The Chancellors of the FRG 1949 - 1990

Everything (I hope) you need to know about the Chancellors of West Germany and their time in power. 

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  • The Chancellors of the FRG:   1963 - 1990
    • Erhard:       1963 to 1966 CDU
      • Background: his rep as an economic expert made him a likely candidate for the administrative posts set up by the Western Allied governments that occupied Germany after 1945.
        • Background: After 1947 Erhard was named to key positions in the council set up jointly by the Brit and US occupation authorities to coordinate economic activities in their zones.
        • Background: Economic Director of Bizone, responsible for merger of the British and American zones in March 1948
      • Background: Social Market Economy
      • Failed to get the US to agree to a reduction in the german contribution to the support of the US troops in West Germany
      • Minister of Economics during Konrad Adenauer’s term in office
        • Adenauer: 1949 to 1963 CDU
          • He was re-elected 3 times (1953, 1957, 1961).
          • 1955 Adenauer declares the end of the “Besatzungszeit” (“occupation period”) and W.G is now a fully sovereign state.
          • 1961: On 13 August the Berlin Wall built. Adenauer is criticised -  doesn't fly to W.B until 9 days later (22 August)
            • still re-elected 1961
              • He was re-elected 3 times (1953, 1957, 1961).
          • CDU only had 31% of vote and SPD had 29.2%. There were 12 parties in the Bundestag. Democratic stability?
            • Solution: ban extremist parties,  introduce 5% rule - party had to get 5% of vote to  get representation
          • Reconstruction of towns and cities destroyed by war, provision of housing for refugees, victims of bombing still living in temp accommodation.
            • solution: April 1950 construction law gives grants to cities to build. 1954: 4 million new homes
          • W.G joined European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951,  North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 1955 , European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957
            • Promoting economic stability within the FRG and betting the economy, opening up FRG's opportunity for trade.
          • Mass appeal - didn't want to alienate Germans
          • Co-determination, trade- unions and factories/employers hard relationships
            • Stopped strikes and allowed economy to flourish without disruption
          • Hallstein doctrine 1955 - the FRG refused to recognise the GDR
          • Der Spiegel affair 1962: conflict between Franz Josef Strauss, federal minister of defense, and Rudolf Augstein, owner and editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel
      • Disputes within the coalition over how to deal with the recession - while the CDU/CSU wanted to raise taxes, the FDP saw spending cuts  saw the way out of the crisis.
      • advocate of a liberal, social economic order. Led to an unbroken period of economic growth in W.G. that lasted around one and a half decades.
    • Adenauer: 1949 to 1963 CDU
      • 1955 Adenauer declares the end of the “Besatzungszeit” (“occupation period”) and W.G is now a fully sovereign state.
      • 1961: On 13 August the Berlin Wall built. Adenauer is criticised -  doesn't fly to W.B until 9 days later (22 August)
        • still re-elected 1961
        • CDU only had 31% of vote and SPD had 29.2%. There were 12 parties in the Bundestag. Democratic stability?
          • Solution: ban extremist parties,  introduce 5% rule - party had to get 5% of vote to  get representation
        • Reconstruction of towns and cities destroyed by war, provision of housing for refugees, victims of bombing still living in temp accommodation.
          • solution: April 1950 construction law gives grants to cities to build. 1954: 4 million new homes
        • W.G joined European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951,  North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 1955 , European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957
          • Promoting economic stability within the FRG and betting the economy, opening up FRG's opportunity for trade.
        • Mass appeal - didn't want to alienate Germans
        • Co-determination, trade- unions and factories/employers hard relationships
          • Stopped strikes and allowed economy to flourish without disruption
        • Hallstein doctrine 1955 - the FRG refused to recognise the GDR
        • Der Spiegel affair 1962: conflict between Franz Josef Strauss, federal minister of defense, and Rudolf Augstein, owner and editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel
      • Keisinger : 1966-1969 CDU
        • Grand coalition: temp alliance between the CDU/CSU and the SPD was formed.
          • Most Germans welcomed coalition BUT some on left felt that with such a large majority there was fear of there being a one party state.
          • Inner tensions  which grew worse in 1969. SPD members felt the CDU/CSU were holding back welfare reforms and disagreement over foreign policy.
            • SPD accused CDU/CSU of being reluctant to pressure detente, detente was about improving relations between the USA and the USSR
              • The CDU/CSU was hostile towards to the USSR, so if the USA bettered their relations with USSR then the USA would lose interest in the FRG  as they wouldn't need the FRG as a 'front line' against communism (the GDR)
                • The FRG initially needed the US for Marshall Aid but later for military and to act as a shared symbol of capitalism
        • May 1968 Constitutional Amendment - permit an elected Cttee to take emergency measures in the event of civil unrest or War. Formally only occupying powers had this ability.
          • Caused concerns about future of parliamentary democracy. SPD students Federation set up the APO 'Emergency of Democracy' - campaigned against amendment - fear it might become another article 48.
            • Article 48 gave President the power to use emergency powers without sign of of Riechstag. (Weimar Germany)
        • opposition - NPD started to gain support (extreme right wing). 1967 gained 48 seats in 6 different Lander elections. 1968 gained 12 seats in keisinger's own lander election.
        • Let DKP (communist party) form. Thought it would be safer for it to be official and in the open as opposed to an underground network.
        • Unemployment was down, industrial growth rose to 6% and inflation fell to 1.5%
          • Public spending was drastically cut, taxation was raised VAT increased from 10% to 12%
        • Student protests over the emergency laws and growing Anti-American revulsion as the Vietnam war took its toll.
          • Heavy handed tactics used by govt against students, Keisinger condemned them as 'a shameful crowd of long-haired drop-outs'.
        • Economy was doing well in 1964 but the bubble burst in 1965.
          • Economic growth remained good, production up to 8%, wages up 8.5% and the rise in cost of living only 2.5%.
          • no unemployment, 850,00 unfilled jobs
          • Economic recession hit in 1965, came as shock to German people.
            • Primarily caused by exessive public spending, led to govts expenditure outstripping its income
      • Brandt: 1969 - 1974 SPD
        • Ostpolitik - improving relations between the FRG and Eastern Europe, particularly the GDR beginning in 1969.
          • Allowed the first family reunions with those in the GDR and amnesties for political prisoners who were allowed to come to the FRG.
          • 1972: SPD won biggest victory in history - 45.8%
        • Wave of terrorism - Baader-Meinhof gang emerged - were against capitalism
          • Strongest measures used, increased surveillance of foreigners, opening mail, tapping phones
        • W.G authorities discovered that Gunter Guillaume had been passing info on crucial policy matters to East Berlin - put Brandt in bad light.
        • Range of welfare, educational, employment and liberalisation measures introduced.
          • Pensions raised by 5%, voting age lowered to 18, sickness benefits went up by 9.5% and grants made available to students from poorer families
        • 1972: SPD won biggest victory in history - 45.8%
        • Oil Crisis 1973. OPEC doubled prices of crude oil. FRG faced paying 17 billion DM for its imports
          • Unemployment hit 400,000  and a temp ban on Sunday driving was introduced
          • Unions continued to demand large wage increases: Union of Public Employees went on strike and forced Lander to offer an 11% pay increase
        • Brandt fell ill in 1973, Schmidt took over temporarily. Brandt lost his grip on the Coalition and rising inflation continued to plague govt
          • Oil Crisis 1973. OPEC doubled prices of crude oil. FRG faced paying 17 billion DM for its imports
            • Unemployment hit 400,000  and a temp ban on Sunday driving was introduced
            • Unions continued to demand large wage increases: Union of Public Employees went on strike and forced Lander to offer an 11% pay increase
          • Schmidt reacted by creating more jobs and stimulating investment. Tax reductions and increased child allowances. Rate of inflation was kept at 6% and economic growth rate reached 4%.
            • Progress didn't last: 1975- unemployment reached 1 million and the GRP fell to 1.6%.
      • Schmidt 1974-1982 SPD
        • Had gained experience as Minister of Economics 1972-1974. Gained a rep for tough action and decisiveness,contrasted strongly with Brandt's more reflective style.
        • Conservative,little sympathy for left wing of his party or 'green' and pacifist issues - complimented by the new conservative leader of the FDP (Hans -Dietrich Genscher).
        • The Mogadishu incident 1977: showed his nerve, refused to give into terrorists and the Red Army Faction (RAF). Managed to save all of the hostages on the plane.
        • By 1982 SPD fortunes in decline. CDU/CSU had reunited after its splits over Ostpolitik under Kohl.
          • Genscher pulled FDP out of coalition with SPD and formed new one with Kohl. (abandoned a sinking ship)
        • Inflation was controlled at 4.7% (compared to  average of 11.9% in Western Europe) and unemployment never rose above 8%. More holidays given and working hours declined.
          • Standard of living for most Germans steadily increased.
        • 1978 Proposed a European Monetary System (EMS) that would fix European exchange rates. Deutschmarkreplaced the dollar as the currency of reference
      • Kohl 1982 - 1990 (was Chancellor of unified Germany until 1998) CDU
        • Jan 1987 - CDU/CSU vote declined to its lowest point since 1949 - 44.3%
        • Although unemployment was still over 2.2 million the fall of oil prices in 1985 helped the economy recover - exports recovered and inflation fell from 6.2% in 1981 to 0.6% in 1986.
        • The Social Market Economy was restored and the high spending policies of previous governments were abandoned.
        • Kohl arranged a ceremony of reconciliation to mark the 40th anniversary of the ending of WW2 at a cemetery - emerged  that SS troops buried there. Kohl continued regardless.
        • Discovered that industry had been making secret and illegal donations to the coalition parties, FDP finance minister forced to resign because he had exempted the Flick Corporation from tax payments in return for FDP contributions.
        • Brought in tax cuts phased over 7 year period and kept annual budget increases down to a max of 3%. Continued to subsidies farming, coal, steel and the aerospace, industry and was obliged to keep a high level of spending on welfare.
        • Played a major part in the reunification of Germany, headed reunifying the  CDU/CSU over Ostpolitik.

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