During the interregnum of the Erhard minority government, while on the one hand it was impossible to return to the old formula of “bourgeois” coalition and on the other hand many doubts and mutual distrust persisted regarding a possible social-liberal coalition, proposal, launched for the first time in 1962, of a Great Coalition between CDU / CSU and SPD. Above all, the severe recession which even threatened to undermine the consensus base of the young democracy, which had grown up until that moment under the umbrella of economic reconstruction and exceptional well-being, and which revealed its destabilizing effects in the spectacular affirmation of the new party of far right NPD in the regional elections of the Hesse and Bavaria (November 1966) – advised many people to concentrate the two major political forces in a very large-based cabinet, capable of fully involving both the entrepreneur and the trade union and obtaining the necessary majority for constitutional revisions, required for some upcoming reforms. At the same time, a reorientation of foreign policy would have engaged the two main parties. The reform of the electoral system in a one-round majority sense (which would have eliminated the inconvenient liberals) was also advocated by a large part of the CDU-CSU and the SPD, as well as by many scholars, to establish the bipartisanism considered more functional; the need to block the way for extremist parties provided you with further justification. Finally, the co-optation of the SPD,
The Great Coalition and the subsequent advent of the social-liberal coalition were made possible by the profound transformation of the SPD, sanctioned by the Bad Godesberg program (1959). The new SPD had opened up ideologically, abandoning any reference to Marxism as the sole or preferential foundation; he had given himself a modern reform action program within the Soziale Marktwirtschaft established in 1948; had become an interclass party (Volkspartei), which, without diminishing its grip on the working class and its ties with the union, managed to gather growing support especially in those new middle classes, expanding due to the tertiarization and modernization of the BRD economy.. But above all it had acquitted the sine qua non for becoming a ruling party: after its adhesion to European integration policy (vote for the EEC and EURATOM in 1957), it had accepted in 1960 the fixed points of the German and military foreign policy of the BRD, in in particular NATO (only a possible nuclear weaponry remaining controversial).
Thus it formed the cabinet of the Great Coalition, under the Christian Democrat Chancellor Kiesinger, a former president of the council of Baden-Württemberg, with W. Brandt Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Germany Schröder Defense (the December 1966). The Great Coalition successfully faced the economic crisis, which more than any other factor had determined and justified its birth. By introducing a medium-term planning of public spending in an anti-cyclical function (mifrifi) and a kind of income policy agreed between the government, employers and trade unions (konzertierte Aktion), the Schiller-Strauss duo (Economy and Finance ministers) initiated a rapid recovery, without compromising stability: the gross national product, which fell very slightly in 1967 (−0.2%), already increased in 1968 by 7, 1% and the share of unemployment jumped to 2.1% in 1967, returned in 1969 under that of ‘barrier i %, it was used to the German public since 1961. Even resorting to constitutional changes and creating new institutions, within the framework of a new “cooperative federalism”, the Grand Coalition forged the tools for a modern economic policy of the state, rearranged public finance, linked Bund and Länder, in the Gemeinschaftsaufgaben, in a common effort, in some fields where the Land alone no longer held up: universities, regional and agricultural policy. Instead, for lack of a strong opposition (entrusted only to the FDP, too weak), the Grand Coalition aggravated the credibility crisis of the Bonn democracy: on both wings the NPD was strengthened, obtaining conspicuous successes in the 1967-69 regional elections, and an extra-parliamentary opposition (partly anti-parliamentary) was formed, to which the university and youth protest, widespread in the BRD starting from the University of Berlin, conferred strength, ideology and leadership. The opposition against the legislation on the state of emergency coagulated parliamentary and extra-parliamentary dissent (1968).
According to PROEXCHANGERATES.COM, the continuation of the policy of normalizing relations with the Central-Eastern European states led to the establishment of diplomatic relations with Romania (January 1967) and the resumption of relations with Yugoslavia (1968), but was blocked by the diplomatic counter-offensive that had begun by the GDR since the spring of 1967, which committed the Warsaw Pact states to a kind of Hallstein doctrine in reverse. Nor did the truly innovative initiatives of the Great Coalition in the field of relations with the East, that is the first Ostpolitik, find a better welcome., intended to insert the foreign policy of the BRD in the great movement of the politics of détente, avoiding the growing risk of isolation: renewal of the offer already made by Chancellor Erhard of a declaration of renunciation of the use of force for the USSR and others socialist states; inclusion of the GDR in the standardization policy; eastern borders; partial change in attitude towards the GDR. In 1967-68 the USSR responded with extreme stiffening, making the renunciation of the use of force an instrument for its maximum demands and relaunching the clause of the enemy states of the UN Charter. The worsening of relations with the GDR was similar. The stasis of Ostpolitik it made the fundamental dissent between Christian Democrats and Social Democrats emerge more and more; the former, believing their positions supported by the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, were determined to insist on their traditional policy, while the latter were increasingly convinced of the insufficiency of the government line, in which old and new were mixed, and were willing to accept the post-1945 situation as a starting point for a new foreign policy, especially in the border issues and state character of the GDR. To launch this policy, the SPD also made use of contacts with the Italian Communist Party from 1967 onwards. SPD and CDU-CSU were also divided in the evaluation of the atomic non-proliferation treaty.