Federal Republic of Germany (1949-1990) Part I

By | October 20, 2021

Prehistory and origin (1945-49)

In the implementation of the common Allied principles for the treatment of Germany, as they had been laid down in the ” Berlin Four Power Declaration” of June 5, 1945 and the resolutions of the Potsdam Conference of August 2, 1945 for the four zones of occupation in Germany and the four sectors of Berlin – especially in view of the looming East-West conflict of 1946/47 – profound differences soon emerged v. a. between the occupation policy of the Western Powers and that of the USSR and led to an opposing development in the Western occupation zones and the Soviet Zone as well as to the division of Berlin. Learn more about Germany and Europe, please click computerannals.com.

Under the “supreme authority” of the western occupying powers, which on July 1st and 4th, 1945 had withdrawn from the parts of Mecklenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony they had conquered, the American forces began to decline from August 27th, 1945 15.9. allowed in the British zone of occupation to develop a new German political life according to parliamentary standards at the state level. In addition to the newly formed unions, v. a. Parties newly or reconstituted: SPD, KPD, CDU, CSU, Liberals. Alongside them, the churches made particular efforts to raise national awareness of the crimes of the National Socialist dictatorship (e.g. the Stuttgart confession of guilt of the EKD from October 19, 1945). The state governments were confronted with: food and housing shortages, dismantling of industrial plants by the occupying powers (” reparations “), unemployment, the reconstruction of industry and trade and the reintegration of displaced persons, evacuees and refugees as well as returnees.

On January 1, 1947, the USA and Great Britain merged their zones to form the United Economic Area (“Bizone”) and gave it a state-like administration with the “Frankfurt Statute” of February 5, 1948. Against the protests of the USSR, the USA, with British and French approval, included the western zones of Germany in the Marshall Plan aid (“European Reconstruction Program”, ERP). After unsuccessful negotiations with the USSR about a common currency for all zones, the Western powers introduced the ” Deutsche Mark ” as a new means of payment in their zones (currency reform, June 18-20, 1948). A constitutional convention met at Herrenchiemsee Castle from 10 to 23 August 1948. On September 1st, 1948 the Parliamentary Council, which passed the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, which was intended as a provisional constitution, on May 8, 1949 (solemnly adopted and promulgated on May 23, 1949; in force from May 24). The most important foundations for the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany from the French, British and American occupation zones were thus created.

The Adenauer era (1949-63)

From the elections for the first German Bundestag (August 14, 1949), the CDU and CSU emerged as the strongest politically linked group, closely followed by the SPD. The FDP stood out from the relatively large group of smaller parties. The radical forces of the left (KPD) and right-wing party spectrum (DRP) met with little echo. During the formation of the government, K. Adenauer (CDU) was able to push through the formation of a “small coalition” made up of CDU, CSU, FDP and DP and the SPD led by K. Schumacher, against opposition from v. a. of the left wing of the CDU (e.g. J. KaiserK. Arnold) to push into the opposition.

With the election of Arnold as Federal Council President (September 7th), of T. Heuss (FDP) as Federal President (September 12th) and Adenauer as Federal Chancellor (September 15, 1949; constitution of the Federal Government on September 20), the Federal Republic of Germany was formed.

The organs of the Federal Republic of Germany, however, were dependent on the “Allied High Commission” (AHK), which exercised the “supreme authority” on behalf of the Western powers within the framework of the occupation statute (in force since September 21).

Domestically, there was a serious confrontation between the government and the SPD, between Adenauer and Schumacher. Supported in the initial phase of the reconstruction by the Marshall Plan aid and the economic impulses triggered by the currency reform, the Federal Government initiated the policy of the ” social market economy ” under the leadership of its Minister of Economics, L. Erhard. The SPD, on the other hand, demanded a planned economy program in the sense of a »socialist common economy« (Erik Nölting [* 1892, † 1953]), especially the nationalization of key industries.

With the Burden Equalization Act (August 14, 1952), the federal government gave the integration of displaced persons and refugees a comprehensive legal framework. On September 10, 1952, she concluded a reparation agreement with Israel and the World Jewish Associations.

Of great importance for the political development of the Federal Republic of Germany was its relationship to the Western powers, especially to the ” Allied High Commission ” (AHK). Adenauer sought, with growing success, to persuade the Western powers to make concessions through a strategy of confidence-building that included compromises. The admission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the “International Ruhr Authority” and the AHK’s definitive promise to end the dismantling (Petersberg Agreement, November 22, 1949), accession to the Council of Europe, the revision of the occupation statute (March 6, 1951; permission to set up a separate German foreign office, the AHK waived further monitoring of federal and state laws), the announcement of the end of the state of war with Germany on the part of the Western powers (July 9, 1951) and the replacement of the international Ruhr control (Ruhr area) by the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (“Montanunion”, in force since July 25, 1952) were the first of the tightening of the East-West Conflict-favored stages of Adenauer’s foreign policy: Securing the Federal Republic of Germany through its close political and economic ties with the democracies of the West and its inclusion in the Atlantic alliance system led by the USA.

Federal Republic of Germany 1