• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
  • THE STRESEMANN ERA, 19231929
  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
  • PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS
  • RELIGION AND THE CHURCHES
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • W
  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
  • INVASION OF RUSSIA
  • HITLERS PLANS FOR EUROPE
  • TURNING OF THE TIDE,
  • THE HOME FRONT
  • THE RESISTANCE
  • PHILIP MELANCHTHON
  • D-DAY TO DEFEAT NAZI GERMANY
  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
  • DENAZIFICATION
  • POLITICAL PARTIES AND TRADE
  • LOCAL STATE FORMATION
  • PARLIAMENTARY COUNCIL AND THE
  • ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION
  • T
  • ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM
  • BUNDESTAG ELECTION AND
  • REGAINING SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRATION
  • RECONSTRUCTION AND THE ECONOMIC
  • TRANSITIONAL YEARS AND
  • THE GRAND COALITION AND YOUTH
  • THE SOCIAL-LIBERAL COALITION
  • OSTPOLITIK (FOREIGN POLICY
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • SCHMIDT ERA: SOCIAL UNREST,
  • PRINTING AND MEDICINE
  • THE KOHL ERA, 19821998
  • T
  • UPRISING OF JUNE 17, 1953
  • ECONOMIC SYSTEM
  • SOCIETY, EDUCATION, AND
  • RELATIONS WITH THE FEDERAL
  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
  • UNIFICATION POLITICS AND ITS
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
  • Abwehr
  • Adenauer, Konrad
  • Afrika Korps
  • Agadir Incident
  • Agrarian League
  • NEED FOR CHURCH REFORM
  • Agricola, Rudolf
  • Air Force
  • Albert (Albrecht) of
  • Albert V
  • Algeciras, Conference of
  • Allied Control Council
  • Alsace-Lorraine
  • Altdorfer, Albrecht
  • Amiens, Battle of
  • Anabaptists
  • P
  • Anglo-German Naval Treaty
  • Anschluss
  • Anti-Comintern Pact
  • anti-Semitism/Jew hatred
  • anti-Semitism
  • Anti-Socialist Law
  • Ardennes, Battle of the
  • Arendt, Hannah
  • Armed Forces (Wehrmacht)
  • Armed Forces (Bundeswehr):
  • LUTHER AND MELANCHTHON
  • Army (Prussian to 1860)
  • Army (Second Empire,
  • Asylum Law
  • Atlantic, Battle of the
  • Auerstadt, Battle of
  • Augsburg, Diet of
  • Augsburg, Religious Peace of
  • Augsburg, War of the League
  • Augsburg Confession
  • Augspurg, Anita
  • LUTHER AND ZWINGLI
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau
  • Austerlitz, Battle of
  • Austria
  • Austrian Succession, War of
  • autarchy
  • autobahns
  • Axis, The
  • B
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Ballin, Albert
  • CAROLINGIAN EMPIRE
  • KNIGHTS REVOLT AND GREAT
  • Barbie, Klaus
  • Barmen Declaration
  • Barth, Karl
  • Basic Treaty
  • Bauernschutz
  • Bauhaus
  • Baumer, Gertrud
  • Bavaria
  • Bavarian Peoples Party (BVP)
  • Bavarian Succession, War of
  • REFORMATION AND THE TOWNS
  • Bayer AG
  • Bayreuth
  • Bebel, August
  • Beck, Ludwig August Theodor
  • Beckmann, Max
  • Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van
  • Benjamin, Walter
  • Benn, Gottfried
  • Bennigsen, Rudolf von
  • ANABAPTISM AND MÜNTZER
  • Benz, Carl Friedrich
  • Bergen-Belsen
  • Berghof
  • Berlin
  • Berlin, Battle for (Fall of)
  • Berlin, Congress of
  • Berlin-Baghdad Railway
  • Berlin Blockade
  • Berlin Conference
  • Berlin Wall
  • CALVINISM IN GERMANY
  • Bernstein, Eduard
  • Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald
  • Biedermeier
  • Biermann, Wolf
  • Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold
  • blank check
  • Bleichröder, Gerson von
  • Blenheim, Battle of
  • Blomberg, Werner von
  • Blücher, Gebhard
  • CHARLES V AND THE REFORMATION
  • Böll, Heinrich
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich
  • Bonn
  • Bormann, Martin
  • Born, Max
  • Borsig, August
  • Bosch, Robert
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brahms, Johannes
  • Brandenburg
  • C
  • Brauchitsch, Walther von
  • Braun, Eva
  • Braun, Karl Ferdinand
  • Braun, Otto
  • Braun, Wernher von
  • Brecht, Bertolt
  • Bremen/Bremerhaven
  • Brentano, Elizabeth Bettina
  • Breslau
  • The Bridge
  • THE THIRTY YEARS WAR
  • Britain, Battle of
  • Brüning, Heinrich
  • Buchenwald
  • Bülow, Bernhard von
  • Bundesrat
  • Bundestag
  • Burschenschaft
  • C
  • Canisius, Peter
  • canton system
  • A
  • Carlsbad Decrees
  • Celtis, Conrad
  • Center Party
  • Chamberlain, Houston Stewart
  • Charles V
  • Charles VI
  • Charles VII
  • Charlottenburg, Palace of
  • Christian Democratic Union
  • Christian Social Union
  • LITERATURE
  • Civil Code, German (Revised
  • Clausewitz, Carl von
  • Concordat of 1933
  • Condor Legion
  • The Confederation of the Rhine was a
  • Confessing Church
  • Congress of Vienna
  • conservatism
  • constitutional traditions
  • Counter-Reformation
  • MUSIC
  • Cranach, Lucas, the Elder
  • cultured elites
  • D
  • Daimler, Gottlieb
  • Danish War
  • Danzig
  • Dawes Plan
  • D-Banks
  • D-Day
  • Degenerate Art
  • SAXON AND SALIAN DYNASTIES,
  • SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
  • denazification
  • Denck, Hans
  • Depression, The Great
  • Depressions
  • détente
  • Diesel, Rudolf
  • Dietrich, Josef Sepp
  • Diplomatic Revolution of 1756
  • Dix, Otto
  • Döblin, Alfred
  • GOTTFRIED WILHELM VON LEIBNIZ
  • Dönitz, Karl
  • Dresden
  • Droste-Hülshoff, Annette
  • Dual Alliance
  • Dürer, Albrecht
  • Düsseldorf
  • E
  • Edict of Toleration
  • Ehrlich, Paul
  • Eichendorff, Joseph von
  • PIETISM
  • Eichmann, Adolf
  • Eicke, Theodor
  • Einsatzgruppen
  • Einstein, Albert
  • Eisner, Kurt
  • El Alamein, Battles of
  • Elbe River
  • Ems Telegram
  • Enabling Act
  • Engels, Friedrich
  • ROCOCO
  • ENIGMA/ULTRA
  • Enlightenment
  • Erasmus, Desiderius
  • Erfurt Program
  • Erhard, Ludwig
  • Ernst, Max
  • Erzberger, Matthias
  • Eugene, prince of Savoy
  • European Coal and Steel
  • European Defense Community
  • A
  • European Economic Community
  • European Union
  • euthanasia
  • expressionism
  • Falkenhayn, Erich von
  • F
  • Fatherland Party
  • Federal Constitutional Court
  • Federal Republic of Germany
  • Federation of German Industry
  • TURKISH WARS
  • Federation of German Womens
  • feminism, 18151945
  • feminism, 19452005
  • Ferdinand II
  • Feuerbach, Ludwig Andreas
  • Fichte, Johann Gottlieb
  • Final Solution
  • Fischer, Josef Joschka
  • Fischer von Erlach, John
  • Fontane, Theodor
  • WARS OF AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION
  • Four Year Plan
  • Francis II
  • Frank, Anne
  • Frank, Hans
  • Frankfurt am Main
  • Frankfurt Parliament
  • Frederick I
  • Frederick II, The Great
  • Frederick III
  • Frederick III, The Wise
  • STATE REFORMS
  • Frederick William
  • Frederick William I
  • Frederick William II
  • Frederick William III
  • Frederick William IV
  • Free Corps
  • Free Democratic Party
  • Freemasonry/Illuminati
  • French Revolutionary Wars
  • Freytag, Gustav
  • FOREIGN POLICY AND KAUNITZ
  • Friedrich, Caspar David
  • Fritsch, Werner von
  • Fugger, Jacob the Rich
  • Führerprinzip
  • G
  • Galen, Clemens August von
  • Gellert, Christian
  • General Directory
  • Genscher, Hans-Dietrich
  • Gentz, Friedrich
  • JOSEPH II AND REFORM
  • German Christians
  • German Communist Party
  • German Confederation
  • German Conservative Party
  • German Democratic Party
  • German Democratic Republic
  • German Labor Front
  • German National Peoples
  • German Peoples Party
  • German Progressive Party
  • HOHENSTAUFEN DYNASTY,
  • VIENNA AND ARCHITECTURE
  • German Reich (Imperial) Party
  • German Womens Bureau
  • German Workers Party
  • Germany Treaty
  • R
  • FREDERICK III
  • FREDERICK WILLIAM I, THE
  • FREDERICK THE GREAT
  • SEVEN YEARS WAR
  • S
  • ECONOMY
  • POLITICAL DECENTRALIZATION
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • HABSBURG DYNASTY
  • CULTURE
  • THE ENLIGHTENMENT
  • LITERATURE AND DRAMA
  • PHILOSOPHY
  • SECRET SOCIETIES
  • T
  • R
  • THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
  • NATIONALISM AND LIBERALISM
  • EARLY INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  • CITIES AND CRAFT GUILDS
  • REVOLUTIONS OF 1848
  • ARMY REFORM AND PARLIAMENTARY
  • O
  • THE DANISH WAR, 1864
  • AUSTRO-PRUSSIAN WAR, 1866
  • THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR,
  • COLLAPSE OF THE SECOND FRENCH
  • I
  • N
  • ART AND ARCHITECTURE
  • ORIGINS OF CAPITALISM
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND WOMEN
  • EDUCATION
  • T
  • POLITICAL PARTIES
  • THE KULTURKAMPF, SOCIALISM,
  • FOREIGN POLICY AND ALLIANCE
  • BISMARCKS DISMISSAL
  • WILHELMINE GERMANY
  • T
  • THE QUESTION OF
  • LATE MEDIEVAL CULTURE
  • CONDUCT OF THE WAR
  • PEACE RESOLUTION, REFORM, AND
  • AN UNPLANNED REVOLUTION
  • N
  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNPREPARED
  • A REVOLUTIONARY PATTERN
  • WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
  • KURT EISNER AND REVOLUTION IN
  • A REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED
  • A SEVERE ARMISTICE
  • T
  • ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOLUTIONARY
  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
  • INTERPRETATION OF THE
  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
  • V
  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
  • TERMS OF THE TREATY
  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • UNIFICATION POLITICS AND ITS

    NEW CHALLENGES

    The reunification of Germany was Chancellor Kohls greatest achievement. It is

    easy to see why he was reelected in 1990 and again in the 1994 parliamentary

    Post-Reunification to the Present 193

    elections. The official interpretation of unification was that it was the work of

    both West and East Germans, and although opposed by some of Germanys

    neighbors was aided especially by the Americans and Russians. As true as this

    was, there was another reality that lurked behind these noble words, and that

    was that the GDR imploded and then was for all practical purposes annexed by

    West Germany. Even the Treaty of Union between the ex-GDR and the Federal

    Republic, which had provided for a special commission to reexamine the Basic

    Law and recommend changes, turned out to be like window dressing. In July

    1994 the commission concluded that no changes were necessary. The first all-

    German election since the end of World War II took place on December 2, 1990,

    when some 17 million voters went to the polls. The CDU remained the largest

    party, receiving with its coalition partners, the CSU and FDP, 54.8 percent of the

    vote. Surprisingly, the CDU did remarkably better than the SPD in the East German

    states, due to the latters ambivalent stand on unification. The Free

    Democrats (FDP), due to the popularity of Hans-Dietrich Genscher, actually

    received a 1 percent higher vote in the East (12 percent) than in the West. The

    extreme right-wing party, the Republikaner, fell short of the 5 percent of the

    vote necessary for a party to be represented in the Bundestag. The successor to

    the SED, the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), received only 2.4 percent of

    the vote nationwide. Because of their opposition to rapid reunification, the

    Greens received only 3.9 percent of the vote but remained in the Bundestag due

    to an alliance with the East German Alliance 90. Voter participation decreased

    only slightly from a high of 84.3 percent in 1987 to 77.8 percent in 1990.

    Kohl soon had to face the realities of governing a newly united nation. After

    promising no new taxes, Kohl in fact had to raise taxes. Political corruption

    scandals also tarnished his coalition. Because of economic difficulties he was

    increasingly reluctant to tolerate criticism. Then Kohl attempted to force the

    CDU to accept his choice of a successor to Richard von Weizäcker, the federal

    president, which created considerable problems in the governing coalition.

    Roman Herzog, the chief judge of the Federal Constitutional Court, was finally

    chosen in 1994. In the five new states many difficulties arose in dealing with

    their Communist past. As trials were held, often lower-ranked officials were

    punished while leaders were not.

    Other problems plaguing the country concerned the rise of extreme rightwing

    groups, which were opposed to the large number of asylum seekers flooding

    into Germany due to the extremely liberal asylum law. Virtually any

    foreigner could ask for and receive asylum and then benefit from the social service

    benefits. A wave of neo-Nazi violence targeted foreigners and left 30 dead

    and hundreds injured between 1990 and 1995. All of this created resentment

    against foreigners, which expanded even to long-term resident Turks, often in

    the form of violence. One violent example occurred on November 23, 1992,

    in the town of Moelin, where extremists killed three Turkish immigrants

    through fire bombing. After this the government announced a program to crack

    down on right-wing neo-Nazis.

    In the Bundestag elections of 1994 the CDU/CSU coalition won with 41.5

    percent of the vote. The party strategists featured Kohl as the chancellor of

    unity whose down-home personality and increasingly heavy weight appealed

    194 Germany

    to the electorate. The CDU convention also chose a new party platform that

    emphasized an ecological social market economy and favored the European

    Union. A campaign stressing security, stability, and the future and an improving

    economy helped reelect Kohls coalition. By 1998, however, Kohls star was

    fading. Too many struggles and too many unfulfilled promises about Germanys

    future had disillusioned many voters. He had failed to solve the countrys economic

    problems, which resulted from reunification and from the global recession

    of the early 1990s. To counter this, Kohl tried to make his experience as

    chancellor for 16 years a campaign issue. CDU posters claimed that he was a

    world class politician for Germany, had orchestrated Germanys reunification,

    and played a major role in the establishment of a unified European currency.

    While Kohl represented stability, the SPD candidate, Gerhard Schroeder, represented

    change, which is what many voters wanted. In his appearance and

    thinking Kohl was showing his age, 67. His usual campaign speech focused on

    Germanys past and not on a vision for its future. Kohl understandably refused

    to face the telegenic Gerhard Schroeder in a televised debate. A widely publicized

    debate before the Bundestag did occur in which Kohl warned that change

    was dangerous, while Schroeder accused Kohl of being in office too long and

    out of touch with the voters. In a version of its the economy, stupid

    Schroeder accused Kohl of failing to reduce the countrys high unemployment

    and widening the gap between rich and poor. Embarrassingly, Helmut Kohl

    became the first chancellor to be ousted from office in an election. With the

    passing of the unity chancellor who had bridged preunification and unification

    Germany, a new postwar generation had arrived to lead Germany into the

    future and to give new form and meaning to German identity.

    During the election Gerhard Schroeder managed to project a much more

    youthful and dynamic image. He was a surprising choice because his ideas

    reflected a centrist position and not the traditional socialist position of the party

    leader, Oskar Lafontaine, who became the powerful finance minister in the new

    government. Not only had Schroeder earlier gained notoriety in addressing the

    Bundestag without wearing a necktie, it was also well known that after a night

    of drinking he walked in front of the chancellors residence and shouted, I

    want in there! As head of state government in Lower Saxony he had courted

    businessmen, which alienated some leftist party members. Schroeder said he

    represented the New Middle and borrowed from the campaigns of Tony Blair

    in England and Bill Clinton in the United States. For perhaps the most mediasavvy

    politician that postwar Germany produced, now the politics of personality

    took center stage. Without specifics Schroeder offered himself as the

    symbol of change, a man of action and a manager who had everything under

    control. Schroeders admiration for his predecessor, Helmut Schmidt, inspired

    him to project the image and style of Schmidt. He claimed to be a modernizer

    of government, reformer of social welfare, and the creator of a public-private

    alliance necessary for success in the global economy. An energetic campaign

    promised a brighter future and was enhanced with rock music, videos, the photogenic

    images of Schroeder and his wife, and imaginative political commercials.

    The public clearly preferred Schroeder as their new chancellor. The issue

    of unemployment, of course, was an important campaign issue. More than 80

    Post-Reunification to the Present 195

    percent of the public thought that unemployment was the most important

    problem facing the nation. A mood of discontent also contributed to Kohls

    defeat, a mood of frustration with expectations and realities concerning unification.

    The public wanted a change of leadership that could reform the tax laws

    and social welfare programs.

    The SPD increased its share of the vote by 4.5 percent over 1994, making

    modest gains in both western states among the new middle class and in the east

    among blue collar workers. The mixed partial proportional electoral system

    worked to the advantage of the SPD, giving it 13 extra seats in the Bundestag.

    The CDU/CSU came second, followed in third place by the Green Party. The

    SPD and Greens then formed the Red-Green coalition, giving it a 345 to 324

    majority. The other parties, such as the reformed Communist Party, the Party

    of Democratic Socialism, won 36 seats with 6.2 percent of the vote, managing

    to surmount the 5 percent threshold. The two right-wing parties, Republikaner

    and German Peoples Party, received only a combined vote of 3 percent. The

    governing coalition of the SPD and Greens then agreed on a program to attack

    the problems that had led to Kohls defeat. Yet there were divisions within and

    between these coalition partners, which made a consistent policy difficult.

    Besides the conflict of ideologies between Schroeder and Lafontaine, the Greens

    were also divided by the Fundi and Realo factions, which further complicated

    the alliances attempts to forge a New Middle. One such conflict between the

    Greens and the SPD concerned the closure of Germanys nuclear power plants,

    with the Greens favoring an immediate closure versus the SPDs more practical

    support for gradual closure. Other divisions concerned the question of Germanys

    role in its military alliances and changes in its citizenship laws. Even

    more fundamental were the difficulties in arriving at a consensus on how to

    deal with unemployment, tax reform, and reduction of social services.

    When Schroeder took office he was confronted by economic uncertainty,

    mass unemployment, and a general apprehension about the implications of

    globalization. Many Germans questioned the ability of the government to deal

    with these problems. In order to meet these challenges, Schroeder projected an

    image of a man of action who had everything under control. Yet his management

    skills were far from outstanding, and he failed to demonstrate any creativity

    in solving Germanys problems or formulating solutions. Just as bad he

    failed to martial the political support needed to pass his reforms. Unfortunately,

    the inexperience of his administration led to inadequate preparation and frenetic

    action, much as in the early administration of President Clinton.

    After one year in office Schroeders coalition proposed a structural reform

    plan for the social welfare programs. It was soon scrapped, however, when voters

    were so opposed to the reform program that many even abandoned the

    party in several state elections. Later, in 2001, a pension reform plan was passed

    by the Bundestag. The plan cut the amount of benefits directly paid by the government

    and encouraged individuals to invest their retirement savings in government-

    supported private investments. Workers and management in the

    metal and electrical industries also agreed to allow employees to invest a small

    portion of their pretax wages into retirement investments. The Bundestag also

    approved a plan to shut down all of the nuclear power plants before 2021.

    196 Germany

    In November 2001 Gerhard Schroeder was overwhelmingly reelected as the

    head of the Social Democratic Party. In the parliamentary elections in September

    2002 he was reelected with a five-seat majority with 306 seats in a 603-seat Bundestag,

    although the vote for the SPD declined slightly to 38.5 percent from 40.9

    percent in 1998. The Greens with the help of the popular Joschka Fischer in the

    foreign ministry polled 8.6 percent of the vote, up from 6.7 percent. The opposition

    center-right coalition of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian

    Social Union also won 38.5 percent of the vote, up from 35.1 percent in

    1998. Yet, why was Schroeder reelected after failing to reduce Germanys unemployment

    as he had promised? One reason was his excellent handling of flood

    relief during the devastating floods in eastern Germany. Analysts also attributed

    it to his very popular opposition to the proposed U.S.-led military intervention

    in Iraq. However, following the election, Schroeder proposed tax increases that

    again were resisted by SPD members. Also reflecting voter dissatisfaction in

    February 2003 was the CDU defeat of the governing SPD in two state elections.

    A turning point in postwar German history came when Chancellor Schroeder

    on March 14, 2003, announced Agenda 2010. It proposed structural reforms

    in social welfare programs by reducing entitlements and making labor market

    reforms that had been recommended by economists and business leaders. The

    agendas provisions were expressions of Schroeders New Middle philosophy

    between that of Keynesian economics and neoliberalism. Some of the provisions

    included allowing small companies to lay off workers, the reduction of unemployment

    benefits, and drastically reducing the eligibility period for benefits. In

    health services employees were made responsible for the burden of payments;

    co-payments by employers were eliminated to reduce business costs. Perhaps 50

    percent or more of SPD members opposed the cuts proposed by the agenda, but

    with Schroeders threat to resign as chancellor the delegates at a party conference

    reluctantly supported the agenda. Should the reforms in Agenda 2010 be

    enacted, it was expected that the SPD would be defeated in the next parliamentary

    election and that the future cohesion of the party could be threatened.

    By February 2004 opposition from the liberal core of the Social Democratic

    Party to Agenda 2010 had become so strong that Schroeder decided to step down

    as leader of the SPD, although he continued in the office of chancellor. The political

    marriage between Schroeder and the Social Democrats had begun to fall apart

    during summer 2003, when critics accused him of catering to corporations and

    the wealthy. Opinion polls showed that Schroeders reforms and his failure to

    lower unemployment had reduced the partys popularity among voters to 26 percent.

    The most recent complaints concerned Schroeders proposed reductions in

    worker compensation programs and a plan to require patients to pay the equivalent

    of $12.50 for their initial visit to a doctor, hardly an economic burden when

    compared to the costs faced by the average American.

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