Ten Years of Basic Law Amendments: Developing a Constitutional Model of German Unification

By Pile, Mathew W. | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, May 2001 | Go to article overview

Ten Years of Basic Law Amendments: Developing a Constitutional Model of German Unification


Pile, Mathew W., Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


ABSTRACT

On October 3, 1990, West and East Germany officially united. Although several unification methods were possible, the unification occurred by East Germany acceding to the West German Constitution--the Basic Law--through a series of treaties. This "treaty route" to unification necessarily required amendments to the Basic Law.

The primary unification instrument, the Treaty on the Establishment of German Unity, detailed the Basic Law amendments that were immediately essential to effectuating unification. The treaty, however, also contemplated additional Basic Law amendments arising from the consequences of unification. In fact, in the ten years following German unification, the German legislature passed six Basic Law amendments that directly addressed unification issues.

This Note analyzes the unification amendments to the Basic Law, identifying both the positive and the negative constitutional effects of German unification. The Note organizes these constitutional effects into a Constitutional Model of German Unification. The Constitutional Model of German Unification: (1) identifies and explains the constitutional characteristics of unification, (2) proposes constitutional recommendations for future unifying States, and (3) predicts the content of future unification amendments to the Basic Law.

I. INTRODUCTION(1)

On October 3, 1990, West and East Germany officially united to form a single, enlarged Federal Republic of Germany.(2) The unification occurred in accordance with the Treaty on the Establishment of German Unity (Unification Treaty) of August 31, 1990.(3) The treaty route to German unification(4) had been strongly endorsed by the East German elections of March 18, 1990.(5) In fact, the Unification Treaty itself was only one of several agreements that was necessary to realize German unification.(6) The Treaty Establishing a Monetary, Economic and Social Union (May 18, 1990)(7) and the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany (September 12, 1990)(8) also contributed significantly to the unification process. During and following the 1990 unification Germany amended its Constitution or Grundgesetz (Basic Law)(9) thirteen times, affecting forty different articles of that document.(10) The Basic Law had been amended thirty-five times between its original promulgation on May 23, 1949, and German unification in 1990.(11)

This Note will develop a Constitutional Model of German Unification by analyzing the Basic Law amendments that occurred as a result of German unification. The constitutional model will identify and explain the implications of the unique positive and negative constitutional characteristics of German unification. The development of a Constitutional Model of German Unification is important for three reasons: (1) to provide an analytical framework within which future unifying States may evaluate and implement their own unification; (2) to propose a set of constitutional recommendations for future unifying States based on Germany's unification experience; and (3) to predict the content of future Basic Law amendments relating to unification.

Section II will describe the processes by which Germany amends the Basic Law and enters into treaties. This section will also explain the constitutional authority under which Germany entered into the unification process. Next, Section II will detail the constitutionally significant provisions of the Unification Treaty and the Treaty Establishing a Monetary, Economic, and Social Union (MESU Treaty).(12) Finally, this section will briefly describe the content of each of the thirteen Basic Law amendments since 1990.

Section III will: (1) identify the Basic Law amendments that resulted from unification; (2) detail the provisions of each amendment; (3) explain how each amendment relates to unification; and (4) describe how each amendment contributes to the Constitutional Model of German Unification.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ten Years of Basic Law Amendments: Developing a Constitutional Model of German Unification
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.