6
Ostpolitik

That the path of the German nation parted, that it could no longer be followed in the form of a united state, may be felt as tragic by some, by many -- we cannot act as if it has not happened.

( Willy Brandt, Erfurt, 19 March 1970)

THE 1960s were the decade of the FRG's adolescence, when many of the assumptions on which it was founded were questioned. The 1970s were the decade of its maturity, when it ceased to be a provisional state and when those who led it were increasingly men and women who had entered politics after 1945. The theory of provisionality remained. The constitution was still called the Basic Law and the aspiration to re-unification remained in its preamble. But by the time Willy Brandt became Chancellor the FRG had outlasted both the Weimar Republic and the French Fourth Republic. While some observers inside and outside Germany were worried about its stability, few doubted that it had come to stay. And, precisely because it had so obviously come to stay, the FRG's new rulers were convinced that the time had come to rethink their state's domestic order and foreign relations.

As always, these reassessments did not begin overnight and many of the impulses came from outside Germany. Student radicalism may have had more lasting effects in the FRG than elsewhere, but it was no more widespread or violent than in the USA, France, or Italy. The younger generation in the USA had the Vietnam War, in which they might be personally involved, as a direct incentive to rebel. In France the revolt of 1968, which coincided -- as it did not in the FRG -- with working-class militancy and a general strike, threatened the survival of de Gaulle's presidency and, indeed, the state. The use of ' 1968' as shorthand for the climax for the New Left's challenge to established authority is more properly applied to France than to the FRG, where there was no single apogee on this scale. True, 1968 was the year in which the Emergency Laws were passed

-108-

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German Politics, 1945-1995
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Chronology xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Unified, but not United 3
  • 3 - The Adenauer Era 51
  • 4 - The Second Foundation of the Federal Republic 71
  • 5 - The Other Germany 90
  • 6 - Ostpolitik 108
  • 7 - Modell Deutschland 129
  • 8 - A New Germany 155
  • Conclusion 183
  • Appendix I. Tables of Election Results 187
  • Appendix II. Figure of Economic Performance 189
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 190
  • Index 193
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