West Germany

West Germany

Overview
West Germany is the common English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

 on 3 October 1990.

This period, during which Germany and Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 were divided, ended when communist East Germany was dissolved and its five states joined the ten states of the Federal Republic of Germany along with the reunified city-state of Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

.
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Timeline

1948   Start of the Berlin Blockade: the Soviet Union makes overland travel between West Germany and West Berlin impossible.

1949   The western occupying powers approve the Basic Law for the new German state: the Federal Republic of Germany.

1949   The Federal Republic of Germany is established and the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is proclaimed.

1951   Ilse Koch, "The Bitch of Buchenwald", wife of the commandant of the Buchenwald concentration camp, is sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in West Germany.

1954   Germany: Otto John, head of West Germany's secret service, defects to East Germany.

1955   West Germany gains full sovereignty.

1955   Cold War: West Germany joins NATO.

1957   The European Economic Community is established (West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg).

1962   A storm kills more than 300 people in Hamburg, West Germany.

1965   West Germany and Israel establish diplomatic relations.

 
Encyclopedia
West Germany is the common English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

 on 3 October 1990.

This period, during which Germany and Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 were divided, ended when communist East Germany was dissolved and its five states joined the ten states of the Federal Republic of Germany along with the reunified city-state of Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. The enlarged Federal Republic of Germany with sixteen states (known simply as "Germany") is thus the continuation of the pre-1990 Federal Republic of Germany.

The Federal Republic of Germany was established from eleven states
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

 formed in the three Allied Zones of occupation held by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (the "Western Zones"). The city of Bonn was its provisional capital city. The fourth Allied occupation zone (the East Zone, or Ostzone) was held by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The parts of this zone lying east of the Oder
Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...

-Neisse were in fact annexed by the Soviet Union and communist Poland; the remaining central part around Berlin became the communist German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

 (abbreviated GDR; in German Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR) with its de facto capital in East Berlin
East Berlin
East Berlin was the name given to the eastern part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. It consisted of the Soviet sector of Berlin that was established in 1945. The American, British and French sectors became West Berlin, a part strongly associated with West Germany but a free city...

. As a result, West Germany had a territory about half the size of the interwar democratic Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

.

At the onset of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, Germany (and, indeed, Europe) was divided among the Western and Eastern blocs. Germany was de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

divided into two countries and two special territories, the Saarland
Saar (protectorate)
The Saar Protectorate was a German borderland territory twice temporarily made a protectorate state. Since rejoining Germany the second time in 1957, it is the smallest Federal German Area State , the Saarland, not counting the city-states Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen...

 and divided Berlin. The Federal Republic of Germany claimed an exclusive mandate
Exclusive Mandate
An exclusive mandate is a government's assertion of its legitimate authority over a certain territory, part of which another government controls with stable, de facto sovereignty...

 for all of Germany, considering itself to be the democratically reorganised continuation of the German Reich. It took the line that the GDR was an illegally constituted state. The GDR did hold regular elections, but these were not free and fair; from the West German perspective the GDR was thus a puppet state of the Soviets and therefore illegitimate.

Three southwestern states of West Germany merged to form Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

 in 1952, and the Saarland joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. In addition to the resulting ten states, West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

 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
Allied Control Council
The Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, known in the German language as the Alliierter Kontrollrat and also referred to as the Four Powers , was a military occupation governing body of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany after the end of World War II in Europe...

, 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
Ostpolitik
Neue Ostpolitik , or Ostpolitik for short, refers to the normalization of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Eastern Europe, particularly the German Democratic Republic beginning in 1969...

’ around 1970, and West Germany began taking the line of "two German states within one German nation", but formally maintained the exclusive mandate. It recognised the GDR as a de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

government within a single German nation that in turn was represented de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

by the West German state alone. East Germany, as before, recognised the existence of two German countries de jure, and the West as both de facto and de jure foreign country. The Federal Republic and the GDR agreed that neither of them could speak in the name of the other one.

The foundation for the influential position held by Germany today was laid during the Wirtschaftswunder
Wirtschaftswunder
The term describes the rapid reconstruction and development of the economies of West Germany and Austria after World War II . The expression was used by The Times in 1950...

(economic miracle) of the 1950s when West Germany rose from the enormous destruction wrought by World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to become the world's third largest economy. The first chancellor Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman. He was the chancellor of the West Germany from 1949 to 1963. He is widely recognised as a person who led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that had forged close relations with old enemies France,...

, who remained in office until 1963, had worked for a full alignment with the West 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
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. When the G6/G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 was established in 1975, there was no question whether the Federal Republic of Germany would be a member as well.

With the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, symbolised by the opening of the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

, there was a rapid move towards German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

. 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. The expanded Federal Republic, now known simply as Germany in the English language, retained its political culture and continued its existing memberships in international organisations, as well as its Western foreign policy alignment and affiliation to Western alliances like the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and NATO.

Naming conventions



The official name of West Germany, adopted in 1949 and unchanged since, is Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany). Its abbreviation "BRD", even though not official, used to be common usage in Western publications until about the late 1960s. Also in some Western states sometimes corresponding native abbreviations reached some frequency, such as the French language RFA.

In East Germany usage the terms Westdeutschland (West[ern] Germany) or westdeutsche Bundesrepublik (West German Federal Republic) were preferred during the 1950s and 1960s. This changed especially once East Germany considered West Germans and West Berliners foreigners under its second constitution in 1968 abandoning the idea of a single German nation formerly upheld in East and West Germany alike. Starting in East German Neues Deutschland
Neues Deutschland
Neues Deutschland is a national German daily newspaper. It was the official party newspaper of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany , which governed the German Democratic Republic , and as such served as one of the party's most important organs...

 the initialism BRD (FRG) for the Federal Republic of Germany prevailed beginning in the early 1970s, while East German official sources adopted that initialism as the standard expression in 1973, followed by the usage of respective native abbreviations in all of the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

.

In reaction to this move, in 1965 the Federal Minister of All-German Affairs
Minister of Intra-German Relations
The Federal Minister of Intra-German Relations was a federal cabinet minister of the Federal Republic of Germany...

 issued the Directives for the appellation of Germany recommending avoiding the initialism. On 31 May 1974 the heads of German federal and state governments recommended to always use the full name in official publications. From then on West German sources began to avoid the abbreviated form, except left-leaning sources who started to embrace it. In November 1979 the federal government informed the Bundestag
Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

 that the West German public broadcasters ARD
ARD (broadcaster)
ARD is a joint organization of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters...

 and ZDF
ZDF
Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen , ZDF, is a public-service German television broadcaster based in Mainz . It is run as an independent non-profit institution, which was founded by the German federal states . The ZDF is financed by television licence fees called GEZ and advertising revenues...

 had agreed to refuse to use the initialism.

The different usages were so ingrained that one could deduce a person's or source's political leaning from the name used for West Germany.

Meanwhile the colloquial term "West Germany" or its equivalents were used in many other languages. "Westdeutschland" was also a widespread colloquial form used in German-speaking countries, usually without political overtones.

History




After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, leaders from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 held the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 where future arrangements with post-war Europe and actions to be made against Japan in the Pacific were negotiated. The conference came to the agreement to split Germany into four occupation zones
Allied Occupation Zones in Germany
The Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II divided the country west of the Oder-Neisse line into four occupation zones for administrative purposes during 1945–49. In the closing weeks of fighting in Europe, US forces had pushed beyond the previously agreed boundaries for the...

—the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Zone in the far west, the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Zone in the northwest, the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Zone in the south, and the Soviet Zone in the east. It then was not the intention to split Germany, only to designate zones of administration.

Former German areas east of the rivers Oder
Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...

 and Neisse
Lusatian Neisse
The Lusatian Neisse is a long river in Central Europe. The river has its source in the Jizera Mountains near Nová Ves nad Nisou, Czech Republic, reaching the tripoint with Poland and Germany at Zittau after , and later forms the Polish-German border on a length of...

 were put under Polish administration, and millions of Germans were expelled from there, to be replaced by Poles. (With the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 likewise taking a big bite from eastern Poland and East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

) In 1946–1949, the first three zones were combined in steps. First the British and American zones were combined into the quasi-state of Bizonia
Bizone
The Bizone, or Bizonia was the combination of the American and the British occupation zones in 1947 during the occupation of Germany after World War II. With the addition of the French occupation zone in March 1948, the entity became the Trizone...

, then only months afterward the French zone was included into Trizonia
Bizone
The Bizone, or Bizonia was the combination of the American and the British occupation zones in 1947 during the occupation of Germany after World War II. With the addition of the French occupation zone in March 1948, the entity became the Trizone...

. At the same time, new federal states (Länder) were formed in the Allied zones, replacing the pre-war states.

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, became the German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

or GDR. From 3 October 1990, after the reformation of the GDR's Länder, the East German states joined the Federal Republic
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

.

NATO membership



The Federal Republic of Germany, founded on 23 May 1949, was declared "fully sovereign" on 5 May 1955. 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
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 with its juxtaposition to East Germany, a member of the subsequently founded Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

. The former capital, Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, had been divided into four sectors, with the Western Allies joining their sectors to form West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

, while the Soviets held East Berlin
East Berlin
East Berlin was the name given to the eastern part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. It consisted of the Soviet sector of Berlin that was established in 1945. The American, British and French sectors became West Berlin, a part strongly associated with West Germany but a free city...

. West Berlin was completely surrounded by East German territory and had suffered a Soviet blockade in 1948–1949 which had been overcome by the Berlin airlift.


The outbreak of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 in June 1950 led to U.S. calls for the rearmament of West Germany in order to help defend Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 from the perceived Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 threat. Germany's partners in the Coal and Steel Community proposed to establish a European Defence Community
European Defence Community
The European Defense Community was a plan proposed in 1950 by René Pleven, the French President of the Council , in response to the American call for the rearmament of West Germany...

 (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
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

) 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
French National Assembly
The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

 refused to ratify it (August 1954), the treaty died. The French Gaullists and communists had killed the French government's proposal. Other means then had to be found to allow West German rearmament. In response, at the London and Paris Conferences
London and Paris Conferences
The London and Paris Conferences were two related conferences in London and Paris in late September and October 1954 to determine the status of West Germany...

, the Brussels Treaty was modified to include West Germany, and to form the Western European Union
Western European Union
The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

 (WEU). West Germany was to be permitted to rearm, an idea which was rejected by many Germans, and have full sovereign control of its military, called the Bundeswehr
Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

; the WEU would however regulate the size of the armed forces permitted to each of its member states. Also, the German constitution prohibited any military action except in 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
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 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.)

Reunification



The official German reunification ceremony on 3 October 1990 was held at the Reichstag building, including Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Helmut Kohl
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998...

, President
President of Germany
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...

 Richard von Weizsäcker
Richard von Weizsäcker
Richard Karl Freiherr von Weizsäcker , known as Richard von Weizsäcker, is a German politician . He served as Governing Mayor of West Berlin from 1981 to 1984, and as President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1984 to 1994...

, former Chancellor Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm , was a German politician, Mayor of West Berlin 1957–1966, Chancellor of West Germany 1969–1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany 1964–1987....

 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
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

, the Bundestag
Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

 concluded on 20 June 1991, with quite a slim majority, that both government and parliament should move to Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 from Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

.

West German economic miracle


The West German Wirtschaftswunder
Wirtschaftswunder
The term describes the rapid reconstruction and development of the economies of West Germany and Austria after World War II . The expression was used by The Times in 1950...

 (English: "economic miracle", coined by The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

of London in 1950), was partly due to the economic aid provided by the United States and the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

, but mainly due to the currency reform of 1948 which replaced the Reichsmark with the Deutsche Mark as legal tender, halting rampant inflation. The Allied dismantling of the West German coal and steel industry finally ended in 1950.


In addition to the physical obstacles that had to be overcome for the German economic recovery (see the Morgenthau Plan
Morgenthau Plan
The Morgenthau Plan, proposed by United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., advocated that the Allied occupation of Germany following World War II include measures to eliminate Germany's ability to wage war.-Overview:...

) there were also intellectual challenges. The Allies confiscated intellectual privileges of huge value, such as all German patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

s, both in Germany and abroad, and used them to strengthen their own industrial competitiveness by licensing them to Allied companies. Meanwhile some of the best German researchers were being put to work in the Soviet Union and in the U.S.

Contrary to popular belief, the Marshall Plan, which was extended to include the newly formed West Germany in 1949, was not the main force behind the Wirtschaftswunder. Had that been the case, other countries such as Great Britain and France (which both received higher economic assistance from the plan than Germany) should have experienced the same phenomenon. In fact, the amount of monetary aid (which was in the form of loans) received by Germany through the Marshall Plan was far overshadowed by the amount the Germans had to pay back as war reparations and by the charges the Allies exacted from the Germans for the ongoing cost of occupation (about $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

2.4 billion per year). In 1953 it was decided that Germany was to repay $1.1 billion of the aid it had received. The last repayment was made in June 1971.

The Korean war
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 (1950–1953) led to a worldwide increased demand for goods, and 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 deportation
Deportation
Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

s and migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

s 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
Gastarbeiter
Gastarbeiter is German for "guest worker." It refers to migrant workers who had moved to West Germany mainly in the 1960s and 70s, seeking work as part of a formal guest worker programme...

("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.

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
European Coal and Steel Community
The European Coal and Steel Community was a six-nation international organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and create the foundation for the modern-day developments of the European Union...

, which would later evolve into the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. On 5 May 1955 West Germany was declared "fully sovereign". The British
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

, French
Military of France
The French Armed Forces encompass the French Army, the French Navy, the French Air Force and the National Gendarmerie. The President of the Republic heads the armed forces, with the title "chef des armées" . The President is the supreme authority for military matters and is the sole official who...

 and U.S. militaries
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 remained in the country, just as the Soviet Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 remained in East Germany. Four days after becoming "fully sovereign" in 1955, West Germany joined NATO. The U.S. 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
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 (G6). In 1973, West Germany which was 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.

Position towards East Germany



The official position of West Germany concerning East Germany 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
Hallstein Doctrine
The Hallstein Doctrine, named after Walter Hallstein, was a key doctrine in the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany after 1955. It established that the Federal Republic would not establish or maintain diplomatic relations with any state that recognized the German Democratic Republic...

, any country (with the exception of the USSR) that recognised the authorities of the German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

 would not have diplomatic relations with West Germany.

In the early 1970s, Willy Brandt's policy of "Neue Ostpolitik
Ostpolitik
Neue Ostpolitik , or Ostpolitik for short, refers to the normalization of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Eastern Europe, particularly the German Democratic Republic beginning in 1969...

" led to a form of mutual recognition between East and West Germany. The Treaty of Moscow
Treaty of Moscow (1970)
The Treaty of Moscow, was signed on August 12, 1970 between the USSR and West Germany . It was signed by Willy Brandt and Walter Scheel from the FRG side and by Alexei Kosygin and Andrei Gromyko from the USSR side.-Description:...

 (August 1970), the Treaty of Warsaw
Treaty of Warsaw (1970)
The Treaty of Warsaw was a treaty between West Germany and the People's Republic of Poland. It was signed by Chancellor Willy Brandt and Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz at the Presidential Palace on 7 December 1970, and it was ratified by the German Bundestag on 17 May 1972.In the treaty, both...

 (December 1970), the Four Power Agreement on Berlin
Four Power Agreement on Berlin
The Four Power Agreement on Berlin also known as the Berlin Agreement or the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin was agreed on 3 September 1971 by the four wartime allied powers, represented by their Ambassadors...

 (September 1971), the Transit Agreement
Transit Agreement (1972)
The Transit Agreement of 26 May 1972 arranged access to and from West Berlin from West Germany and secured the right of West Berliners to visit East Berlin and East Germany also secured the rights of GDR citizens to visit the FRG, but only in cases of family emergency.-References:*...

 (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
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. The Hallstein Doctrine was abolished.

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 first freely elected East German parliament decided in June 1990 that the Länder soon to be reestablished would join the Federal Republic under Article 23 of the (West) German Basic Law (Grundgesetz). This made a quick unification possible. In July/August 1990 the East German parliament enacted a law for the reestablishment of Länder
New federal states
The new federal states of Germany are the five re-established states in the former German Democratic Republic that acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany with its 10 states upon German reunification on 3 October 1990....

on the territory of the German Democratic Republic.

The two German states entered into a currency and customs union
Customs union
A customs union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas...

 in July 1990, and on 3 October 1990, the German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

 dissolved and the then reestablished five East German Länder
New federal states
The new federal states of Germany are the five re-established states in the former German Democratic Republic that acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany with its 10 states upon German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 (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
Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman. He was the chancellor of the West Germany from 1949 to 1963. He is widely recognised as a person who led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that had forged close relations with old enemies France,...

 era (1949–63) was followed by a brief period under Ludwig Erhard
Ludwig Erhard
Ludwig Wilhelm Erhard was a German politician affiliated with the CDU and Chancellor of West Germany from 1963 until 1966. He is notable for his leading role in German postwar economic reform and economic recovery , particularly in his role as Minister of Economics under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer...

 (1963–66) who, in turn, was replaced by Kurt Georg Kiesinger
Kurt Georg Kiesinger
Kurt Georg Kiesinger was a German politician affiliated with the CDU and Chancellor of West Germany from 1 December 1966 until 21 October 1969.-Early career and wartime activities:...

 (1966–69). All governments between 1949 and 1966 were formed by the united caucus of the Christian-Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union
Christian Social Union of Bavaria
The Christian Social Union in Bavaria is a Christian democratic and conservative political party in Germany. It operates only in the state of Bavaria, while its sister party, the Christian Democratic Union , operates in the other 15 states of Germany...

 (CSU), either alone or in coalition with the smaller Free Democratic Party
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

 (FDP) or other rightwing parties.

Kiesinger's 1966–69 "Grand Coalition" was between West Germany's two largest parties, the CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (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
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

.

Leading up to the passing of the laws, there was fierce opposition to them, above all by the FDP, the rising German student movement
German student movement
The German student movement was a protest movement that took place during the late 1960s in West Germany. It was largely a reaction against the perceived authoritarianism and hypocrisy of the German government and other Western governments, and the poor living conditions of students...

, a group calling itself Notstand der Demokratie ("Democracy in a State of Emergency") and the labour unions
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

. Demonstrations and protests grew in number, and in 1967 the student Benno Ohnesorg
Benno Ohnesorg
Benno Ohnesorg was a German university student killed by a policeman during a demonstration in West Berlin.- Death :On June 2, 1967, Ohnesorg participated in a protest held near the Deutsche Oper, aimed against the state visit of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was attending a...

 was shot in the head by a policeman. The press, especially the tabloid Bild-Zeitung
Bild-Zeitung
The Bild is a German tabloid published by Axel Springer AG. The paper is published from Monday to Saturday, while on Sundays, Bild am Sonntag is published instead, which has a different style and its own editors...

newspaper, launched a vast campaign against the protesters and in 1968, believed by some as a result, there was an attempted assassination of one of the top members of the German socialist students' union, Rudi Dutschke
Rudi Dutschke
Alfred Willi Rudi Dutschke was the most prominent spokesperson of the German student movement of the 1960s. He advocated 'a long march through the institutions' of power to create radical change from within government and society by becoming an integral part of the machinery...

.

By 1958 a stronger desire to confront the Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 past had come into being. In the 1960s environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 and anti-nationalism
Anti-nationalism
Anti-nationalism denotes the sentiments associated with the opposition to nationalism, arguing that it is undesirable or dangerous. Some anti-nationalists are humanitarians or humanists who pursue an idealist form of world community, and self-identify as world citizens. They reject chauvinism,...

 became fundamental values among left-wing Germans. As a result in 1979 the Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens
Alliance '90/The Greens is a green political party in Germany, formed from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90 in 1993. Its leaders are Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir...

 were able to reach the 5% minimum required to obtain parliamentary seats in the Bremen
Bremen (state)
The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is the smallest of Germany's 16 states. A more informal name, but used in some official contexts, is Land Bremen .-Geography:...

 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
Red Army Faction
The radicalized were, like many in the New Left, influenced by:* Sociological developments, pressure within the educational system in and outside Europe and the U.S...

 (RAF) which 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 giving up its activities.

In the 1969 election, the SPD gained enough votes to form a coalition government with the FDP. SPD leader and Chancellor Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm , was a German politician, Mayor of West Berlin 1957–1966, Chancellor of West Germany 1969–1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany 1964–1987....

 remained head of government until May 1974, when he resigned after the Guillaume Affair
Guillaume Affair
The Guillaume Affair was an espionage scandal in the Cold War history of Germany. The scandal revolved around the exposure of an East German spy within the West German government and had far-reaching political repercussions in Germany, the most prominent being the resignation of West German...

, in which a senior member of his staff was uncovered as a spy for the East German intelligence service, the Stasi
Stasi
The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), commonly known as the Stasi (abbreviation , literally State Security), was the official state security service of East Germany. The MfS was headquartered...

. 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 serial adultery, and struggling with alcohol and depression as well as the economic fallout of the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

, 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."

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 October 1, 1982, the FDP joined forces with the CDU/CSU to elect CDU Chairman Helmut Kohl
Helmut Kohl
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998...

 as Chancellor in a Constructive Vote of No Confidence
Constructive vote of no confidence
The constructive vote of no confidence is a variation on the motion of no confidence which allows a parliament to withdraw confidence from a head of government only if there is a positive majority for a prospective successor...

. 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.

Culture in general


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



In the 20th century association football became the largest sport in Germany. The Germany national football team
Germany national football team
The Germany national football team is the football team that has represented Germany in international competition since 1908. It is governed by the German Football Association , which was founded in 1900....

, established in 1908, continued its tradition based in the Federal Republic of Germany, winning the 1954 FIFA World Cup
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 goals scored per game...

 in a stunning upset dubbed the miracle of Bern
1954 FIFA World Cup Final
- External links :* - fifa.com, FIFA, 2002.*...

. Earlier, the German team was not considered part of the international top. The 1974 FIFA World Cup
1974 FIFA World Cup
The 1974 FIFA World Cup, the tenth staging of the World Cup, was held in West Germany from 13 June to 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...

 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
German Football Association
The German Football Association is the governing body of football in Germany. A founding member of both FIFA and UEFA, the DFB organises the German football leagues, including the national league, the Bundesliga, and the men's and women's national teams. The DFB is based in Frankfurt and is...

 won the cup again, defeating the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 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 and 1980.

After both Olympic Games of 1936 had been held in Germany, Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 was selected to host the 1972 Summer Olympics
1972 Summer Olympics
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972....

. 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
Germany at the Olympics
German athletes have taken part in most of the Olympic Games since the first modern Games in 1896. Germany has hosted three Olympic Games, in 1936 both the Winter and Summer Games, and the 1972 Summer Olympics. In addition, Germany had been selected to host the 1916 Summer Olympics as well as the...

 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 which informally had been called "West German" before 1991, with the only differences being enlarged membership, and a different name used by some foreigners. These organisations and teams in turn had mostly continued the traditions of those representing Germany before the Second World War and even the First World War, thus having a century-old continuity despite political changes. On the other hand, the separate East German teams and organisations had been founded in the 1950s; they were an episode lasting less than four decades, yet quite successful in that time.

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
Wolfgang Borchert
Wolfgang Borchert was a German author and playwright whose work was affected by his experience of dictatorship and his service in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. His work is among the best examples of the Trümmerliteratur movement in post-World War II Germany...

, a former soldier who died young in 1947, is one of the best known representants of the Trümmerliteratur
Trümmerliteratur
Trümmerliteratur , also called Kahlschlagliteratur , is a literary movement that began shortly after World War II in Germany and lasted until about 1950....

. Heinrich Böll
Heinrich Böll
Heinrich Theodor Böll was one of Germany's foremost post-World War II writers. Böll was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize in 1967 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.- Biography :...

 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.

Life in general



During the 40 years of separation some divergence occurred in the cultural life of the two parts of the severed nation. Both West Germany and East Germany followed along traditional paths of the common German culture, but West Germany, being obviously more affected by influences from western Europe and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, became more cosmopolitan
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

. Conversely, East Germany, while remaining more conservative than West Germany in its adherence to some aspects of the received tradition, was strongly moulded by the dictates of a state socialist
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

 ideology of predominantly Soviet inspiration. On the non-political level, East Germany was also influenced by the Eastern Bloc's Slavic cultures that manifested in art, culinary scene, and sports. Nevertheless, young East Germans were also fascinated by Western and particularly American culture, which they had a degree of access to in a variety of ways, not least through West German television and radio, whose broadcasts reached many parts of the country.

For the majority of Germans in present-day Germany who lived in pre-reunification West Germany, there is minimal change in daily life stemming from German reunification as the reunified country is essentially West Germany incorporating East Germany on a West German base. In contrast, for East Germans the scale of change has been sweeping in all aspects of life from that before die Wende
Die Wende
marks the complete process of the change from socialism and planned economy to market economy and capitalism in East Germany around the years 1989 and 1990. It encompasses several processes and events which later have become synonymous with the overall process...

. Although movements like Ostalgia exist attempting to celebrate and preserve parts of the GDR culture, since reunification the former East Germany has been converging towards the western part of the country in most parts of daily life.

Geographical distribution of government


In West Germany, most of the political agencies and buildings were located in Bonn, while the German Stock Market
DAX
The DAX is a blue chip stock market index consisting of the 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Prices are taken from the electronic Xetra trading system...

 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
Karlsruhe
The City of Karlsruhe is a city in the southwest of Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, located near the French-German border.Karlsruhe was founded in 1715 as Karlsruhe Palace, when Germany was a series of principalities and city states...

.

The West German government was known to be much more decentralised
Decentralization
__FORCETOC__Decentralization or decentralisation is the process of dispersing decision-making governance closer to the people and/or citizens. It includes the dispersal of administration or governance in sectors or areas like engineering, management science, political science, political economy,...

 than its state socialist
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

 East German counterpart, the former being a federal state and the latter a unitary one
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

. 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
Bundesrat
Bundesrat means federal council and may refer to:* Bundesrat of Germany* Federal Council of Austria* Swiss Federal Council...

, the second legislative chamber of the Federal Government.

Present geographical and political terminology


Today, Northrhine-Westphalia is often considered to be western Germany
Western Germany
The geographic term Western Germany is used to describe a region in the west of Germany. The exact area defined by the term is not constant, but it usually includes, but does not have the borders of, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse...

 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


  • German reunification
    German reunification
    German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

  • Petersberg Agreement
    Petersberg agreement
    The Petersberg Agreement is an international treaty that extended the rights of the Federal Government of Germany vis-a-vis the occupying forces of Britain, France, and the United States, and is viewed as the first major step of Federal Republic of Germany towards sovereignty...

  • Bonn–Paris conventions
  • East Germany