1972 West German federal election
Federal elections were held in West Germany on 19 November 1972 to elect the members of the 7th Bundestag. In the first snap elections since 1949, the Social Democratic Party for the first time in the history of the second German republic became the largest party in the Bundestag, winning 242 of the 518 seats; the coalition with the Free Democratic Party was resumed. The Social-liberal coalition of SPD and FDP had lost its majority after several Bundestag MPs had left their party and become members of the CDU/CSU opposition to protest against Chancellor Willy Brandt's Neue Ostpolitik against the de facto recognition of the Oder-Neisse line by the 1970 Treaty of Warsaw. On 27 April 1972 the opposition had tried to have CDU leader Rainer Barzel elected new chancellor in a motion of no confidence, but Barzel missed the majority in the Bundestag by two votes. Rumours that at least one member of CDU/CSU faction had been paid by the East German Stasi intelligence service were confirmed by Markus Wolf, former head of the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung, in 1997.
The following budget debates revealed that the government's majority was lost and only the upcoming organisation of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich delayed the arrangement of new elections. On 22 September 1972 Chancellor Brandt deliberately lost a vote of confidence, allowing President Gustav Heinemann to dissolve the Bundestag the next day. In the tense campaign, the CDU/CSU attacked Brandt as being too lenient towards Eastern Europe and having the wrong ideas on the economy. SPD and FDP profited from the enormous personal popularity of the chancellor, laureate of the 1971 Nobel Peace Prize, he gained the support by numerous celebrities of the West German culture and media scene, expressed by the slogan Willy wählen!. Voter turnout was 91.1%, the highest since 1949. In 1970 the voting age had been lowered from 21 to 18. ^† — includes the non-voting delegates for West Berlin. The SPD celebrated their best result representing the largest faction in the German parliament for the first time since the 1930 Reichstag elections.
It enabled the party to nominate Annemarie Renger for President of the Bundestag, she was the first Social Democrat and the first woman to hold this office. On 14 December 1972 the Bundestag MPs of the social-liberal coalition re-elected Willy Brandt chancellor, his Cabinet Brandt II returned to government the next day, again with FDP chairman Walter Scheel as vice-chancellor and foreign minister. Defeated Rainer Barzel resigned as CDU chairman on 9 May 1973, he was succeeded by Helmut Kohl. On 7 May 1974, Brandt would resign in the course of the Guillaume Affair, after one of his personal aides had been unmasked as a Stasi agent; the coalition continued under his party fellow Helmut Schmidt, while Brandt remained SPD chairman until 1987. Baker, Kendall L.. "Candidates on Television: The 1972 Electoral Debates in West Germany". Public Opinion Quarterly. 45: 329–345. Doi:10.1086/268668. JSTOR 2748609; the Federal Returning Officer Psephos
1877 German federal election
Federal elections were held in Germany on 10 January 1877. The National Liberal Party remained the largest party in the Reichstag, with 128 of the 397 seats. Voter turnout was 61.6%. A Figures for votes are rounded to the nearest 100
1980 West German federal election
Federal elections were held in West Germany on 5 October 1980 to elect the members of the ninth Bundestag. Although the CDU/CSU remained the largest faction in parliament, Helmut Schmidt of the Social Democratic Party remained Chancellor. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the SPD-FDP coalition wanted to be re-elected. CDU/CSU tried to make their candidate the elected Chancellor, CSU leader Franz Josef Strauß, it was the first time that their candidate was from the CSU. Strauß, immensely popular in Bavaria, found it difficult to appeal to people in other parts of Germany. One important reason for Strauss's unpopularity compared to Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, was his tendency to talk and militantly about his political opponents. Schmidt, by contrast, was still seen by many West German voters as a moderate and practical manager and doer, who focused on getting concrete political and economic results more than on political rhetoric. ^† — includes the non-voting delegates for West Berlin. The coalition between the SPD and the FDP returned with Helmut Schmidt as Chancellor.
In 1982, the FDP quit the government, which led to the government's collapse and replacement with a new CDU/CSU – FDP coalition under Helmut Kohl. The Federal Returning Officer Psephos
Christian Democratic Union of Germany
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian-democratic, liberal-conservative political party in Germany. It is the major catch-all party of the centre-right in German politics; the CDU forms the CDU/CSU grouping known as the Union, in the Bundestag with its Bavarian counterpart the Christian Social Union in Bavaria. The party is considered an effective successor of the Centre Party, although it has a broader base; the leader of the CDU is Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. She is the successor of the former party leader Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor of Germany; the CDU is a member of the Centrist Democrat International, International Democrat Union and European People's Party. Following the collapse of the Nazi dictatorship at the end of World War II, the need for a new political order in Germany was paramount. Simultaneous yet unrelated meetings began occurring throughout Germany, each with the intention of planning a Christian-democratic party; the CDU was established in Berlin on 26 June 1945 and in Rheinland and Westfalen in September of the same year.
The founding members of the CDU consisted of former members of the Centre Party, the German Democratic Party, the German National People's Party and the German People's Party. Many of these individuals, including CDU-Berlin founder Andreas Hermes, were imprisoned for the involvement in the German Resistance during the Nazi dictatorship. In the Cold War years after World War II up to the 1960s, the CDU attracted conservative, anti-communist former Nazis and Nazi collaborators into its higher ranks. A prominent anti-Nazi member was theologian Eugen Gerstenmaier, who became Acting Chairman of the Foreign Board. One of the lessons learned from the failure of the Weimar Republic was that disunity among the democratic parties allowed for the rise of the Nazi Party, it was therefore crucial to create a unified party of Christian democrats—a Christian Democratic Union. The result of these meetings was the establishment of an interconfessional party influenced by the political tradition of liberal conservatism.
The CDU experienced considerable success gaining support from the time of its creation in Berlin on 26 June 1945 until its first convention on 21 October 1950, at which Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was named the first Chairman of the party. In the beginning, it was not clear which party would be favored by the victors of World War II, but by the end of the 1940s the governments of the United States and of Britain began to lean toward the CDU and away from the Social Democratic Party of Germany; the latter was more nationalist and sought German reunification at the expense of concessions to the Soviet Union, depicting Adenauer as an instrument of both the Americans and the Vatican. The Western powers appreciated the CDU's moderation, its economic flexibility and its value as an oppositional force to the communists which appealed to European voters at the time. Adenauer was trusted by the British; the party was split over issues of rearmament within the Western alliance and German unification as a neutral state.
Adenauer staunchly outmanoeuvred some of his opponents. He refused to consider the SPD as a party of the coalition until he felt sure that they shared his anti-communist position; the principled rejection of a reunification that would alienate Germany from the Western alliance made it harder to attract Protestant voters to the party as most refugees from the former German territories east of the Oder were of that faith as were the majority of the inhabitants of East Germany. The CDU was the dominant party for the first two decades following the establishment of West Germany in 1949. Adenauer remained the party's leader until 1963, at which point the former minister of economics Ludwig Erhard replaced him; as the Free Democratic Party withdrew from the governing coalition in 1966 due to disagreements over fiscal and economic policy, Erhard was forced to resign. A grand coalition with the SPD took over government under CDU Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger; the SPD gained popularity and succeeded in forming a social-liberal coalition with the FDP following the 1969 federal election, forcing the CDU out of power for the first time in their history.
The CDU continued its role as opposition until 1982, when the FDP's withdrawal from the coalition with the SPD allowed the CDU to regain power. CDU Chairman Helmut Kohl became the new Chancellor of West Germany and his CDU–FDP coalition was confirmed in the 1983 federal election. Public support for the coalition's work in the process of German reunification was reiterated in the 1990 federal election in which the CDU–FDP governing coalition experienced a clear victory. After the collapse of the East German government in 1989, Kohl—supported by the governments of the United States and reluctantly by those of France and the United Kingdom—called for German reunification. On 3 October 1990, the government of East Germany was abolished and its territory acceded to the scope of the Basic Law in place in West Germany; the East German CDU merged with its West German counterpart and elections were held for the reunified country. Although Kohl was re-elected, the party began losing much of its popularity because of an economic recession in the former GDR and increased taxes in the west.
The CDU was nonetheless able to win the 1994 federal election by a narrow margin due to an economic recovery. Kohl served as chairman until the party's electoral defeat in 1998, when he was su
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party is a liberal and classical liberal political party in Germany. The FDP is led by Christian Lindner; the FDP was founded in 1948 by members of former liberal political parties which existed in Germany before World War II, namely the German Democratic Party and the German People's Party. For most of the German Federal Republic's history, it has held the balance of power in the Bundestag, it was the Social Democratic Party of Germany. In the 2013 federal election, the FDP failed to win any directly elected seats in the Bundestag and came up short of the 5 percent threshold to qualify for list representation, being left without representation in the Bundestag for the first time in its history. In the 2017 federal election, the FDP regained its representation in the Bundestag, receiving 10.6% of the vote. The FDP supports human rights, civil liberties and internationalism; the party is traditionally considered centre-right. Since the 1980s, the party has pushed economic liberalism and has aligned itself to the promotion of free markets and privatization.
It is the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Soon after World War II, the Soviet Union forced the creation of political parties. In July 1945 William Kulice and Eugen Schiffer called for the establishment of a pan-German Party, whose constitution the Allies hesitantly approved only in the Soviet occupation zone as the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany. In September 1945, citizens in Hamburg established the Party of Free Democrats as a bourgeois Left Party and the first Liberal Party in the Western zones. In the first state elections in Hamburg in October 1946 the party won 18.2 percent of the vote. The FDP secured between 7.8 and 29.9 percent of the 1946 vote in Greater Berlin and Saxony, the only states in Soviet-occupied territories that held free parliamentary elections. However, it had to support the policies of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and join the National Front of the GDR as a "bloc party". Following the FDP's success, liberal parties were founded across the states.
The FDP won Hesse's 1950 state election with 31.8 percent, the best result in its history, through appealing to East Germans displaced by the war by including them on their ticket. The Democratic Party of Germany was established in Rothenburg ob der Tauber on 17 March 1947 as a pan-German Party, its leaders were Theodor Heuss and Wilhelm Külz. However, the project failed as a result of disputes over Külz's political direction; the Free Democratic Party was established on 11–12 December 1948 in Heppenheim, in Hesse, as an association of all 13 regional liberal party organizations in the three Western zones of occupation. The proposed name, Liberal Democratic Party, was rejected by the delegates, who voted 64 to 25 in favour of the name Free Democratic Party; the party's first chairman was Theodor Heuss. The place for the party's foundation was chosen deliberately: it was at the Heppenheim Assembly that the moderate liberals had met in October 1847 before the March Revolution; some regard the "Heppenheim Assembly", held at the Halber Mond Hotel on 10 October 1847, as a meeting of leading liberals, the beginning of the German Revolution of 1848-49.
Up to the 1950s, several of the FDP's regional organizations were to the right of the CDU/CSU, which had ideas of some sort of Christian socialism, former office-holders of the Third Reich were courted with national, patriotic values. The FDP was founded on 11 December 1948 through the merger of nine regional liberal parties formed in 1945 from the remnants of the pre-1933 German People's Party and the German Democratic Party, active in the Weimar Republic; the FDP's first Chairman, Theodor Heuss, was a member of the DDP and after the war of the Democratic People's Party. In the first elections to the Bundestag on 14 August 1949, the FDP won a vote share of 11.9 percent, thus obtained 52 of 402 seats. In September of the same year the FDP chairman Theodor Heuss was elected the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany. In his 1954 re-election, he received the best election result to date of a President with 871 of 1018 votes of the Federal Assembly. Adenauer was elected on the proposal of the new German President with an narrow majority as the first Chancellor.
The FDP participated with the CDU/CSU and the DP in Adenauer's coalition cabinet: they had three ministers: Franz Blücher, Thomas Dehler and Eberhard Wildermuth. On the most important economic and German national issues, the FDP agreed with their coalition partners, the CDU/CSU. However, the FDP recommended to the bourgeois voters a secular party that refused the religious schools and accused the opposition parties of clericalization; the FDP said they were known as a consistent representative of the market economy, while the CDU was dominated nominally from the Ahlen Programme, which allowed a Third Way between capitalism and socialism. Ludwig Erhard, the "father" of the social market economy, had his followers in the early years of the Federal Republic in the Union rather than in the FDP; the FDP voted in parliament at the end of 1950 against the CDU- and SPD- introduced de-nazification process. At their party conference in Munich in 1951 they demanded the release of all "so-called war criminals" and welcomed the establishment of the "Association of German soldiers" of former Wehrmacht
The Guillaume affair was an espionage scandal in Germany during the Cold War. The scandal revolved around the exposure of an East German spy within the West German government and had far-reaching political repercussions in Germany, the most prominent being the resignation of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in 1974. Around 1973, West German security organizations received information that one of Brandt's personal assistants, Günter Guillaume, was a spy for the East German state. Brandt was asked to continue work as usual, he agreed taking a private vacation with Guillaume. Guillaume was arrested on April 24, 1974. Guillaume had indeed been a spy for East Germany, supervised by Markus Wolf, head of the Main Intelligence Administration of the East German Ministry for State Security. Brandt resigned as Chancellor on May 6, 1974. According to Vasili Mitrokhin, when the KGB found out about Guillaume, they ordered Wolf to pull him out because Brandt had been a good friend to the Soviet Union and they wanted him to stay in power.
Brandt was succeeded as Chancellor by fellow Social Democrat Helmut Schmidt, who unlike Brandt belonged to the right wing of his party. For the rest of his life, Brandt remained suspicious that his fellow Social Democrat and longtime rival Herbert Wehner had been scheming for his downfall, but evidence for this seems scant. Aside from internecine intrigue within the Social Democrats, the finger of blame for Brandt's fall was pointed at the East German leadership; some speculated that the East German regime under Erich Honecker had intentionally used Guillaume to engineer Brandt's downfall. Brandt's policy of Ostpolitik had made him a hero and symbol of hope for national and family reunification in the East. Therefore, from Honecker's view, Brandt's popularity in East Germany represented a threat to the regime. In his memoirs, Brandt noted Honecker's denial of complicity in his downfall, adding "whatever one may think of that." However Stasi-head Markus Wolf stated after German reunification that the resignation of Brandt had never been intended, that the affair had been one of the biggest mistakes of the East German secret service.
The affair is in any case considered to have been a trigger for Brandt's resignation, not a fundamental cause. Instead, dogged by scandal relating to serial adultery, struggling with alcohol and depression as well as the economic fallout of the 1973 oil crisis seems to have had enough; as Brandt himself said, "I was exhausted, for reasons which had nothing to do with the process going on at the time." Guillaume was released and sent to East Germany in 1981 in exchange for Western intelligence agents caught by the Eastern Bloc. Back in East Germany, Guillaume was celebrated as a hero, worked in the training of spies, published his autobiography Die Aussage in 1988; the story of Brandt and Guillaume is told in the play Democracy by Michael Frayn. The play follows Brandt's career from his election to Guillaume's imprisonment, it examines Guillaume's dual identity as trusted personal assistant to the West German chancellor and Stasi spy and examines his conflict as his duty to West Germany's enemies clashes with his genuine love and admiration for the chancellor.
In 2003, Willy Brandt's son, Matthias Brandt, took the part of Guillaume in the film Im Schatten der Macht by German filmmaker Oliver Storz. The film deals with the Guillaume Brandt's resignation. Matthias Brandt caused a minor controversy in Germany when it was publicized that he would take the part of the man who betrayed his father and made him resign in 1974. Earlier that year - when the Brandts and the Guillaumes took a vacation to Norway together - it was Matthias twelve years old, the first to discover that Guillaume and his wife'were typing mysterious things on typewriters the whole night through'
Franz Josef Strauss
Franz Josef Strauss was a German politician. He was the long-time chairman of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria from 1961 until 1988, member of the federal cabinet in different positions between 1953 and 1969 and minister-president of the state of Bavaria from 1978 until 1988. Strauss is credited as a co-founder of European aerospace conglomerate Airbus. After the 1969 federal elections, West Germany's CDU/CSU alliance found itself out of power for the first time since the founding of the Federal Republic. At this time, Strauss became more identified with the regional politics of Bavaria. While he ran for the chancellorship as the candidate of the CDU/CSU in 1980, for the rest of his life Strauss never again held federal office. From 1978 until his death in 1988, he was the head of the Bavarian government, his last two decades were marked by a fierce rivalry with CDU chairman Helmut Kohl. Born in Munich on 6 September 1915, as the second child of a butcher, Strauss studied German letters and economics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich from 1935 to 1939.
In World War II, he served in the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Fronts. While on furlough, he passed the German state exams to become a teacher. After suffering from severe frostbite on the Eastern Front in early 1943, he served as an Offizier für wehrgeistige Führung, responsible for the education of the troops, at the antiaircraft artillery school in Altenstadt Air Base, near Schongau. During Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, he served with the Panzer Regiment of the 13th Panzer Division, he held the rank of Oberleutnant at the end of the war. In 1945 he served as translator for the US army, he called himself Franz Strauß until soon after the war when he started using his middle name Josef as well. After the war, in 1945, he was appointed deputy Landrat of Schongau by the American military government and was involved in founding the local party organization of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria. Strauss became a member of the first Bundestag in 1949. In 1953 Strauss became Federal Minister for Special Affairs in the second cabinet of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, in 1955 Federal Minister of Nuclear Energy, in 1956 Defence Minister, charged with the build-up of the new West German defence forces, the Bundeswehr – the youngest man to hold this office at the time.
He became chairman of the CSU in 1961. Former Lockheed lobbyist Ernest Hauser admitted to investigators during a U. S. Senate hearing that Minister of Defence Strauss and his party had received at least $10 million in remuneration for arranging West Germany's purchase of 900 F-104G Starfighters in 1961, which became part of the Lockheed bribery scandals; the party, its leaders and Strauss all denied the allegations, Strauss filed a slander suit against Hauser. Strauss and Hauser had met after World War II in Schongau, where Hauser was stationed. Hauser worked for U. S. Intelligence and Strauss was Hauser's translator, they were good friends, which Strauss denied, in a denial belied by the fact that Strauss had attended Hauser's wedding. As the allegations were not corroborated, the issue was dropped, it was known at the time that a Senate hearing in the U. S. revealed that Lockheed associates paid Strauss a bribe to purchase the planes, due to Boeing suing Lockheed over the lost German business. In a Senate hearing in the U.
S. it was admitted by Lockheed associates. In spite of this fact, Strauss was never indicted in Germany due to his influence. Lockheed at that time was on the brink of collapse; the Starfighter's development had been expensive. S. Air Force refused to purchase the plane due to its unnecessary features; the German contract proved to be a windfall for Lockheed. After Germany ordered the fighter planes from Lockheed, many more European governments started to place their trust in the Starfighter and ordered more planes, saving Lockheed from financial ruin. Strauss was forced to step down as defence minister in 1962 in the wake of the Spiegel affair. Rudolf Augstein and editor-in-chief of the influential Der Spiegel magazine, published German defense information that Strauss's department alleged was top secret, he was held for 103 days. On 19 November, the five FDP ministers of the cabinet resigned; this put Chancellor Adenauer himself at risk. He found himself publicly accused of backing the suppression of a critical press with the resources of the state.
Strauss had no choice but to admit that he had lied to the parliament, was forced to resign. Strauss himself was exonerated by the courts on the charge of acting against the constitution. Strauss was appointed minister of the treasury again in 1966, in the cabinet of Kurt Georg Kiesinger. In cooperation with the SPD minister for economy, Karl Schiller, he developed a groundbreaking economic stability policy. After the SPD was able to form a government without the conservatives, in 1969, Strauss became one of the most vocal critics of Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik. After Helmut Kohl's first run for chancellor in 1976 failed, Strauss cancelled the alliance between the CDU and CSU parties in the Bundestag, a decision which he only reversed months when the CDU threatened to extend their party to Bavaria. In the 1980 federal election, the CDU/CSU opted to nominate Strauss as their ca