otherwise, the same thing. (AREQ-940 is about the EU if you’re interested in that whole thing.)


Germany is the legal successor of West Germany. But historic countries like the Austrian Empire are missing for sure. Same with areas changing affiliation. It’s stupid that everyone born in Lviv is born in Lviv, Ukraine, while actually Lviv is ukrainian since 1945. Bach wasn’t born in “Germany” either, but in Sachsen-Eisenach.
It’s up to us to define which past state we want to have here… It would be much work, and I don’t know if we need that kind of information.

That’s not entirely correct. It is not the successor, it is the same country, the Federal Republic of Germany. There never really was a country called West Germany, this is just a convenient term used to distinguish between the two Germanies existing at the time.

So up to the reunification in 1989 there where two Germanies, the Federal Republic of Germany aka West Germany, and the German Democratic Republic aka East Germany. The German Democratic Republic no longer exists, it got integrated into the Federal Republic of Germany which still exists.


Legal successor was the wrong wording, I admit it.

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It seems to me that talking about the legalities of which legal state has which status, and about the current official names of those entities, is a bit missing the point.

MusicBrainz is supposed to be preserving facts about recorded music Releases. Those Releases occurred in the past. So, MusicBrainz should be able to preserve facts about what the country was named in the past, when each Release Event happened in that country.

You could go a step further and say that MusicBrainz should be able to preserve what name the Release used for its country. This is similar to how we can preserve a Release Artist or Track Artist name as credited, if different than the main name MusicBrainz stores for that Artist. However, MusicBrainz doesn’t currently offer to do that for the country of ReleaseEvents.

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Not for Release Events, no, but it does for relationships, like the one shown in the OP.

Also, Release Events I’d also say are different, since Release Events are not printed on the release itself. And they’re most frequently tied to judicial areas, so releases released in the Federal Republic of Germany then were released in the Federal Republic of Germany. The only thing that’s changed is the “nickname” of the judicial area, but the judicial territory itself is the same.