7
Modell Deutschland

It is admitted as a general principle that moderation and the mean are always best. ( Aristotle, Politics 1295b)

HELMUT SCHMIDT, the Federal Republic's fifth Chancellor, from 1974 to 1982, inherited a mixed legacy. He led a state that was selfconfident and respected, but remained subject to domestic and foreign challenges. Above all, the breach in the ideological consensus that had begun in the later 1960s and that Brandt had been unable to close, continued to inhibit policy-making and ultimately led to Schmidt's fall.

The first asset that Schmidt inherited was an improved relationship with the FRG's Eastern neighbours. Thanks to Brandt's work, the image of Bonn as a revanchist bunker faded, and though relations with the states of the Eastern bloc remained strained, they were no longer confrontational. For the time being détente had got as far as it could go; Schmidt's and Genscher's priorities were to consolidate the gains of Ostpolitik, not to embark on new initiatives. The one important further step that the FRG was involved in, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe ( CSCE), it was careful to interpret as consolidation, not innovation. The text adopted at the conclusion of the CSCE -- the Helsinki Final Act, for short -- consisted of three 'baskets'. Basket One dealt with security and disarmament on the basis of 'mutual respect for sovereignty and equality'. This was a further Soviet attempt to secure an international agreement to perpetuate the post-1945 frontiers of, and spheres of influence in, Europe, including the division of Europe. The chief benefit to Bonn of this basket was that it reinforced the Four-Power Agreement on Berlin. Basket Two dealt with increased economic and technological co-operation. This promised immediate benefits to the countries of the Eastern bloc, whose governments were increasingly anxious about the modernization gap opening between themselves and the West.

-129-

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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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