Federal Republic of Germany (1949-1990) Part IV

By | October 23, 2021

With the “Letter on German Unity” to the Soviet leadership, which they wanted to be valued under international law as part of the Moscow Treaty, the Brandt government also sought to counter the serious reservations of the CDU / CSU with regard to the treaties. On April 27, 1972, the CDU / CSU tried in vain to overthrow the government by means of a constructive vote of no confidence; her candidate for the office of Federal Chancellor, her parliamentary group leader at the time, R. Barzel, missed the absolute majority required by two votes in the Bundestag vote.

On May 17, 1972 the contested treaties passed the Bundestag. On June 3, 1972, the representatives of the Western Powers and the USSR signed the final protocol to the Four Power Agreement on Berlin. Learn more about Germany and Europe, please click dentistrymyth.com.

After the government had lost its majority in the Bundestag by converting SPD and FDP members to the opposition, Brandt, as Federal Chancellor, asked for a vote of confidence on September 22, 1972 with the intention of pushing through early new elections by withdrawing confidence. After this procedure had achieved the intended purpose, elections took place on November 19, 1972, from which the coalition emerged with a large majority; the SPD became the strongest party. With the conclusion of the ” basic contract ” (December 21, 1972) with the GDR, which resulted in the signing of a transport contract (22.9.1972) between the two states, the Brandt government put a decisive emphasis on the future of German-German development (in force from 21.6.1973). As a result of this treaty, both states became members of the UN on September 18, 1973. On December 11th, 1973 a contract with Czechoslovakia was concluded in Prague.

While the years 1970–72 had been completely under the spell of the new German “Ostpolitik”, v. a. since 1973 economic and socio-political events have come to the fore. Accelerated inflation, major collective bargaining agreements by the federal government to the public service, the effects of the oil crisis in the wake of the 4th Israeli-Arab War (October 6-22/25, 1973), internal party struggles in the SPD and tensions with the coalition partner (especially on the question of co-determination) weakened Brandt’s domestic political position. After the discovery of the GDR spy G. Guillaume in the Chancellery (“Guillaume Affair”), he resigned as Federal Chancellor on May 7, 1974.

On May 15, 1974 with the votes of the SPD and FDP, the Federal Assembly elected W. Scheel (FDP) as Federal President, on May 16, 1974 the Bundestag elected H. Schmidt (SPD) as Federal Chancellor.

Schmidt took over the leadership of the social-liberal coalition, which was renewed under his chancellorship after the federal elections on October 3, 1976 and October 5, 1980.

Schmidt’s reign was overshadowed by a global economic recession from the start. Therefore, domestically, the struggle for monetary stability and the reduction of unemployment were in the foreground. With a mixture of expenditure reduction and state interventionist measures (e.g. law on cost containment in the health care system, law on the restructuring of pension insurance, 1977) the federal government sought to dampen cost pressure and at the same time to provide socio-political impetus. After lengthy discussions between the coalition partners, the law on codetermination was passed from 4.5.1976. During the parliamentary discussion on the government’s economic, financial and social policy, the CDU / CSU opposition – again the strongest parliamentary group in the Bundestag since October 1976 and now under the leadership of H. Kohl  - threw the government v. a. a government debt that is too high. On May 23, 1979 K. Carstens (CDU) was elected Federal President.

In view of the rising oil prices on the world market, energy policy issues came more and more into focus in the 1970s; the Schmidt government decided to expand nuclear power. In contrast, opponents of nuclear energy organized in citizens’groups tried to prevent the construction or expansion of nuclear power plants with demonstrations and trials, sometimes with success. From the “new social movements” (anti-nuclear power movement, peace movement, women’s movement), the Greens developed as a new political party and, closely interwoven with them, the alternatives (alternative culture). A minority of militant opponents of nuclear energy took violent action. From an environmental point of view, planned large-scale transport projects (e.g. the expansion of Frankfurt Airport) also led to passionate arguments and demonstrations.

After the start of the Baader-Meinhof trials in Stuttgart-Stammheim (1973-77), terrorism particularly reached the ” Red Army Fraction ” (RAF) with the murder of employer president H.-M. Schleyer (18.10.) And other personalities in the fall of 1977 as well as an airplane hijacking (by an allied Palestinian command) reached a dramatic climax. The government sought to consolidate internal security through legislative and administrative measures (including the passing of the “Contact Blocking Act” in 1977 and two “anti-terror laws”). After she had remained adamant about the violent blackmail attempts, the terrorism subsided again, but flared up again and again until the 1990s with individual acts of violence (the murder of A. Herrhausen and D. Rohwedder, among others).

In foreign policy, led by H.-D. Genscher (FDP), the Schmidt government took part in efforts to solve the problems of economic growth, unemployment and energy supply (including the 1st World Economic Summit) with great political commitment from the Federal Chancellor at “summit conferences” of the leading industrial nations in Europe and worldwide at Rambouillet Castle near Paris, November 1975).

Federal Republic of Germany 4