Conclusion

BEFORE becoming Chancellor in 1969, Willy Brandt complained that the Federal Republic, which had become an economic giant, remained a political dwarf. Even before unification this distinction had lost much of its validity. The Federal Republic owed its influence in the world to its economic strength and the stability of its currency. In the post-Cold War world military power is even less relevant as a measure of political influence, and a strong economy is even more the raison d'état of the new Germany. The demilitarization of the pursuit of German national interest is one post-1945 development that has come to stay. The other is the convergence of national identity and democracy. For much of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth those who wanted to build a German nation-state or to enhance its power were only too ready to subordinate the construction of political liberty to this aim. Those who gave priority to political liberty were only too readily dismissed as 'scoundrels without a fatherland' ('vaterlandslose Gesellen', in the words of Kaiser Wilhelm II). That the dichotomy between nationhood and democracy has finally been overcome is shown by the way Germany was unified in 1990. The instrument of national unity was the Basic Law of the Federal Republic, 'the best German constitution of all times'. The accession of the GDR on the terms of Article 23 was a victory for constitutional patriotism. But those who dissented from this device and wanted a new constitution under the provisions of Article 146 did so on the grounds that that was the more democratic path. Bismarck, the first unifier of Germany, declared in 1862 that the great decisions of the day would be made not by speeches and majorities, but by blood and iron. In 1990 it could not have been more different.

If Germany was unified peacefully and by consent, it was also unified in haste. This is the other formative influence on the Berlin Republic, which has taken the place of the Bonn Republic. Given the pressure to unify quickly, little thought could be given to adapting

-183-

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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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