Germany's New Politics: Parties and Issues in the 1990s

Germany's New Politics: Parties and Issues in the 1990s

Germany's New Politics: Parties and Issues in the 1990s

Germany's New Politics: Parties and Issues in the 1990s

Synopsis

Four years after unification, Germany completed what has been called the "super election year": no less than nineteen elections, culminating in the Bundestag vote on October 16, 1994. Four years after unification, the elections of 1994 reveal the state of German Unity and the interplay of new forces in post-Cold War Europe. This book analyzes the elections for specialists as well as for students, placing them in the wider context of political and economic developments in Germany in the 1990s. An appendix with full data on previous Bundestag elections and relevant charts on party developments enhances the value of this volume which students, scholars and the general reader interested in German affairs will find indispensable.

Excerpt

Germany has held its first federal election since the euphoric year of unity. More than that, there were nineteen different major elections in 1994 -- enough for the pundits to speak of the "Superwahljahr" (super election year). It was the first time Germans had so many ways to express their views on the direction of their united country in a changed Europe and a changed world. Unification has been far more costly than anyone expected and brought tenacious problems. What has emerged? Where is Germany heading? Not long ago, an American diplomat referred to the new "Berlin Republic" as the successor to what we had come to call the Bonn Republic. It is the politics of this emerging Berlin Republic that all Americans ought to become familiar with, as Germany settles in to becoming a regional great power with global significance. Most Germans themselves would be more modest in asserting this, but that is the nature of today's Germans.

Germany's New Politics is an introduction to politics in a new/old environment. It is continuity amidst change, as political scientists are fond of saying. The authors seek to combine election analysis with a study of the political framework and the shifting balance of forces within what is clearly the most powerful country in Western Europe. Speaking for themselves, they explain the Bundestag election campaign and issues, look at the political parties and their roles, and finally analyze the economy and foreign policy.

Germany's New Politics is also a testimony to the long history of transatlantic cooperation in studying electoral politics. Since 1961, the year in which sustained public opinion research on German elections developed its short-range plans and long-range intentions, many of us, represented by chapters in the current volume, have been privileged to be part of this endeavor. Often it has been only as observers, but from time to time as researchers and authors, whether for German or American audiences. Always the Americans represented in the current book -- along with others who did not take part in it -- have sought to be interpreters of German affairs in English-speaking countries, "multipliers" of knowledge about post- war Germany through contacts with students and colleagues, and often with a general public interested in lectures and discussions about Germany. For the many opportunities given us by German . . .

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