The Federal Republic of Germany: A Concise History

The Federal Republic of Germany: A Concise History

The Federal Republic of Germany: A Concise History

The Federal Republic of Germany: A Concise History

Excerpt

The German Federal Republic was born in 1949; Hitler's Third Reich had collapsed in 1945. This four- year interval between two German governments probably did more to shape the face of Germany today than did the twelve years of National Socialist dictatorship or the fourteen years of the shaky Weimar Republic that preceded Hitler. Whether one considers the present international status of the country, its political institutions or ideological conflict, the consequences of those four years are today innumerable.

1. A Lost and Broken Germany

In the past, a conquered country usually experienced one of two fates: Either, by annexation, it simply ceased to exist as an independent state; or, it was forced to accept the conditions laid down by the conqueror but was allowed to keep a government of its own, if only to sign the peace treaty. At the end of World War II, the Allies chose a third solution: Germany would not disappear, the German nation would continue to exist; but the victorious powers . . .

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