West Germany

West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland) in the period between its creation on 23 May 1949 and German reunification on 3 October 1990. During this Cold War era, NATO-aligned West Germany and Warsaw Pact-aligned East Germany were divided by the Inner German border. After 1961 West Berlin was physically separated from East Berlin as well as from East Germany by the Berlin Wall. This situation ended when East Germany was dissolved and split into five states, which then joined the ten states of the Federal Republic of Germany along with the reunified city-state of Berlin. With the reunification of West and East Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, enlarged now to sixteen states, became known simply as "Germany". This period is referred to as the Bonn Republic (Bonner Republik) by historians, alluding to the interwar Weimar Republic and the post-reunification Berlin Republic.[3]

The Federal Republic of Germany was established from eleven states formed in the three Allied Zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France (the "Western Zones"). US and British forces remained in the country throughout the Cold War. Its population grew from roughly 51 million in 1950 to more than 63 million in 1990. The city of Bonn was its (provisional) capital. The fourth Allied occupation zone (the East Zone, or Ostzone) was held by the Soviet Union, bounded to the east by the Oder-Neisse line; and in 1949 this became the socialist German Democratic Republic (abbreviated GDR; in German Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR) with its de facto capital in East Berlin. The former parts of Germany east of the Oder-Neisse were separated from 'Germany as a whole' by the Potsdam Agreement of 1945, and then annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union. As a result, West Germany had a territory about half the size of the interwar period democratic Weimar Republic.

At the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided among the Western and Eastern blocs. Germany was de facto divided into two countries and two special territories, the Saarland and divided Berlin. Initially the Federal Republic of Germany claimed an exclusive mandate for all of Germany, considering itself to be the democratically reorganised continuation of the 1871–1945 German Reich. It took the line that the GDR was an illegally constituted puppet state. Though the GDR did hold regular elections, these were not free and fair. From the West German perspective, the GDR was therefore illegitimate.

Three southwestern states of West Germany merged to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952, and the Saarland joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. In addition to the resulting ten states, West Berlin was considered an unofficial de facto 11th state. While legally not part of the Federal Republic of Germany, as Berlin was under the control of the Allied Control Council, West Berlin aligned itself politically with West Germany and was directly or indirectly represented in its federal institutions.

Relations with the Soviet bloc improved during the era of "Neue Ostpolitik" around 1970, West Germany then adopting the principle that the GDR and the Federal Republic were "two German states within one German nation". Claims to an exclusive mandate were formally relinquished, West Germany accepting that, within its own boundaries, the GDR represented its population as a de jure German state outside the Federal Republic. In addition, although the Federal Republic still did not recognise the GDR as being fully a sovereign state in international law, it nevertheless accepted that within the forum of international law East Germany was an independent sovereign state with which the Federal Republic could enter into binding international agreements. But in respect of legality within its own boundaries, West Germany continued to maintain that there remained a single (but dormant) overall German nation, that could only be represented de jure by the Federal Republic. From 1973 onward, East Germany maintained the existence of two German sovereign states, with West Germany being both de facto and de jure a foreign country. The Federal Republic and the GDR agreed that neither of them could speak in the name of the other.

The foundation for the influential position held by Germany today was laid during the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) of the 1950s when West Germany rose from the enormous destruction wrought by World War II to become the world's third-largest economy. The first chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who remained in office until 1963, had worked for a full alignment with NATO rather than neutrality. He not only secured a membership in NATO but was also a proponent of agreements that developed into the present-day European Union. When the G6 was established in 1975, there was no question whether the Federal Republic of Germany would be a member as well.

Following the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, symbolised by the opening of the Berlin Wall, there was a rapid move towards German reunification. East Germany voted to dissolve itself and accede to the Federal Republic in 1990. Its five post-war states (Länder) were reconstituted along with the reunited Berlin, which ended its special status and formed an additional Land. They formally joined the Federal Republic on 3 October 1990, raising the number of states from 10 to 16, ending the division of Germany. The expanded Federal Republic retained West Germany's political culture and continued its existing memberships in international organisations, as well as its Western foreign policy alignment and affiliation to Western alliances like UN, NATO, OECD and the European Union.

Federal Republic of Germany

Bundesrepublik Deutschland
1949–1990
Motto: "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit"
"Unity and Justice and Freedom"
Anthem: 
"Ich hab' mich ergeben" and "Hymne an Deutschland" (1949–1952)
Territory of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from the accession of the Saar on 1 January 1957 to German reunification on 3 October 1990
Territory of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from the accession of the Saar on 1 January 1957 to German reunification on 3 October 1990
CapitalBonnf
Largest cityHamburg
Common languagesGerman
GovernmentFederal parliamentary constitutional republic
President 
• 1949–1959
Theodor Heuss
• 1959–1969
Heinrich Lübke
• 1969–1974
Gustav Heinemann
• 1974–1979
Walter Scheel
• 1979–1984
Karl Carstens
• 1984–1990
Richard von Weizsäckerb
Chancellor 
• 1949–1963
Konrad Adenauer
• 1963–1966
Ludwig Erhard
• 1966–1969
Kurt Georg Kiesinger
• 1969–1974
Willy Brandt
• 1974–1982
Helmut Schmidt
• 1982–1990
Helmut Kohlc
LegislatureBundestag
Historical eraCold War
• Formation
23 May 1949
1 January 1957
• Admitted to the United Nations
18 September 1973
3 October 1990
Area
1990248,577 km2 (95,976 sq mi)
Population
• 1950
50,958,000d
• 1970
61,001,000
• 1990
63,254,000
CurrencyDeutsche Marke (DM) (DEM)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Calling code49
Internet TLD.de
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Allied-occupied Germany
Saar Protectorate
Federal Republic of Germany (reunified Germany)
Today part of Germany
  1. From 1952 to 1991, the official national anthem of Germany was Deutschlandlied in its entirety, but only the third stanza was to be sung at official events.[1]
  2. Continued as President of the reunified Germany until 1994.
  3. Continued as Chancellor of the reunified Germany until 1998.
  4. Population statistics according to Statistisches Bundesamt.[2]
  5. In Saarland, between January 1957 and July 1959, the French franc and Saar franc.
  6. At first, Bonn was referred to only as the provisional seat of government institutions, but from the early 1970s it was called the "federal capital" (Bundeshauptstadt).

Naming conventions

The official name of West Germany, adopted in 1949 and unchanged since is Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany).

In East Germany, the terms Westdeutschland (West Germany) or westdeutsche Bundesrepublik (West German Federal Republic) were preferred during the 1950s and 1960s. This changed once under its 1968 constitution, when the idea of a single German nation was abandoned by East Germany, and as a result West Germans and West Berliners were officially considered foreigners. In the early 1970s, starting in the East German Neues Deutschland, the initialism "BRD" (FRG) for the "Federal Republic of Germany" began to prevail in East German usage. In 1973, official East German sources adopted it as a standard expression and other Eastern Bloc nations soon followed suit.

In reaction to this move, in 1965 the West German Federal Minister of All-German Affairs Erich Mende issued the Directives for the appellation of Germany, recommending avoiding the initialism. On 31 May 1974, the heads of West German federal and state governments recommended always using the full name in official publications. From then on West German sources avoided the abbreviated form, with the exception of left-leaning organizations which embraced it. In November 1979 the federal government informed the Bundestag that the West German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF had agreed to refuse to use the initialism.[4]

The ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code of West Germany was "DE" (for Deutschland, Germany), which has remained the country code of Germany after reunification. ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 are the most widely used country codes, and the "DE" code is notably used as country identifier extending the postal code and as the Internet's country code top-level domain .de. Accordingly the less widely used ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code of West Germany was "DEU", which has also remained the country code of reunified Germany. The now deleted codes for East Germany, on the other hand, was "DD" in ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 and "DDR" in ISO 3166-1 alpha-3.

The colloquial term "West Germany" or its equivalent was used in many languages. "Westdeutschland" was also a widespread colloquial form used in German-speaking countries, usually without political overtones.

History

Map-Germany-1945
Occupation zone borders in Germany, 1947. The territories east of the Oder-Neisse line, under Polish and Soviet administration/annexation, are shown in cream, as is the detached Saar protectorate. Bremen was an American enclave within the British zone. Berlin was a four-power area within the Soviet zone.

On 4–11 February 1945 leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union held the Yalta Conference where future arrangements as regards post-war Europe and strategy against Japan in the Pacific were negotiated. The conference agreed that post-war Germany would be divided into four occupation zones: a French Zone in the far west; a British Zone in the northwest; an American Zone in the south; and a Soviet Zone in the East. Berlin was separately divided into four zones. These divisions were not intended to dismember Germany, only to designate zones of administration.

By the subsequent Potsdam Agreement, the four Allied Powers asserted joint sovereignty over 'Germany as a whole', defined as the totality of the territory within the occupation zones. Former German areas east of the rivers Oder and Neisse and outside of 'Germany as a whole' were separated from German sovereignty and transferred to Polish and Russian administration, their Polish and Russian status to be confirmed at a final Peace Treaty. Following wartime commitments by the Allies to the governments-in-exile of Czechoslovakia and Poland, the Potsdam Protocols also agreed to the 'orderly and humane' transfer back to Germany as a whole of the ethnic German populations in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Eight million German expellees and refugees eventually settled in West Germany. Between 1946 and 1949, three of the occupation zones began to merge. First, the British and American zones were combined into the quasi-state of Bizonia. Soon afterwards, the French zone was included into Trizonia. At the same time, new federal states (Länder) were formed in the Allied zones; replacing the geography of pre-Nazi German states such as the Free State of Prussia and the Republic of Baden, which had derived ultimately from former independent German kingdoms and principalities.

In 1949 with the continuation and aggravation of the Cold War (witness the Berlin Airlift of 1948–49), the two German states that were originated in the Western Allied and the Soviet Zones became known internationally as West Germany and East Germany. Commonly known in English as East Germany, the former Soviet Occupation Zone, eventually became the German Democratic Republic or GDR. In 1990 West Germany and East Germany jointly signed the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany; by which transitional status of Germany following World War II was definitively ended, the Four Allied powers relinquished their joint residual sovereign authority for Germany as a whole, the two parts of Germany confirmed their post-war external boundaries as final and irreversible (including the 1945 transfer of former German lands east of the Oder-Neisse line), and the Allied Powers confirmed their consent to German Reunification. From 3 October 1990, after the reformation of the GDR's Länder, the East German states joined the Federal Republic.

NATO membership

Deutschland Bundeslaender 1957
West Germany (blue) and West Berlin (yellow) after the accession of the Saarland in 1957 and before the five Länder from the GDR and East Berlin joined in 1990

With territories and frontiers that coincided largely with the ones of old Medieval East Francia and the 19th-century Napoleonic Confederation of the Rhine, the Federal Republic of Germany, founded on 23 May 1949, under the terms of the Bonn–Paris conventions it obtained "the full authority of a sovereign state" on 5 May 1955 (although "full sovereignty" was not obtained until the Two Plus Four Agreement in 1990).[b] The former occupying Western troops remained on the ground, now as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which West Germany joined on 9 May 1955, promising to rearm itself soon.

West Germany became a focus of the Cold War with its juxtaposition to East Germany, a member of the subsequently founded Warsaw Pact. The former capital, Berlin, had been divided into four sectors, with the Western Allies joining their sectors to form West Berlin, while the Soviets held East Berlin. West Berlin was completely surrounded by East German territory and had suffered a Soviet blockade in 1948–49, which was overcome by the Berlin airlift.

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F002449-0027, Bonn, Bundestag, Pariser Verträge, Adenauer
Konrad Adenauer in parliament, 1955

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 led to U.S. calls to rearm West Germany to help defend Western Europe from the perceived Soviet threat. Germany's partners in the Coal and Steel Community proposed to establish a European Defence Community (EDC), with an integrated army, navy and air force, composed of the armed forces of its member states. The West German military would be subject to complete EDC control, but the other EDC member states (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) would cooperate in the EDC while maintaining independent control of their own armed forces.

Though the EDC treaty was signed (May 1952), it never entered into force. France's Gaullists rejected it on the grounds that it threatened national sovereignty, and when the French National Assembly refused to ratify it (August 1954), the treaty died. The French Gaullists and communists had killed the French government's proposal. Then other means had to be found to allow West German rearmament. In response, at the London and Paris Conferences, the Brussels Treaty was modified to include West Germany, and to form the Western European Union (WEU). West Germany was to be permitted to rearm (an idea many Germans rejected), and have full sovereign control of its military, called the Bundeswehr. The WEU, however, would regulate the size of the armed forces permitted to each of its member states. Also, the German constitution prohibited any military action, except in the case of an external attack against Germany or its allies (Bündnisfall). Also, Germans could reject military service on grounds of conscience, and serve for civil purposes instead.

The three Western Allies retained occupation powers in Berlin and certain responsibilities for Germany as a whole. Under the new arrangements, the Allies stationed troops within West Germany for NATO defense, pursuant to stationing and status-of-forces agreements. With the exception of 55,000 French troops, Allied forces were under NATO's joint defense command. (France withdrew from the collective military command structure of NATO in 1966.)

Reforms during the 1960s

Konrad Adenauer was 73 years old when he became chancellor, and for this reason he was initially reckoned as a caretaker. However, he stayed in power for 14 years. The grand old man of German postwar politics had to be dragged—almost literally—out of office in 1963. In 1959 it was time to elect a new President and Adenauer decided that he would nominate Erhard, the architect of the economic miracle. Erhard was not enthusiastic, and to everybody's surprise, Adenauer decided at the age of 83 that he would take on the position. He apparently believed that this would allow him to dominate the scene for up to ten more years in spite of the growing mood for change. However, when his advisers informed him that the powers of the president were almost entirely ceremonial, he quickly lost interest.[6] An alternative candidate was needed and eventually the Minister of Agriculture, Heinrich Lübke took on the task and was duly elected.

In October 1962 the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel published an analysis of the West German military defence. The conclusion was that there were several weaknesses in the system. Ten days after publication, the offices of Der Spiegel in Hamburg were raided by the police and quantities of documents were seized. Chancellor Adenauer proclaimed in the Bundestag that the article was tantamount to high treason and that the authors would be prosecuted. The editor/owner of the magazine, Rudolf Augstein spent some time in jail before the public outcry over the breaking of laws on freedom of the press became too loud to be ignored. The FDP members of Adenauer's cabinet resigned from the government, demanding the resignation of Franz Josef Strauss, Defence Minister, who had decidedly overstepped his competence during the crisis. Adenauer was still wounded by his brief run for president, and this episode damaged his reputation even further. He announced that he would step down in the fall of 1963. His successor was to be Ludwig Erhard.[7]

In the early 1960s the rate of economic growth slowed down significantly. In 1962 growth rate was 4.7% and the following year, 2.0%. After a brief recovery, the growth rate slowed again into a recession, with no growth in 1967.

A new coalition was formed to deal with this problem. Erhard stepped down in 1966 and was succeeded by Kurt Georg Kiesinger. He led a grand coalition between West Germany's two largest parties, the CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). This was important for the introduction of new emergency acts: the grand coalition gave the ruling parties the two-thirds majority of votes required for their ratification. These controversial acts allowed basic constitutional rights such as freedom of movement to be limited in case of a state of emergency.

Rudi
Rudi Dutschke, student leader

During the time leading up to the passing of the laws, there was fierce opposition to them, above all by the Free Democratic Party, the rising German student movement, a group calling itself Notstand der Demokratie ("Democracy in Crisis") and members of the Campaign against Nuclear Armament. A key event in the development of open democratic debate occurred in 1967, when the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, visited West Berlin. Several thousand demonstrators gathered outside the Opera House where he was to attend a special performance. Supporters of the Shah (later known as Jubelperser), armed with staves and bricks attacked the protesters while the police stood by and watched. A demonstration in the centre was being forcibly dispersed when a bystander named Benno Ohnesorg was shot in the head and killed by a plainclothes policeman. (It has now been established that the policeman, Kurras, was a paid spy of the East German security forces.) Protest demonstrations continued, and calls for more active opposition by some groups of students were made, which was declared by the press, especially the tabloid Bild-Zeitung newspaper, as a massive disruption to life in Berlin, in a massive campaign against the protesters. Protests against the US intervention in Vietnam, mingled with anger over the vigour with which demonstrations were repressed led to mounting militance among the students at the universities in Berlin. One of the most prominent campaigners was a young man from East Germany called Rudi Dutschke who also criticised the forms of capitalism that were to be seen in West Berlin. Just before Easter 1968, a young man tried to kill Dutschke as he bicycled to the student union, seriously injuring him. All over West Germany, thousands demonstrated against the Springer newspapers which were seen as the prime cause of the violence against students. Trucks carrying newspapers were set on fire and windows in office buildings broken.[8]

In the wakes of these demonstrations, in which the question of America's role in Vietnam began to play a bigger role, came a desire among the students to find out more about the role of the parent-generation in the Nazi era. The proceedings of the War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg had been widely publicised in Germany but until a new generation of teachers, educated with the findings of historical studies, could begin to reveal the truth about the war and the crimes committed in the name of the German people. One courageous attorney, Fritz Bauer patiently gathered evidence on the guards of the Auschwitz concentration camp and about twenty were put on trial in Frankfurt in 1963. Daily newspaper reports and visits by school classes to the proceedings revealed to the German public the nature of the concentration camp system and it became evident that the Shoah was of vastly greater dimensions than the German population had believed. (The term "Holocaust" for the systematic mass-murder of Jews first came into use in 1979, when an American mini-series with that name was shown on German television.) The processes set in motion by the Auschwitz trial reverberated decades later.

The calling in question of the actions and policies of government led to a new climate of debate. The issues of emancipation, colonialism, environmentalism and grass roots democracy were discussed at all levels of society. In 1979 the environmental party, the Greens, reached the 5% limit required to obtain parliamentary seats in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen provincial election. Also of great significance was the steady growth of a feminist movement in which women demonstrated for equal rights. Until 1977 a married woman had to have the permission of her husband if she wanted to take on a job or open a bank account.[9] Further reforms in 1979 to parental rights law gave equal legal rights to the mother and the father, abolishing the legal authority of the father.[10] Parallel to this, a gay movement began to grow in the larger cities, especially in West Berlin, where homosexuality had been widely accepted during the twenties in the Weimar Republic.

RAF-Logo
Logo of the Red Army Faction

Anger over the treatment of demonstrators following the death of Benno Ohnesorg and the attack on Rudi Dutschke, coupled with growing frustration over the lack of success in achieving their aims led to growing militance among students and their supporters. In May 1968, three young people set fire to two department stores in Frankfurt, they were brought to trial and made very clear to the court that they regarded their action as a legitimate act in what they described as the "struggle against imperialism".[11] The student movement began to split into different factions, ranging from the unattached liberals to the Maoists and supporters of direct action in every form—the anarchists. Several groups set as their objective the aim of radicalising the industrial workers and taking an example from activities in Italy of the Red Brigades (Brigade Rosse), many students went to work in the factories, but with little or no success. The most notorious of the underground groups was the "Baader-Meinhof Group", later known as the Red Army Faction which began by making bank raids to finance their activities and eventually went underground having killed a number of policemen, several bystanders and eventually two prominent West Germans, whom they had taken captive in order to force the release of prisoners sympathetic to their ideas. In the 1990s attacks were still being committed under the name "RAF". The last action took place in 1993 and the group announced it was giving up its activities in 1998. Evidence that the groups had been infiltrated by German Intelligence undercover agents has since emerged, partly through the insistence of the son of one of their prominent victims, the State Counsel Buback.[12]

Political developments 1969–90

In the 1969 election, the SPD—headed by Willy Brandt—gained enough votes to form a coalition government with the FDP. Although Chancellor for only just over four years, Willy Brandt was one of the most popular politicians in the whole period. Brandt was a gifted speaker and the growth of the Social Democrats from there on was in no small part due to his personality. Brandt began a policy of rapprochement with West Germany's eastern neighbours, a policy opposed by the CDU. The issue of improving relations with Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany made for an increasingly aggressive tone in public debates but it was a huge step forward when Willy Brandt and the Foreign Minister, Walther Scheel (FDP) negotiated agreements with all three countries. (Moscow Agreement, August 1970, Warsaw Agreement, December 1970, Four Power Agreement over the status of West Berlin in 1971 and an agreement on relations between West and East Germany, signed in December 1972.)[13] These agreements were the basis for a rapid improvement in the relations between east and west and led, in the long-term to the dismantlement of the Warsaw Treaty and the Soviet Union's control over Eastern Europe. Chancellor Brandt was forced to resign in May 1974, after Günter Guillaume, a senior member of his staff, was uncovered as a spy for the East German intelligence service, the Stasi. Brandt's contributions to world peace led to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971.

Finance Minister Helmut Schmidt (SPD) formed a coalition and he served as Chancellor from 1974 to 1982. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a leading FDP official, became Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister. Schmidt, a strong supporter of the European Community (EC) and the Atlantic alliance, emphasized his commitment to "the political unification of Europe in partnership with the USA".[14]

In October 1982 the SPD–FDP coalition fell apart when the FDP joined forces with the CDU/CSU to elect CDU Chairman Helmut Kohl as Chancellor in a constructive vote of no confidence. Following national elections in March 1983, Kohl emerged in firm control of both the government and the CDU. The CDU/CSU fell just short of an absolute majority, due to the entry into the Bundestag of the Greens, who received 5.6% of the vote.

In January 1987 the Kohl–Genscher government was returned to office, but the FDP and the Greens gained at the expense of the larger parties. Kohl's CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, slipped from 48.8% of the vote in 1983 to 44.3%. The SPD fell to 37%; long-time SPD Chairman Brandt subsequently resigned in April 1987 and was succeeded by Hans-Jochen Vogel. The FDP's share rose from 7% to 9.1%, its best showing since 1980. The Greens' share rose to 8.3% from their 1983 share of 5.6%.

Reunification

With the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, symbolised by the opening of the Berlin Wall, there was a rapid move towards German reunification; and a final settlement of the post-war special status of Germany. Following democratic elections, East Germany declared its accession to the Federal Republic subject to the terms of the Unification Treaty between the two states; and then both West Germany and East Germany radically amended their respective constitutions in accordance with that Treaty's provisions. East Germany then dissolved itself, and its five post-war states (Länder) were reconstituted, along with the reunited Berlin which ended its special status and formed an additional Land. They formally joined the Federal Republic on 3 October 1990, raising the number of states from 10 to 16, ending the division of Germany. The expanded Federal Republic retained West Germany's political culture and continued its existing memberships in international organisations, as well as its Western foreign policy alignment and affiliation to Western alliances like NATO and the European Union.

The official German reunification ceremony on 3 October 1990 was held at the Reichstag building, including Chancellor Helmut Kohl, President Richard von Weizsäcker, former Chancellor Willy Brandt and many others. One day later, the parliament of the united Germany would assemble in an act of symbolism in the Reichstag building.

However, at that time, the role of Berlin had not yet been decided upon. Only after a fierce debate, considered by many as one of the most memorable sessions of parliament, the Bundestag concluded on 20 June 1991, with quite a slim majority, that both government and parliament should move to Berlin from Bonn.

West German "economic miracle"

The West German Wirtschaftswunder ("economic miracle", coined by The Times in 1950) was due to the economic aid provided by the United States and the Marshall Plan. This improvement was sustained by the currency reform of 1948 which replaced the Reichsmark with the Deutsche Mark and halted rampant inflation. The Allied dismantling of the West German coal and steel industry finally ended in 1950.

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F038788-0006, Wolfsburg, VW Autowerk, Käfer
The Volkswagen Beetle – for many years the most successful car in the world – on the assembly line in Wolfsburg factory, 1973

As demand for consumer goods increased after World War II, the resulting shortage helped overcome lingering resistance to the purchase of German products. At the time Germany had a large pool of skilled and cheap labour, partly as a result of the flight and expulsion of Germans from Central and Eastern Europe, which affected up to 16.5 million Germans. This helped Germany to more than double the value of its exports during the war. Apart from these factors, hard work and long hours at full capacity among the population and in the late 1950s and 1960s extra labour supplied by thousands of Gastarbeiter ("guest workers") provided a vital base for the economic upturn. This would have implications later on for successive German governments as they tried to assimilate this group of workers.[15]

From the late 1950s onwards, West Germany had one of the strongest economies in the world, almost as strong as before the Second World War. The East German economy showed a certain growth, but not as much as in West Germany, partly because of continued reparations to the USSR in terms of resources.

In 1952 West Germany became part of the European Coal and Steel Community, which would later evolve into the European Union. On 5 May 1955 West Germany was declared to have the "authority of a sovereign state".[b] The British, French and U.S. militaries remained in the country, just as the Soviet Army remained in East Germany. Four days after obtaining the "authority of a sovereign state" in 1955, West Germany joined NATO. The UK and the USA retained an especially strong presence in West Germany, acting as a deterrent in case of a Soviet invasion. In 1976 West Germany became one of the founding nations of the Group of Six (G6). In 1973, West Germany—home to roughly 1.26% of the world's population—featured the world's fourth largest GDP of 944 billion (5.9% of the world total). In 1987 the FRG held a 7.4% share of total world production.

Demographics

Population and vital statistics

Total population of West Germany from 1950 to 1990, as collected by the Statistisches Bundesamt.[2]

[16]

Average population (x 1000)[17] Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) TFR
1946 732 998 588 331 144 667 15.9 12.7 3.2
1947 781 421 574 628 206 793 16.6 12.2 4.4 2.01
1948 806 074 515 092 290 982 16.7 10.6 6.0 2.07
1949 832 803 517 194 315 609 16.9 10.5 6.4 2.14
1950 50 958 812 835 528 747 284 088 16.3 10.6 5.7 2.10
1951 51 435 795 608 543 897 251 711 15.7 10.8 4.9 2.06
1952 51 864 799 080 545 963 253 117 15.7 10.7 5.0 2.08
1953 52 454 796 096 578 027 218 069 15.5 11.3 4.2 2.07
1954 52 943 816 028 555 459 260 569 15.7 10.7 5.0 2.12
1955 53 518 820 128 581 872 238 256 15.7 11.1 4.6 2.11
1956 53 340 855 887 599 413 256 474 16.1 11.3 4.8 2.19
1957 54 064 892 228 615 016 277 212 16.6 11.5 5.2 2.28
1958 54 719 904 465 597 305 307 160 16.7 11.0 5.7 2.29
1959 55 257 951 942 605 504 346 438 17.3 11.0 6.3 2.34
1960 55 958 968 629 642 962 325 667 17.4 11.6 5.9 2.37
1961 56 589 1 012 687 627 561 385 126 18.0 11.2 6.9 2.47
1962 57 247 1 018 552 644 819 373 733 17.9 11.3 6.6 2.45
1963 57 865 1 054 123 673 069 381 054 18.4 11.7 6.7 2.52
1964 58 587 1 065 437 644 128 421 309 18.3 11.1 7.2 2.55
1965 59 297 1 044 328 677 628 366 700 17.8 11.6 6.3 2.51
1966 59 793 1 050 345 686 321 364 024 17.8 11.6 6.2 2.54
1967 59 948 1 019 459 687 349 332 110 17.2 11.6 5.6 2.54
1968 60 463 969 825 734 048 235 777 16.3 12.3 4.0 2.39
1969 61 195 903 456 744 360 159 096 15.0 12.4 2.6 2.20
1970 61 001 810 808 734 843 75 965 13.4 12.1 1.3 1.99
1971 61 503 778 526 730 670 47 856 12.7 11.9 0.8 1.92
1972 61 809 701 214 731 264 -30 050 11.3 11.8 -0.5 1.72
1973 62 101 635 663 731 028 -95 395 10.3 11.8 -1.5 1.54
1974 61 991 626 373 727 511 -101 138 10.1 11.7 -1.6 1.51
1975 61 645 600 512 749 260 -148 748 9.7 12.1 -2.4 1.45
1976 61 442 602 851 733 140 -130 289 9.8 11.9 -2.1 1.46
1977 61 353 582 344 704 922 -122 578 9.5 11.5 -2.0 1.40
1978 61 322 576 468 723 218 -146 750 9.4 11.8 -2.4 1.38
1979 61 439 581 984 711 732 -129 748 9.5 11.6 -2.1 1.39
1980 61 658 620 657 714 117 -93 460 10.1 11.6 -1.5 1.44
1981 61 713 624 557 722 192 -97 635 10.1 11.7 -1.6 1.43
1982 61 546 621 173 715 857 -94 684 10.1 11.6 -1.5 1.41
1983 61 307 594 177 718 337 -124 160 9.7 11.7 -2.0 1.33
1984 61 049 584 157 696 118 -111 961 9.5 11.4 -1.9 1.29
1985 61 020 586 155 704 296 -118 141 9.6 11.6 -2.0 1.28
1986 61 140 625 963 701 890 -118 141 10.3 11.5 -1.2 1.34
1987 61 238 642 010 687 419 -45 409 10.5 11.3 -0.8 1.37
1988 61 715 677 259 687 516 -10 257 11.0 11.2 -0.2 1.41
1989 62 679 681 537 697 730 -16 193 11.0 11.2 -0.2 1.39
1990 63 726 727 199 713 335 13 864 11.5 11.3 0.2 1.45

Religion

Religious affiliation in West Germany decreased from the 1960s onward.[18] Religious affiliation declined faster among Protestants than among Catholics, causing the Roman Catholic Church to overtake the EKD as the largest denomination in the country during the 1970s.

Year EKD Protestant [%] Roman Catholic [%] Muslim [%] None/other [%][19]
1950 50.6 45.8 - 3.6
1961 51.1 45.5 - 3.5
1970 49.0 44.6 1.3 3.9
1980 42.3 43.3 - -
1987 41.6 42.9 2.7 11.4

Position towards East Germany

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F031406-0017, Erfurt, Treffen Willy Brandt mit Willi Stoph
Willy Brandt and Willi Stoph in Erfurt, 1970, the first time a Chancellor met a GDR prime minister.

The official position of West Germany concerning East Germany at the outset was that the West German government was the only democratically elected, and therefore the only legitimate, representative of the German people. According to the Hallstein Doctrine, any country (with the exception of the USSR) that recognised the authorities of the German Democratic Republic would not have diplomatic relations with West Germany.

In the early 1970s, Willy Brandt's policy of "Neue Ostpolitik" led to a form of mutual recognition between East and West Germany. The Treaty of Moscow (August 1970), the Treaty of Warsaw (December 1970), the Four Power Agreement on Berlin (September 1971), the Transit Agreement (May 1972), and the Basic Treaty (December 1972) helped to normalise relations between East and West Germany and led to both German states joining the United Nations. The Hallstein Doctrine was relinquished, and West Germany ceased to claim an exclusive mandate for Germany as a whole.

Following the Ostpolitik the West German view was that East Germany was a de facto government within a single German nation and a de jure state organisation of parts of Germany outside the Federal Republic. The Federal Republic continued to maintain that it could not within its own structures recognise the GDR de jure as a sovereign state under international law; while at the same time acknowledging that, within the structures of international law, the GDR was an independent sovereign state. By distinction, West Germany then viewed itself as being within its own boundaries, not only the de facto and de jure government, but also the sole de jure legitimate representative of a dormant "Germany as whole".[20] The two Germanys relinquished any claim to represent the other internationally; which they acknowledged as necessarily implying a mutual recognition of each other as both capable of representing their own populations de jure in participating in international bodies and agreements, such as the United Nations and the Helsinki Final Act.

This assessment of the Basic Treaty was confirmed in a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court in 1973;[21]

"... the German Democratic Republic is in the international-law sense a State and as such a subject of international law. This finding is independent of recognition in international law of the German Democratic Republic by the Federal Republic of Germany. Such recognition has not only never been formally pronounced by the Federal Republic of Germany but on the contrary repeatedly explicitly rejected. If the conduct of the Federal Republic of Germany towards the German Democratic Republic is assessed in the light of its détente policy, in particular the conclusion of the Treaty as de facto recognition, then it can only be understood as de facto recognition of a special kind. The special feature of this Treaty is that while it is a bilateral Treaty between two States, to which the rules of international law apply and which like any other international treaty possesses validity, it is between two States that are parts of a still existing, albeit incapable of action as not being reorganized, comprehensive State of the Whole of Germany with a single body politic." [22]

The West German Constitution (Grundgesetz, "Basic Law") provided two articles for the unification with other parts of Germany:

  • Article 23 provided the possibility for other parts of Germany to join the Federal Republic (under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany).
  • Article 146 provided the possibility for unification of all parts of Germany under a new constitution.

After the peaceful revolution of 1989 in East Germany, the Volkskammer of the GDR on 23 August 1990 declared the accession of East Germany to the Federal Republic under Article 23 of the Basic Law; and so initiated the process of reunification, to come into effect on 3 October 1990. Nevertheless, the act of reunification itself (with its many specific terms and conditions; including fundamental amendments to the West German Basic Law) was achieved constitutionally by the subsequent Unification Treaty of 31 August 1990; that is through a binding agreement between the former GDR and the Federal Republic now recognising each another as separate sovereign states in international law.[23] This treaty was then voted into effect on 20 September 1990 by both the Volkskammer and the Bundestag by the constitutionally required two-thirds majorities; effecting on the one hand, the extinction of the GDR and the re-establishment of Länder on the territory of East Germany; and on the other, the agreed amendments to the Basic Law of the Federal Republic. Amongst these amendments was the repeal of the very Article 23 in respect of which the GDR had nominally declared its postdated accession to the Federal Republic.

The two German states entered into a currency and customs union in July 1990, and on 3 October 1990, the German Democratic Republic dissolved and the re-established five East German Länder (as well as a unified Berlin) joined the Federal Republic of Germany, bringing an end to the East-West divide.

Politics

Political life in West Germany was remarkably stable and orderly. The Adenauer era (1949–63) was followed by a brief period under Ludwig Erhard (1963–66) who, in turn, was replaced by Kurt Georg Kiesinger (1966–69). All governments between 1949 and 1966 were formed by the united caucus of the Christian-Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU), either alone or in coalition with the smaller Free Democratic Party (FDP) or other right-wing parties.

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F038505-0006, Bonn, Amtsantritt Kabinett Brandt bei Heinemann
The Brandt cabinet of 1969 on the steps of President Heinemanns's residence in Bonn, the Villa Hammerschmidt

Kiesinger's 1966–69 "Grand Coalition" was between West Germany's two largest parties, the CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). This was important for the introduction of new emergency acts—the Grand Coalition gave the ruling parties the two-thirds majority of votes required to see them in. These controversial acts allowed basic constitutional rights such as freedom of movement to be limited in case of a state of emergency.

Leading up to the passing of the laws, there was fierce opposition to them, above all by the FDP, the rising German student movement, a group calling itself Notstand der Demokratie ("Democracy in a State of Emergency") and the labour unions. Demonstrations and protests grew in number, and in 1967 the student Benno Ohnesorg was shot in the head by a policeman. The press, especially the tabloid Bild-Zeitung newspaper, launched a campaign against the protesters.

By 1968 a stronger desire to confront the Nazi past had come into being. In the 1970s environmentalism and anti-nationalism became fundamental values among left-wing Germans. As a result, in 1979 the Greens were able to reach the 5% minimum required to obtain parliamentary seats in the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen state election, and with the foundation of the national party in 1980 developed into one of the most politically successful green movements in the world.

Another result of the unrest in the 1960s was the founding of the Red Army Faction (RAF). The RAF was active from 1968, carrying out a succession of terrorist attacks in West Germany during the 1970s. Even in the 1990s, attacks were still being committed under the name RAF. The last action took place in 1993, and in 1998 the group announced it was ceasing activities.

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F073617-0004, Mainz, CDU-Bundesparteitag, Kohl
Helmut Kohl in 1986

In the 1969 election, the SPD gained enough votes to form a coalition government with the FDP. SPD leader and Chancellor Willy Brandt remained head of government until May 1974, when he resigned after the Guillaume Affair, in which a senior member of his staff was uncovered as a spy for the East German intelligence service, the Stasi. However the affair is widely considered to have been merely a trigger for Brandt's resignation, not a fundamental cause. Instead, Brandt, dogged by scandal relating to alcohol and depression[24][25] as well as the economic fallout of the 1973 oil crisis, almost seems simply to have had enough. As Brandt himself later said, "I was exhausted, for reasons which had nothing to do with the process going on at the time".[26]

Finance Minister Helmut Schmidt (SPD) then formed a government, continuing the SPD–FDP coalition. He served as Chancellor from 1974 to 1982. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a leading FDP official, was Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister in the same years. Schmidt, a strong supporter of the European Community (EC) and the Atlantic alliance, emphasized his commitment to "the political unification of Europe in partnership with the USA".

The goals of SPD and FDP however drifted apart in the late 1970s and early 1980s. On 1 October 1982 the FDP joined forces with the CDU/CSU to elect CDU Chairman Helmut Kohl as Chancellor in a constructive vote of no confidence. Following national elections in March 1983, Kohl emerged in firm control of both the government and the CDU. The CDU/CSU fell just short of an absolute majority, because of the entry into the Bundestag of the Greens, who received 5.6% of the vote.

In January 1987 the Kohl–Genscher government was returned to office, but the FDP and the Greens gained at the expense of the larger parties. The Social Democrats concluded that not only were the Greens unlikely to form a coalition, but also that such a coalition would be far from a majority. Neither condition changed until 1998.

Denazification

In 1951 several laws were passed, ending the denazification. As a result, many people with a former Nazi past ended up again in the political apparatus of West Germany. German President Walter Scheel and Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger were both former members of the Nazi Party. In 1957, 77% of the German Ministry of Justice's senior officials were former Nazi Party members.[27] Konrad Adenauer's State Secretary Hans Globke had played a major role in drafting anti-semitic Nuremberg Race Laws in Nazi Germany.[28]

Culture

In many aspects, German culture continued in spite of the dictatorship and wartime. Old and new forms coexisted next to each other, and the American influence, already strong in the 1920s, grew.

Sport

Stamp football WC 1974 deutsche bundespost
Postage stamps commemorating football's 1974 World Cup held in West Germany

In the 20th century, association football became the largest sport in Germany. The Germany national football team, established in 1900, continued its tradition based in the Federal Republic of Germany, winning the 1954 FIFA World Cup in a stunning upset dubbed the miracle of Bern. Earlier, the German team was not considered part of the international top. The 1974 FIFA World Cup was held in West German cities and West Berlin. After having been beaten by their East German counterparts in the first round, the team of the German Football Association won the cup again, defeating the Netherlands 2–1 in the final. With the process of unification in full swing in the summer of 1990, the Germans won a third World Cup, with players that had been capped for East Germany not yet permitted to contribute. European championships have been won too, in 1972, 1980 and 1996.

After both Olympic Games of 1936 had been held in Germany, Munich was selected to host the 1972 Summer Olympics. These were also the first summer games in which the East Germans showed up with the separate flag and anthem of the GDR. Since the 1950s, Germany at the Olympics had been represented by a united team led by the pre-war German NOC officials as the IOC had denied East German demands for a separate team.

As in 1957, when the Saarland acceded, East German sport organisations ceased to exist in late 1990 as their subdivisions and their members joined their Western counterparts. Thus, the present German organisations and teams in football, Olympics and elsewhere are identical to those that had been informally called "West German" before 1991. The only differences were a larger membership and a different name used by some foreigners. These organisations and teams in turn mostly continued the traditions of those that represented Germany before the Second World War, and even the First World War, thus providing a century-old continuity despite political changes. On the other hand, the separate East German teams and organisations were founded in the 1950s; they were an episode lasting less than four decades, yet quite successful in that time.

As of 2012, West Germany have played a record 43 matches at the European Championships.[29]

Literary scene

Besides the interest in the older generation of writers, new authors emerged on the background of the experiences of war and after war period. Wolfgang Borchert, a former soldier who died young in 1947, is one of the best known representatives of the Trümmerliteratur. Heinrich Böll is considered an observer of the young Federal Republic from the 1950s to the 1970s, and caused some political controversies because of his increasingly critical view on society. The Frankfurt Book Fair (and its Peace Prize of the German Book Trade) soon developed into a regarded institution. Exemplary for West Germany's literature are – among others – Siegfried Lenz (with The German Lesson) and Günter Grass (with The Tin Drum and The Flounder).

Geographical distribution of government

In West Germany, most of the political agencies and buildings were located in Bonn, while the German Stock Market was located in Frankfurt am Main, which became the economic center. The judicial branch of both the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and the highest Court of Appeals, were located in Karlsruhe.

The West German government was known to be much more decentralised than its state socialist East German counterpart, the former being a federal state and the latter a unitary one. Whilst East Germany was divided into 15 administrative districts (Bezirke), which were merely local branches of the national government, West Germany was divided into states (Länder) with independently elected state parliaments and control of the Bundesrat, the second legislative chamber of the Federal Government.

Present geographical and political terminology

Today, North Rhine-Westphalia is often considered to be Western Germany in geographical terms. When distinguishing between former West Germany and former East Germany as parts of present-day unified Germany, it has become most common to refer to the Alte Bundesländer (old states) and the Neue Bundesländer (new states), although Westdeutschland and Ostdeutschland are still heard as well.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Though all stanzas were official, only the third stanza was sung in practice.
  2. ^ a b Detlef Junker of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg states "In the October 23, 1954, Paris Agreements, Adenauer pushed through the following laconic wording: 'The Federal Republic shall accordingly [after termination of the occupation regime] have the full authority of a sovereign state over its internal and external affairs.' If this was intended as a statement of fact, it must be conceded that it was partly fiction and, if interpreted as wishful thinking, it was a promise that went unfulfilled until 1990. The Allies maintained their rights and responsibilities regarding Berlin and Germany as a whole, particularly the responsibility for future reunification and a future peace treaty".[5]

References

  1. ^ [1] Archived 5 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Bevölkerungsstand Archived 13 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ The Bonn Republic — West German democracy, 1945-1990, Anthony James Nicholls, Longman, 1997
  4. ^ See in general: Stefan Schmidt, "Die Diskussion um den Gebrauch der Abkürzung «BRD»", in: Aktueller Begriff, Deutscher Bundestag – Wissenschaftliche Dienste (ed.), No. 71/09 (4 September 2009)
  5. ^ Detlef Junker (editor), Translated by Sally E. Robertson, The United States and Germany in the Era of the Cold War, A Handbook Volume 1, 1945–1968 Series: Publications of the German Historical Institute ISBN 0-511-19218-5. See Section "The Presence of the Past" paragraph 9.
  6. ^ Informationen für Politisch Bildung Heft 258, 1998, p. 3.
  7. ^ Informationen zur Politische Bildung 258, p. 5.
  8. ^ Kraushaar, Frankfurter Schule und Studentenbewegung, Vol. 2 Rogner und Bernhard, 1998 Dokument Nr. 193, p. 356
  9. ^ Reconciliation Policy in Germany 1998–2008, Construing the 'Problem' of the Incompatibility of Paid Employment and Care Work, by Cornelius Grebe; pg 92: "However, the 1977 reform of marriage and family law by Social Democrats and Liberals formally gave women the right to take up employment without their spouses' permission. This marked the legal end of the 'housewife marriage' and a transition to the ideal of 'marriage in partnership'." [2]
  10. ^ Comparative Law: Historical Development of the Civil Law Tradition in Europe, Latin America, and East Asia, by John Henry Merryman, David Scott Clark, John Owen Haley, p. 542
  11. ^ Kraushaar op.cit
  12. ^ "RAF: Gefangen in der Geschichte". Die Zeit. 13 August 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  13. ^ Informationen zur Politische Bildung Heft 258, p. 32
  14. ^ Max Otte; Jürgen Greve (2000). A rising middle power?: German foreign policy in transformation, 1989–1999.
  15. ^ David H Childs and Jeffrey Johnson, West Germany: Politics And Society, Croom Helm, 1982 [3]
  16. ^ "Zusammenfassende Übersichten - Eheschließungen, Geborene und Gestorbene 1946 bis 2015". DESTATIS - Statistisches Bundesamt. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Population by area in 1,000". DESTATIS - Statistisches Bundesamt. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  18. ^ FOWID, Religionszugehörigkeit Bevölkerung 1970-2011 (online Archived 15 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine; PDF-Datei; 173 kB)
  19. ^ Includes Protestants outside the EKD.
  20. ^ Quint, Peter E (1991), The Imperfect Union; Constitutional Structures for German Unification, Princeton University Presss, pp. 14]
  21. ^ Kommers, Donald P (2012), The Constitutional Jursiprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany, Duke University Presss, p. 308
  22. ^ Texas Law: Foreign Law Translations 1973, University of Texas, retrieved 7 December 2016
  23. ^ Kommers, Donald P (2012), The Constitutional Jursiprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany, Duke University Presss, p. 309
  24. ^ Talk by Hans-Jochen Vogel on 21 October 2002
  25. ^ Gregor Schöllgen: Willy Brandt. Die Biographie. Propyläen, Berlin 2001. ISBN 3-549-07142-6
  26. ^ quoted in: Gregor Schöllgen. Der Kanzler und sein Spion. In: Die Zeit 2003, Vol. 40, 25 September 2003
  27. ^ "Germany's post-war justice ministry was infested with Nazis protecting former comrades, study reveals". The Daily Telegraph. 10 October 2016.
  28. ^ Tetens, T.H. The New Germany and the Old Nazis, New York: Random House, 1961 pages 37–40.
  29. ^ Glenday, Craig (2013). Guinness World Records 2014. 2013 Guinness World Records Limited. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-908843-15-9.

Further reading

  • Bark, Dennis L., and David R. Gress. A History of West Germany Vol 1: From Shadow to Substance, 1945–1963 (1992); ISBN 978-0-631-16787-7; vol 2: Democracy and Its Discontents 1963–1988 (1992) ISBN 978-0-631-16788-4
  • Berghahn, Volker Rolf. Modern Germany: society, economy, and politics in the twentieth century (1987) ACLS E-book online
  • Hanrieder, Wolfram F. Germany, America, Europe: Forty Years of German Foreign Policy (1989) ISBN 0-300-04022-9
  • Jarausch, Konrad H. After Hitler: Recivilizing Germans, 1945–1995 (2008)
  • Junker, Detlef, ed. The United States and Germany in the Era of the Cold War (2 vol 2004), 150 short essays by scholars covering 1945–1990 excerpt and text search vol 1; excerpt and text search vol 2
  • MacGregor, Douglas A The Soviet-East German Military Alliance New York, Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Main, Steven J. "The Soviet Occupation of Germany. Hunger, Mass Violence and the Struggle for Peace, 1945–1947." Europe-Asia Studies (2014) 66#8 pp. 1380–1382.
  • Maxwell, John Allen. "Social Democracy in a Divided Germany: Kurt Schumacher and the German Question, 1945-52." Ph.D dissertation, West Virginia University, 1969.
  • Schwarz, Hans-Peter. Konrad Adenauer: A German Politician and Statesman in a Period of War, Revolution and Reconstruction (2 vol 1995) excerpt and text search vol 2; also full text vol 1; and full text vol 2
  • Smith, Gordon, ed, Developments in German Politics (1992) ISBN 0-8223-1266-2, broad survey of reunified nation
  • Smith, Helmut Walser, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History (2011), excerpt, pp. 593–753.
  • Weber, Jurgen. Germany, 1945–1990 (Central European University Press, 2004) online edition

Primary sources

  • Beate Ruhm Von Oppen, ed. Documents on Germany under Occupation, 1945–1954 (Oxford University Press, 1955) online

External links

Media related to West Germany at Wikimedia Commons

1954 FIFA World Cup

The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946. The tournament set a number of all-time records for goal-scoring, including the highest average number of goals scored per game. The tournament was won by West Germany, who defeated Hungary 3–2 in the final, giving them their first title.

1966 FIFA World Cup

The 1966 FIFA World Cup was the eighth FIFA World Cup and was held in England from 11 to 30 July 1966. England beat West Germany 4–2 in the final, winning the Jules Rimet Trophy. It is England's only FIFA World Cup title. They were the fifth nation to win and the third host nation to win after Uruguay in 1930 and Italy in 1934.

Notable performances were made by the two debutants Portugal, ending third, and North Korea, getting to the quarter finals after a 1–0 win against Italy. Also notable was the elimination of world champions Brazil after the preliminary round and the fact that all four semi-finalists were European, a situation occurring in only four other World Cups (1934, 1982, 2006 and 2018). Portugal's Eusébio was top scorer with nine goals. The final is remembered for being the only one with a hat-trick and for its controversial third goal awarded to England.

Prior to the tournament the trophy was stolen, although it was later recovered. The final, held at Wembley Stadium, was the last to be broadcast in black and white. The tournament held a FIFA record for the largest average attendance until it was surpassed by Mexico in 1970. It was boycotted by most independent countries from Africa who objected to the qualification requirements. Despite this, the number of entries for the qualifying tournament was a new record, with 70 nations.

1972 Summer Olympics

The 1972 Summer Olympics (German: Olympische Sommerspiele 1972), officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972.

The sporting nature of the event was largely overshadowed by the Munich massacre in the second week, in which eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer at Olympic village were killed by Black September Palestinian terrorists.

The 1972 Summer Olympics were the second Summer Olympics to be held in Germany, after the 1936 Games in Berlin, which had taken place under the Nazi regime. The West German Government had been eager to have the Munich Olympics present a democratic and optimistic Germany to the world, as shown by the Games' official motto, "Die Heiteren Spiele", or "the cheerful Games". The logo of the Games was a blue solar logo (the "Bright Sun") by Otl Aicher, the designer and director of the visual conception commission. The Olympic mascot, the dachshund "Waldi", was the first officially named Olympic mascot. The Olympic Fanfare was composed by Herbert Rehbein.The Olympic Park (Olympiapark) is based on Frei Otto's plans and after the Games became a Munich landmark. The competition sites, designed by architect Günther Behnisch, included the Olympic swimming hall, the Olympics Hall (Olympiahalle, a multipurpose facility) and the Olympic Stadium (Olympiastadion), and an Olympic village very close to the park. The design of the stadium was considered revolutionary, with sweeping canopies of acrylic glass stabilized by metal ropes, used on such a large scale for the first time.

1974 FIFA World Cup

The 1974 FIFA World Cup was the 10th FIFA World Cup, and was played in West Germany (including West Berlin) between 13 June and 7 July. The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was awarded. The previous trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, had been won for the third time by Brazil in 1970 and awarded permanently to the Brazilians. The host nation won the title, beating the Netherlands 2–1 in the final at Munich's Olympiastadion. The victory was the second for West Germany, who had also won in 1954. Australia, East Germany, Haiti and Zaire made their first appearances at the final stage, with East Germany making their only appearance before Germany was reunified in 1990.

1982 FIFA World Cup

The 1982 FIFA World Cup was the 12th FIFA World Cup, played in Spain between 13 June and 11 July 1982. The tournament was won by Italy, who defeated West Germany 3–1 in the final match, held in the Spanish capital of Madrid. It was Italy's third World Cup win, but their first since 1938. The defending champions, Argentina, were eliminated in the second group round. Algeria, Cameroon, Honduras, Kuwait and New Zealand made their first appearances in the finals.

The tournament featured the first penalty shoot-out in World Cup competition. It was also the third time (1934 and 1966) that all four semifinalists were European.

In the first round of Group 3, Hungary defeated El Salvador 10–1, equalling the largest margin of victory recorded in the finals (Hungary over South Korea 9–0 in 1954, and Yugoslavia over Zaire 9–0 in 1974).

1986 FIFA World Cup

The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June 1986. The tournament was the second to feature a 24-team format. With European nations not allowed to host after the previous World Cup in Spain, Colombia had been originally chosen to host the competition by FIFA but, largely due to economic reasons, was not able to do so and officially resigned in 1982. Mexico was selected as the new host in May 1983, thus becoming the first country to host the World Cup more than once. This was the third FIFA World Cup tournament in succession that was hosted by a Spanish-speaking country, after Argentina 1978, and Spain 1982.

It was won by Argentina (their second title, after winning in 1978). Argentina was captained by the 25-year old Diego Maradona, who played a large part in his team's success. Maradona scored the "Hand of God" goal, as well as another voted "Goal of the Century", in the same quarter-final against England. These were two of the five goals that Maradona scored during the tournament, and he also created another five for his teammates. Argentina beat West Germany 3–2 in the final at Mexico City's Estadio Azteca. Total attendance was 2,394,031, an average per match of 46,039.Canada, Denmark and Iraq made their first appearances at the final stage.

The format of the competition changed from 1982. The final pair of matches in each group started at the same time and the second round was played on a knock-out basis rather than groups. The 24 teams qualified were divided into six groups of four (A to F). The top two teams and the four best third-place finishers from the six groups advanced to the knockout round of 16 teams.

Italy were the defending champions, but were eliminated by France in the Round of 16.

The 1986 World Cup saw the appearance of an audience phenomenon dubbed the Mexican wave, which was popularised worldwide after featuring during the tournament.

1990 FIFA World Cup

The 1990 FIFA World Cup was the 14th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football tournament. It was held from 8 June to 8 July 1990 in Italy, the second country to host the event twice (the first being Mexico in 1986). Teams representing 116 national football associations entered and qualification began in April 1988. 22 teams qualified from this process, along with host nation Italy and defending champions Argentina.

The tournament was won by West Germany, their third World Cup title. They beat Argentina 1–0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, a rematch of the previous final four years earlier. Italy finished third and England fourth, after both lost their semi-finals in penalty shootouts. This was the last tournament to feature a team from West Germany, with the country being reunified with East Germany a few months later in October, as well as teams from the Eastern Bloc prior to the end of the Cold War in 1991, as the Soviet Union, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia teams made appearances. Costa Rica, Ireland and the UAE made their first appearances in the finals. As of 2018, this was the last time the UAE qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals. The official match ball was the Adidas Etrusco Unico.

The 1990 World Cup is widely regarded as one of the poorest World Cups in terms of the games. It generated an average 2.2 goals per game – a record low that still stands – and a then-record 16 red cards, including the first ever dismissal in a final. Regarded as being the World Cup that has had perhaps the most lasting influence on the game as a whole, it saw the introduction of the pre-match Fair Play Flag (then inscribed with "Fair Play Please") to encourage fair play. Defensive tactics led to the introduction of the back-pass rule in 1992 and three points for a win instead of two at future World Cups. The tournament also produced some of the World Cup’s best remembered moments and stories, including the emergence of African nations, in addition to what has become the World Cup soundtrack: “Nessun dorma”.The 1990 World Cup stands as one of the most watched events in television history, garnering an estimated 26.69 billion non-unique viewers over the course of the tournament. This was the first World Cup to be officially recorded and transmitted in HDTV by the Italian broadcaster RAI in association with Japan's NHK. The huge success of the broadcasting model has also had a lasting impact on the sport. At the time it was the most watched World Cup in history in non-unique viewers, but was bettered by the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.

Boney M.

Boney M. is a Euro-Caribbean vocal group created by German record producer Frank Farian. Originally based in West Germany, the four original members of the group's official line-up were Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett from Jamaica, Maizie Williams from Montserrat and Bobby Farrell, a Dutch performer from Aruba. The group was formed in 1976 and achieved popularity during the disco era of the late 1970s. Since the 1980s, various line-ups of the band have performed with different personnel.

The band has sold more than 80 million records and is known for huge international hits such as "Daddy Cool", "Ma Baker", "Sunny", "Rasputin", "Mary's Boy Child – Oh My Lord" and "Rivers of Babylon".

Chancellor of Germany

The title Chancellor has designated different offices in the history of Germany. It is currently used for the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundeskanzler(in) der Bundesrepublik Deutschland), the head of government of Germany.

The term, dating from the Early Middle Ages, is derived from the Latin term cancellarius.

The modern office of chancellor evolved from the position created for Otto von Bismarck in the North German Confederation in 1867; this federal state evolved into a German nation-state with the 1871 Unification of Germany. The role of the chancellor has varied greatly throughout Germany's modern history. Today, the chancellor is the country's effective leader, although in formal protocol, the Bundespräsident and Bundestagspräsident are ranked higher.

In German politics, the chancellor is the equivalent of a prime minister in many other countries.

The chancellor is elected by the Bundestag.The current, official title in German is Bundeskanzler(in), which means "federal chancellor", and is sometimes shortened to Kanzler(in).

The 8th and current chancellor is Angela Merkel, who is serving her fourth term in office.

She is the first female chancellor.

East Germany

East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik [ˈdɔʏtʃə demoˈkʁaːtɪʃə ʁepuˈbliːk], DDR), was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", and the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.

The German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, and the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. However, Soviet forces remained in the country throughout the Cold War. Until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party (SED), though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany. The SED made the teaching of Marxism–Leninism and the Russian language compulsory in schools.The economy was centrally planned and increasingly state-owned. Prices of housing, basic goods and services were set by central government planners rather than rising and falling through supply and demand; and were heavily subsidised. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the USSR, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Emigration to the West was a significant problem – as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, it further weakened the state economically. The government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to flee were killed by border guards or booby traps, such as landmines. Several others were imprisoned for many years.In 1989, numerous social, economic and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalisation. The following year, open elections were held, and international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany. The GDR dissolved itself, and Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a fully sovereign state again. Several of the GDR's leaders, notably its last communist leader Egon Krenz, were prosecuted in reunified Germany for crimes committed during the Cold War.

Geographically, the German Democratic Republic bordered the Baltic Sea to the north; Poland to the east; Czechoslovakia to the southeast and West Germany to the southwest and west. Internally, the GDR also bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin, known as East Berlin, which was also administered as the state's de facto capital. It also bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the rest of the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989.

FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The current format of the competition involves a qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, to determine which teams qualify for the tournament phase, which is often called the World Cup Finals. After this, 32 teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation(s), compete in the tournament phase for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month.

The 21 World Cup tournaments have been won by eight national teams. Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Germany and Italy, with four titles each; Argentina, France and inaugural winner Uruguay, with two titles each; and England and Spain with one title each.

The World Cup is the most prestigious association football tournament in the world, as well as the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games; the cumulative viewership of all matches of the 2006 World Cup was estimated to be 26.29 billion with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the final match, a ninth of the entire population of the planet.17 countries have hosted the World Cup. Brazil, France, Italy, Germany and Mexico have each hosted twice, while Uruguay, Switzerland, Sweden, Chile, England, Argentina, Spain, the United States, Japan and South Korea (jointly), South Africa and Russia have each hosted once. Qatar are planned as hosts of the 2022 finals, and 2026 will be jointly hosted by Canada, the United States and Mexico, which will give Mexico the distinction of being the first country to have hosted games in three finals.

German reunification

The German reunification (German: Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic (GDR, colloquially East Germany; German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik/DDR) became part of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, colloquially West Germany; German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland/BRD) to form the reunited nation of Germany, and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz (constitution) Article 23. The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity (German: Deutsche Einheit), celebrated on 3 October (German Unity Day) (German: Tag der deutschen Einheit). Following German reunification, Berlin was once again designated as the capital of united Germany.

The East German government started to falter in May 1989, when the removal of Hungary's border fence with Austria opened a hole in the Iron Curtain. It caused an exodus of thousands of East Germans fleeing to West Germany and Austria via Hungary. The Peaceful Revolution, a series of protests by East Germans, led to the GDR's first free elections on 18 March 1990, and to the negotiations between the GDR and FRG that culminated in a Unification Treaty. Other negotiations between the GDR and FRG and the four occupying powers produced the so-called "Two Plus Four Treaty" (Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany) granting full sovereignty to a unified German state, whose two parts were previously bound by a number of limitations stemming from their post-World War II status as occupied regions.

The 1945 Potsdam Agreement had specified that a full peace treaty concluding World War II, including the exact delimitation of Germany's postwar boundaries, required to be "accepted by the Government of Germany when a government adequate for the purpose is established." The Federal Republic had always maintained that no such government could be said to have been established until East and West Germany had been united within a free democratic state; but in 1990 a range of opinions continued to be maintained over whether a unified West Germany, East Germany, and Berlin could be said to represent "Germany as a whole" for this purpose. The key question was whether a Germany that remained bounded to the east by the Oder–Neisse line could act as a "united Germany" in signing the peace treaty without qualification. Under the "Two Plus Four Treaty" both the Federal Republic and the Democratic Republic committed themselves and their unified continuation to the principle that their joint pre-1990 boundaries constituted the entire territory that could be claimed by a Government of Germany, and hence that there were no further lands outside those boundaries that were parts of Germany as a whole.

The united Germany is not a successor state, but an enlarged continuation of the former West Germany. As such, the enlarged Federal Republic of Germany retained the West German seats in international organizations including the European Community (later the European Union) and NATO, while relinquishing membership in the Warsaw Pact and other international organizations to which only East Germany belonged. It also maintains the United Nations membership of the old West Germany.

Germany national football team

The Germany national football team (German: deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft or Die Mannschaft) is the men's football team that has represented Germany in international competition since 1908. It is governed by the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund), founded in 1900. Ever since the DFB was reinaugurated in 1949 the team has represented the Federal Republic of Germany. Under Allied occupation and division, two other separate national teams were also recognised by FIFA: the Saarland team representing the Saarland (1950–1956) and the East German team representing the German Democratic Republic (1952–1990). Both have been absorbed along with their records by the current national team. The official name and code "Germany FR (FRG)" was shortened to "Germany (GER)" following the reunification in 1990.

Germany is one of the most successful national teams in international competitions, having won four World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996), and one Confederations Cup (2017). They have also been runners-up three times in the European Championships, four times in the World Cup, and a further four third-place finishes at World Cups. East Germany won Olympic Gold in 1976.Germany is the only nation to have won both the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup.At the end of the 2014 World Cup, Germany earned the highest Elo rating of any national football team in history, with a record 2205 points. Germany is also the only European nation that has won a FIFA World Cup in the Americas. The manager of the national team is Joachim Löw.

Germany national under-21 football team

The Germany national under-21 football team represents the under-21s of Germany in the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship and is controlled by the German Football Association (DFB), the governing body of football in Germany.

Before the reunification of Germany, East Germany and West Germany played as separate entities — the two teams played separately until summer 1990. Following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions in 1976, international under-21 football in Europe began. A West German team, however, did not compete in the U-21 European Championship until the qualifying round (beginning in 1980) of the 1982 competition.

West Germany competed in the first two under-23 competitions, which finished in 1972 and 1974. The first under-21 competition finals were in 1978, and since the under-21 competition rules state that players must be 21 or under at the start of a two-year competition, technically it is an under-23 competition.

The current Germany team can be legitimately considered as the current incarnation of the West German team, since the West Germany flag, uniform, and football association all became those of the unified Germany. In effect, the West German team absorbed the East German team to become 'the Germany national under-21 football team'.

For these reasons, the record of West Germany for the U-23 and U-21 competitions is shown below.

History of Germany (1945–90)

As a consequence of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Germany was divided between the two global blocs in the East and West, a period known as the division of Germany. Germany was stripped of its war gains and lost territories in the east to Poland and the Soviet Union. At the end of the war, there were in Germany some eight million foreign displaced persons; mainly forced laborers and prisoners; including around 400,000 from the concentration camp system, survivors from a much larger number who had died from starvation, harsh conditions, murder, or being worked to death. Over 10 million German-speaking refugees arrived in Germany from other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Some 9 million Germans were POWs, many of whom were kept as forced laborers for several years to provide restitution to the countries Germany had devastated in the war, and some industrial equipment was removed as reparations.

The Cold War divided Germany between the Allies in the west and Soviets in the east. Germans had little voice in government until 1949 when two states emerged:

Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), commonly known as West Germany, was a parliamentary democracy with a capitalist economic system and free churches and labour unions.

German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly known as East Germany, was the smaller Marxist–Leninist socialist republic with its leadership dominated by the Soviet-aligned Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) in order to retain it within the Soviet sphere of influence.After experiencing its Wirtschaftswunder or "economic miracle" in 1955, West Germany became the most prosperous economy in Europe. Under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, West Germany built strong relationships with France, the United States, and Israel. West Germany also joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Economic Community (later to become the European Union). East Germany stagnated as its economy was largely organized to meet the needs of the Soviet Union; the secret police (Stasi) tightly controlled daily life, and the Berlin Wall (1961) ended the steady flow of refugees to the west. Germany was reunited in 1990, following the decline and fall of the SED as the ruling party of the GDR.

UEFA Euro 1988

The 1988 UEFA European Football Championship final tournament was held in West Germany between 10 and 25 June 1988. It was the eighth European Football Championship, which is held every four years and supported by UEFA.

The tournament crowned the Netherlands as European champions for the first time. Euro 88 was a rare instance of a major football tournament ending without a single sending-off or goalless draw, nor any knockout matches going to extra time or penalties.

West Berlin

West Berlin (German: Berlin (West) or colloquially West-Berlin) was a political enclave which comprised the western part of Berlin during the years of the Cold War. There was no specific date on which the sectors of Berlin occupied by the Western Allies became "West Berlin", but 1949 is widely accepted as the year in which the name was adopted. West Berlin aligned itself politically with the Federal Republic of Germany (called the "Bonn Republic" by historians) and was directly or indirectly represented in its federal institutions.

West Berlin was formally controlled by the Western Allies and was entirely surrounded by the Soviet-controlled East Berlin and East Germany. West Berlin had great symbolic significance during the Cold War, as it was widely considered by westerners as an "island of freedom". It was heavily subsidised by West Germany as a "showcase of the West". A wealthy city, West Berlin was noted for its distinctly cosmopolitan character, and as a centre of education, research and culture. With about two million inhabitants, West Berlin had the largest population of any city in Germany during the Cold War era.West Berlin was 100 miles (161 kilometres) east and north of the Inner German border and only accessible by land from West Germany by narrow rail and highway corridors. It consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors established in 1945. The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, physically separated West Berlin from its East Berlin and East German surroundings until it fell in 1989.

West Germany at the 1984 Summer Olympics

West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, United States. West Germany had joined the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics four years previously. 390 competitors, 267 men and 123 women, took part in 194 events in 25 sports.

West Germany at the 1988 Summer Olympics

West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) competed at the Olympic Games for the last time as an independent nation at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Following German reunification in 1990, a single German team would compete in the 1992 Summer Olympics. 347 competitors, 244 men and 103 women, took part in 194 events in 24 sports.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.