Politics and Government in Germany, 1944-1994: Basic Documents

By Carl-Christoph Schweitzer; Detlev Karsten et al. | Go to book overview

2
Berlin

Robert Spencer

B erlin, from 1445 the seat of the Prussian rulers and from 1871 to 1945 the capital of the German Reich, and by the Unity Treaty of 31 August 1990 declared the capital of Germany, occupied a unique position in Germany and in Europe after the end of the Second World War. The old core of the city, on the banks of the Spree and the districts to the east, was from 1949 the capital of the German Democratic Republic (DDR). The larger part of the city to the west, comprising 54.4 per cent of the 883 square kilometre area included in Greater Berlin in 1922, with a population in 1980 of 1,998,000, ranked as West Germany's largest city and included extensive farmlands, lakes, and wooded areas, but was a city without a hinterland. Organized as a city-state, its status rested on the wartime agreements among the Allied powers (see also Ch. 1, Doc. 1) and the important restatement of its position contained in the agreements of 1971.

West Berlin's government exercised both state and municipal functions. The Social Democratic Party, revived in June 1945, dominated West Berlin's politics until 1975 and produced distinguished Governing Mayors such as Ernst Reuter ( 1945-53) and Willy Brandt ( 1957-66). In the elections of 10 May 1981, however, the CDU's Richard von Weizsäcker (later President of the Federal Republic) was elected Governing Mayor. Political change in Berlin (or in Bonn), however, did not weaken determination to preserve the position of West Berlin and its vital links with the Federal Republic (Doc. 2)

For over four decades, Berlin remained a barometer of East-West relations, and concern for its future was a reflection of the city's postwar history which was punctuated by a series of crises. The most dramatic of these was the blockade, by the Soviet Union, of the land and water access routes passing through the surrounding Soviet occupied zone in 1948 /49 (see Ch.1. Doc.2). For an eleven-month period ( 24 June 1948 to 29 May 1949), the only link between the Western sectors and the West was the airlift,

-29-

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Politics and Government in Germany, 1944-1994: Basic Documents
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the First Edition xv
  • Preface to the Second Edition xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • 1 - The Origins of The Federal Republic Of Germany, 1944-1949 1
  • 2 - Berlin 29
  • 3 - The Two Germanies 48
  • 4 - Germany Reunited 1989--Her First Successful Revolution, And a Peaceful One 76
  • 5 - Foreign Policy 108
  • 6 - Defence Policy and the Armed Forces 150
  • 7 - Parliamentary Democracy: The Bundestag 175
  • 8 - Political Parties 201
  • 9 - Chancellor, Cabinet, and President 239
  • 10 - The Judiciary 272
  • 11 - Basic Rights And Constitutional Review 297
  • 12 - Federalism: Bund and Länder 325
  • 13 - Public Opinion: Interest Groups and the Media 371
  • 14 - Economic and Social Policy 401
  • Statistical Tables 432
  • Glossary 446
  • Select Bibliography 449
  • Notes on the Editors 458
  • Index 460
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