West Germany - Federal Republic of Germany 1

West Germany – Federal Republic of Germany Part I

At the height of the second Berlin crisis (see berlin, question of), the erection of the wall in the former capital (13 August 1961) marked a break in the history of the two Germany official policy of reunification, inserted in the westernist option of the foreign policy of the Rep. Fed. di Germany, opening a tormented search for new ways, finally arriving at the Ostpolitik of the Brandt-Scheel government; it acted as a catalyst on the crisis of the Adenauerian leadership, now weakened in its essential basis, that is, foreign policy; it constituted the premise and the start of the definitive consolidation of the German Dem Rep.

Graxioms of the official policy of the Adenauer governments were: the provisional character of the division of Germany; the inseparable link between the general conflict that opposed the Western states (BRD included) to the USSR and the particular German-Soviet one, concerning reunification; and, consequently, the compatibility between integration into the Western system and the policy of reunification, which indeed would have drawn strength from that. The erection of the wall completed, in the most traumatic form, the split of the Germany in place for three decades, confirmed the stable insertion of the GDR in the Soviet sphere and clarified, once again, how the solidarity of the Western allies concerned exclusively defense of the de facto status quo and not the plan for reunification. Not opposed by the Western powers, this event ended – after the initial prevalence of an elementary indignation – by eroding the credibility of German Adenauerian politics, making clear the fictions on which the official doctrine rested and highlighting its aporias. According to PETSINCLUDE.COM, the policy of “reunification in freedom” turned out to be reduced to a mere policy of non-recognition of the situation, but unable not only to overcome the division, but even to prevent the deepening of the separation. At the same time, Adenauer had encountered, since 1958-59, increasing difficulties in keeping the USA and Great Britain committed to his traditional line.

Affected in its main basis of legitimacy – foreign policy – on the twofold terrain of reunification policy and relations with the USA, the Adenauerian leadership, already worn down by the contradictory conduct and little respect for the prestige of the institutions on the occasion of the election of the federal president in 1959, she was deeply shaken by the Berlin crisis, which instead revealed the qualities of statesman of W. Brandt (v.), the Social Democratic candidate for the chancellery. In the elections of September 17, 1961, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) in fact lost the absolute majority, while the Liberals (FDP), who had centered the campaign on the slogan: coalition with the CDU, but without Adenauer, achieved a very good success. Adenauer still managed to keep the chancellery, but had to undergo, forming a coalition government with the FDP, two conditions: his replacement during the legislature and the passage of Foreign Affairs from his pupil H. Brentano to Germany Schröder, advocate of a line more dynamic, more elastic and decidedly Anglophile and Atlanticist. The authority of the old chancellor was further weakened by the Spiegelaffäre, following the proceedings of Minister Strauss (v.) Against the weekly and which ended with the resignation of Strauss and a reshuffle.

Under the Kennedy presidency – whose policy Adenauer distrusted – German-American relations rapidly deteriorated, until the confrontation over the SUA proposals (April 12, 1962) relating to Berlin, concluded with the replacement of Ambassador Grewe in Washington. The fulcrum of Adenauer’s last phase foreign policy thus became the special alliance with de Gaulle’s France, the most firm ally in the Berlin crisis. The intimate understanding, reached since 1958 with President de Gaulle, now became the basis of an alternative diplomatic strategy, crowned by the Franco-German pact of January 22, 1963, which also established a special intergovernmental consultation mechanism. The Ratlantists “unanimously. This contrast between “atlantists” (led by Foreign Minister Schröder and including FDP, the Social Democratic Party, SPD, and part of the CDU) and “Gaullists” (CSU, part of the CDU) persisted in all its gravity even after the advent in the chancellery (October 1963) of the “atlantist” L. Erhard. The Atlanticism of Erhard and Schröder was concretized in the support for every project aimed at strengthening NATO and promoting the Atlantic partnership of Grand Design Kennedy, starting with the multilateral atomic force and the British candidacy for the EEC. The same line, with the foreign minister supported by the opposition, as well as by the liberals, against a part of the majority, was found in German and Eastern politics. With the new “movement policy”, launched with the establishment of trade missions in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria (1963-4), Schröder aimed at the normalization of relations with the states of Central and Eastern Europe, favoring their autonomy and trying to isolate the GDR, in the perspective of a gradual overcoming of the status quo. In the same context of modernization of the reunification policy (the first component of which, the formal diplomatic relaunch in October 1963, had not followed up), the Minister for German Affairs and Vice-Chancellor Mende (FDP) initiated a policy of enlargement and intensification inter-German relations; while E. Bahr, a close collaborator of Brandt, envisaged “change through rapprochement “, that is, the design of a new long-term reunification policy through the gradual transformation of the GDR, with the consent of the USSR. Substantially confirmed – despite the regression of the FDP – by the 1965 elections, but deeply worn by the internal conflicts of the majority, especially on foreign policy, military and German, and without a sure guide, the Erhard Mende government was overwhelmed by the recession of 1966, which the chancellor – already the father of the “economic miracle” – was unable to dominate. The latest clash between CDU / CSU and FDP, on financial policy, resulted in the liberals leaving the government (October 1966).

West Germany - Federal Republic of Germany 1

About the author