The German Policy of the Federal Republic

The German Policy of the Federal Republic

The policy of Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1949–63) was aimed at integrating the Federal Republic of Germany firmly into the West. The enforcement of ties to the West was only able to win a majority domestically because Adenauerpromoted this as a prerequisite for German reunification. Integration into the West was seen as a condition of a “policy of strength” which the cohesive forces of the communist Eastern bloc could not withstand (“magnetic theory”). There were, however, great differences between the official policy of ties to the West and the attitude of the population towards German unity. In the 1950s, Germans still largely thought in terms of the categories of the defunct German Reich. For the majority of the population, German unity still included the eastern territories lost in 1945. After the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the position that ties to the West would promote reunification could no longer be upheld. Rather, the world political facts spoke in favor of isolating the two political integration zones;

Since the building of the Wall, a new Ostpolitik has been developed in the vicinity of the Governing Mayor of Berlin Willy Brandt. This corresponded to the conviction that overcoming the division was only possible in cooperation with the Soviet Union and with recognition of the status quo (“Change through rapprochement”, Egon Bahr). With the pass agreement (December 17, 1963), a policy began that no longer adhered to state, but instead to national unity. In return, it gradually accepted the German dual statehood.

With the entry of the SPD into the federal government in 1966, a new phase in Ostpolitik began. The social-liberal coalition under Brandt (SPD) and Walter Scheel (FDP) designed a contract policy and embedded it in an overarching concept of détente policy. The federal government was ready to recognize the inner-German border if it became more permeable and “human relief” preserved the unity of the Germans. The German policy was thus placed on a new basis: “Even if two states exist in Germany, they are not foreign to one another; their relationships to one another can only be of a special kind «(Brandt).

Between 1970 and 1973 the Eastern Treaties with the Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia, the Four Power Agreement on Berlin (Berlin Agreement) and the Basic Treaty with the GDR were concluded. These treaties proclaimed a renunciation of force and recognized the borders drawn in 1945 and thus the status quo since the end of the Second World War. “Permanent representations” were set up in Berlin (East) and Bonn, but they did not constitute recognition under international law. The principle of equal rights for both German states applied. The Brandt government’s eastern and German policy was fiercely fought by the opposition in the German Bundestag. The emotionally charged Bundestag elections of November 1972 turned into a plebiscite: the SPD became the strongest party for the first time in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, a country that belongs to European Union according to Itypetravel. The “new Ostpolitik” created the prerequisites for the negotiations at the Conference on Security and Cooperation (CSCE).

The government of the CDU / CSU and FDP under Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (since October 1982) continued the Eastern and German policy of the previous social-liberal government. Under the conditions of the NATO double decision and an intensified East-West conflict at the beginning of the 1980s, stability and peacekeeping moved into the political center. Stability and German unity formed a contradicting whole: the politically upheld claim to state reunification stood alongside the systemic stabilization of the GDR through West German loans.

The 1980s were the heyday of intra-German relations. This included improvements in travel, opportunities to visit close to the border, town twinning and sporting encounters as well as the expansion of cultural relations on the basis of the German-German cultural agreement of May 6, 1986. The visit of the GDR’s head of state and party, Erich Honecker in Bonn from September 7th to 11th, 1987 signaled a pragmatic balance of interests between opposing political systems and forms of legitimation. For “human relief” in domestic German relations, inter alia. the practice of the ransom of prisoners by the Federal Republic. Relations at government level served the interests of détente and stability. Contacts with the opposition or civil rights groups persecuted in the GDR were not included in this concept. Against the background of the Soviet reform policy since the mid-1980s under the leadership of the General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev and his de facto departure from the Brezhnev doctrine The limited sovereignty of the socialist “brother states” expanded the scope for action.

The German Policy of the Federal Republic