How far did Western democratic structures (political, economic and social) succeed in the Federal Republic?
Key features.... Head of State: President 5 years in office, chosen by special assembly from Bundestag (lower house of parliament). Ceremonial role Parliament Two-tiered structure made up of the Bundestag (the federal parliament) and the Bundesrat (the federal council) Chancellor Elected by and solely responsible to the Bundestag
Electoral System • Necessity of pluralism (democratic parties are an essential part of the constitution and cannot be abolished) • Proportional representation: used in Weimar but created too many parties. The number of seats is in proportion to the number of votes. • FRG adopted a mixed member PR system. This allowed for half of the seats in the Bundestag to be elected by a majority vote in their constituencies and the other half from party lists. • A 5% hurdle was introduced: if a party won less than 5% of the vote it was barred from parliament. • System led to fewer parties in the Bundestag and more stability
In order to protect democracy, various parties and organisations were banned • 11 communist organisations : Free German Youth • Communist Party after it gained 2.2% in the elections • Page 167 Basic Law
Politics in the FRG Two main parties CDU Christian Democratic Union and CSU Christian Social Union (in Bavaria) SPD Social Democratic Party ‘Multi party system to one of vanishing opposition’
First Elections 1949: Adenauer the leader of the CDU: Chancellor, Theodor Heuss the leader of the Free Democratic Party President.
Konrad Adenauer Supporter of Western Liberal democracy and Catholic conservatism
Adenauer’s Policies ‘Reject the East, integrate with the West’ • Joined the EEC- European Economic Community in 1957 • Joined NATO- North Atlantic Treaty Organisation 1955 • Bundeswehr – army created 1955 • Ignore 1953 uprising • Refused to recognise the GDR as a separate state or to have diplomatic relations with any powers that did recognise it. • West Germans continued to call East Germany ‘the zone’ until the 1970s
The economic miracle Former Economic director of Bizonia Dr Ludwig Erhard became the brains behind the development of West Germany’s ‘social market economy’. “Prosperity for all”