• 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
  • Free Democratic Party

    (FDP)

    The liberal Free Democratic Party has played a

    pivotal role in West German politics since the

    founding of the FEDERAL REPUBLIC. The party

    often has been a member of governing coalitions

    both with the CDU and the SPD. Its leader,

    Hans-Dietrich GENSCHER, as foreign minister was

    very influential in the outcome of reunification

    in 198990.

    In the postwar period there was an impetus

    to unite the various groups of liberals and their

    mildly different philosophies into one liberal

    party. It should be remembered that the liberals

    during the Second Empire and the WEIMAR

    REPUBLIC had been divided into at least two liberal

    parties which weakened their influence. In

    the late 1940s under the Western Allies the

    licensing policies permitted parties to form

    locally first and then at the state level. Out of

    Free Democratic Party 395

    these regional parties a loose union of the state

    parties was formed at a conference of delegates

    held in Heppenheim in December 1948.

    Theodor HEUSS, who became the first president

    of the Federal Republic, was the first leader of

    the party. The formation of the party did not

    mean that organizational unity equated with

    ideological unity. Going back to 1945 the liberals

    lacked homogeneity in the Western zones of

    occupation, much as they had during Weimar.

    There was a more liberal democratic wing centered

    in local parties in BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG,

    HAMBURG, and BREMEN. There also was a right

    wing, which was more nationalist and free-market

    oriented and centered in Hesse and NORTH

    RHINE-WESTPHALIA.

    In the early years of the Federal Republic the

    more conservative national-liberal wing was

    dominant until the death in 1961 of conservative

    Erich Mende. During that time the FDP participated

    in coalition governments with the

    conservative CDU/CSU (194966). The FDP had

    to compete for the nonsocialist vote. It was committed

    to free enterprise economics with a minimum

    of government interference in the

    economy and therefore favored the policies of

    Ludwig ERHARD, who was a former liberal

    though he joined the CDU. It also emphasized

    extensive civil rights, and recognized that the

    state has responsibilities for the poor. On the

    other hand, it advocated tax incentives for business

    and subsidies to farmers, both of which

    groups were part of its electorate. The FDP

    favored the separation of church and state, was

    anticlerical, and criticized the support of the

    CDU/CSU by the Catholic clergy and the

    reestablishment of Catholic schools in parts of

    the Federal Republic.

    From 1966 until 1969 a reform and transition

    under the leadership of the liberal-democrats

    Walther Scheel and Hans-Dietrich Genscher

    occurred, which reoriented the FDP into an

    alliance with the SPD in the Social-Liberal Coalition

    in 1969. With the victory of the CDU in the

    elections of 1982, the FDP again changed alliances

    and entered a coalition with the CDU/CSU. During

    this alliance the free-market policies of the

    conservative liberals were emphasized in the

    policies of the 1980s, such as the reduction in

    the tax burden for companies. The party provided

    the foreign minister in all governments

    from 1969 until 1998 (Genscher serving from

    1969 to 1992). Consequently, the FDP played a

    role in the formulation of OSTPOLITIK under

    Willy BRANDT and also promoted DÉTENTE in the

    governments of Helmut SCHMIDT (SPD) and Helmut

    KOHL (CDU), and in the complicated road

    to German reunification.

    The party has always had to be concerned

    about getting enough votes to overcome the 5

    percent level that parties must reach in order to

    gain representation in the BUNDESTAG. The FDP

    was able to overcome its minority status, getting

    between 6 and 12 percent of the vote. Its voter

    base comes from the self-employed and professionals

    but has no reliable voting bloc like the

    trade unions for the SPD and the churches for

    the CDU/CSU. The region in which the FDP was

    most successful has been in Baden-Württemberg.

    Between 1961 and 1983 it was the only

    third party in the Bundestag and the party

    whose support was needed to form a majority

    for a government. When in 1983 the GREEN

    PARTY entered the parliament, the FDP lost that

    exclusive position. In the elections of 1994 and

    1998 the FDP tallied fourth among the parties

    behind the Greens. In all it served as an opposition

    party out of government only two times

    and participated in 13 out of 16 cabinets from

    1969 until reunification.

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