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HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 16

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HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 16

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  1. HI136 The History of GermanyLecture 16 West Germany

  2. The Basic Law • Based on 4 key principles: • The rule of law • Democratic participation for all • Federalism • Social welfare • Established the Federal Republic of Germany as a federal parliamentary democracy with separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government. • Bi-cameral parliament: • Bundestag – Elected every 4 years through universal suffrage. 50% of members directly elected, 50% elected through party lists. Parties need to win over 5% of the vote to gain representation. • Bundesrat – Made up of representatives of the Länder, has the power to approve or veto legislation. • President of the Republic – a largely ceremonial head of state elected by Bundestag members & representatives of the federal Länder. • Chancellor – head of government & elected by the Bundestag. Can only be removed from office through a constructive vote of no confidence. • Länder have extensive powers over administration, education, law & order. • Federal Constitutional Court – based on the US Supreme Court, designed to protect the constitution and had powers to settle disputes between the federal government and the Länder.

  3. Party Politics • SPD – Basically the same party which had existed since 1875. Espoused a programme calling for public ownership & a planned economy. Committed to reunification and opposed European integration in the 1950s. From 1959 moved away from its Marxist roots towards a more inclusive and moderate position. • Christlich Demokratische Union (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) – a break from the pre-1933 parties that amalgamated the constituency of the old Centre Party with a number of centre-right groups. Formed in June 1945, it was based on the principles of Christian Socialism & stood for free market economics and opposed economic liberalism & social democracy. • Freie Demokratische Partei (Free Democratic Party, FDP) - Founded in Dec. 1948, it stood for individualism and liberalism & appealed to those who were alienated by the socialism of the SPD & the Clericalism of the CDU. Despite its small size & limited electoral strength it wielded considerable power & influence, often acting as ‘kingmaker’. Members of the FDP served in nearly every federal coalition between 1949 & 1990, and it provided 2 of West Germany’s 5 Presidents.

  4. The 1949 Bundestag Elections Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard and President TheodorHeuss, 1949

  5. Election Results Source: T. Kirk, Cassell’s Dictionary of Modern German History (2002)

  6. Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) • Born in Cologne, he was a devout Catholic and passionate Rhinelander. • 1917-33: Served as mayor of Cologne. • 1921-33: Chairman of the Prussian Council of State. • 1934: Imprisoned by the Nazis. • 1948-49: Chairman of the Parliamentary Council. • 1949-63: Chancellor of the FRG. • Pragmatic & authoritarian he has been compared to Bismarck and Stresemann. • Determined to integrate Germany into Western Europe, but did too little to address the problems of the recent past.

  7. The Spiegel Affair (1962) • The affair tested limits of freedom of the press. • News magazine Spiegel had reported the Bundeswehr’s limited readiness for conflict with Russians. • Spiegel offices were occupied by police, Augstein arrested, as well as the article’s author. • The Defence Minister lost his job after lying about his involvement in the arrests; Adenauer himself only lasted to 1963. • Popular demonstrations began to free Augstein; beginnings of widespread protest culture? Copies of Der Spiegel being confiscated from the magazine’s offices.

  8. West Germany after Adenauer • 1965-69: Grand Coalition. • 1969 election: CDU = 46.1% of vote, SPD = 42.7%, FDP = 5.8% - SPD-FDP Coalition formed under Willy Brandt. • Wide-ranging reforms: marriage & family law modernized, welfare reform & educational reform. A response to growing unrest in the 1960s. • 1974: Brandt forced to resign in spy scandal. • 1982: SPD & FDP unable to agree on a budget – vote of no-confidence brought the CDU’s Helmut Kohl to power. • 1983 election: CDU won nearly 50% of the vote, the Green Party emerges as a national political party with 5.4% of the vote & 27 deputies in the Bundestag. • A move to the right in the 1980s, accompanied by efforts to cast off the stigma of Nazism & take pride in being German.

  9. Kurt Georg Kiessinger (CDU) 1966-1969 Konrad Adenauer (CDU) 1949-1963 Ludwig Erhard (CDU) 1963-1966 Willy Brandt (SPD) 1969-1974 Helmut Schmidt (SPD) 1974-1982 Helmut Kohl (CDU) 1982-1998

  10. Why were extremist parties not successful? • Allied control: parties needed concession of High Commissioner. • SRP forbidden 1951 by Federal Constitutional Court. • KPD forbidden 1956 by Federal Constitutional Court. • Right wing parties as Bund der Heimatvertriebenen und Entrechteteten (BHE) absorbed by CDU/CSU. • Nationalist takeover of Liberal party (FDP) prevented by Allies (arrest of leaders). • Economic success story.

  11. The Wirtschaftswunder(‘economic miracle’) • Rapid economic growth after 1949 • Reasons for ‘economic miracle’: • Introduction of the Deutschmark halted inflation. • US investment through the Marshal Plan ($4.4 million). • Large, adaptable workforce (partly made up of refugees from Eastern Europe). • German determination to pull together for the national good – few disputes between labour and capital. • Germany had fewer burdens on her exchequer than other powers – no overseas commitments, colonial wars etc. • The Korean War (1950-53) increased demand for industrial goods and removed reluctance to buy German goods – exports boomed. • Unemployment fell from 1.9 million in 1950 to 200,000 in 1961. • GNP trebled during the 1950s, annual growth averaged just under 8% • Gap between rich and poor widened, but standards of living rose across the board – average income for industrial workers rose by 250% between 1950 and 1962.

  12. The Social Market Economy • Ludwig Erhard (1897-1977), Economics Minister (1949-63) and Chancellor (1963-66). • The free market allowed to drive the economy, with minimal state interference. • The role of the state to pick up the slack left by the market and introduce welfare measures to cancel out the inequalities caused by capitalism. • General agreement that the state should provide a safety net to make sure that citizens did not fall below a certain standard of living. • Equalization of Burdens Law (1950): transferred wealth from the well off to provide for those who had lost everything during the war. • Introduction of 40 hour working week. • 1957: Pensions increased & index-linked so they would keep pace with cost of living.

  13. Dealing with the Nazi Legacy • Measures to confront the Nazi past limited in the 1950s. • Moves to compensate victims of National Socialism, extremist parties banned by the Constitutional Court. • But many former Nazis in the civil service – Hans Globke, head of the Chancellors Office (1953-1963) had drafted Nazi anti-Semitic legislation in the 1930s. • The judiciary reluctant to censure sadistic Nazi judges. • Damaged Germany’s reputation abroad & led to a feeling that the Germans had buried their heads in the sand rather than confronting the legacy of National Socialism. Hans Globke (1898-1973)

  14. Foreign Policy • Adenauer’s aims: • International recognition by integration, Democratisation by Westernisation. • Reconciliation with France. • Close relationship with United States – essential for security in bipolar international system (Soviet Threat) • Aims of the Western Powers: • Defeat German militarism and idea of revenge by integration. • Factors which helped rehabilitation: • Perceived Soviet Threat: especially after 1949 (Soviet Atomic Bomb) – German participation needed, good bargaining position for Adenauer: concessions. • Korean War (1950-1953).

  15. Foreign Policy • 1951: Signing (in Paris) of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). • 1952: Signing (in Paris) of the European Defense Community (EDC). The ‘Stalin note’ offering a united neutral Germany. • 1954: Signing of the Paris Agreements. FRG/BRD is invited to join NATO permitting West German rearmament and Italy and the FRG/BRD accede to the Western European Union (WEU). • 1955: Full sovereignty returned to the Federal Republic. • 1957: The Treaty of Rome is signed establishing the European Economic Community. The Saar returns to Germany as a Land (to be followed in 3 years by economic reintegration). • 1963: French-German Friendship Treaty is signed in Paris. • 1969-72: Ostpolitik = attempts to normalize relations between the two German states. • 1972: Basic Treaty – German states agree to develop good relations, settle disputes without force & respect one another’s independence.

  16. Anti-Authoritarianism • By the 1960s increasing resistance to the authoritarian social conservatism of the Adenauer era. • Intellectual opposition – resisted ‘petit-bourgeois’ values of the Adenauer era. • Materialism – Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse warned of late-industrial capitalism creating ‘one-dimensional man’, alienated by consumerism & ‘latent authoritarianism’ of liberal state. • Generational Conflict – a new generation untainted by Nazism & war growing up – increasingly suspicious of the parental generation. Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979)

  17. Anti-Authoritarianism • Opposition to re-armament (‘ohne mich’). • Student Politics: • Anti-nuclear • Anti-Vietnam war • Calls for greater student democracy & reform of universities • 1965-69: Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (Ausserparlamentarische Opposition, APO) staged protest marches, demonstrations etc. • 1968: demonstrations in German cities. Socialist German Students’ League poster: ‘Everyone’s talking about the weather. Not us.’

  18. Terrorism • The Red Army Faction (RAF) or Baader-Meinhof Gang formed by former student radicals frustrated by the failure of the mainstream student movement to change German society. • Aim to unmask latent authoritarianism of state by provoking police overreaction. • Targeted symbols of capitalism, such as bankers, as well as former NSDAP members, but also US military. • Founder generation leaders all in prison by 1972. • 1977: RAF & the Palestinian Liberation Organization hijacking Lufthansa plane in Mogadishu foiled by special forces. • RAF leadership commit suicide in prison shortly afterwards. • 1972: anti-terrorist laws increase police powers & require job applicants to undergo political scrutiny.

  19. Conclusion • The Federal Republic became a stable parliamentary democracy. • Nevertheless, continuity with the past, particularly under Adenauer. • Rapid economic recovery leading to prosperity. • But this brought its own problems: • Student unrest • High taxes • West Germany ‘a viable democracy with a distinctly conservative colouration.’ (Carr)