In the East, the Soviets crushed dissent and imposed another police state, often employing ex-Nazis in the dreaded Stasi. The Soviets extracted about 23% of the East German GNP for reparations, while in the West reparations were a minor factor.
In 1945–46 housing and food conditions were bad, as the disruption of transport, markets and finances slowed a return to normal. Sony VAIO VGN-NS72JB/W Battery
In the West, bombing had destroyed the fourth of the housing stock, and over 10 million refugees from the east had crowded in, most living in camps. Food production was only two-thirds of the prewar level in 1946–48, while grain and meat shipments which usually supplied 25% of the food no longer arrived from the East. Sony VAIO VGN-NS90HS Battery
Furthermore the large shipments of food seized from occupied nations that had sustained Germany during the war ended. Coal production was down 60%, which had cascading negative effects on railroads, heavy industry and heating. Industrial production fell more than half and reached prewar levels only at the end of 1949 Sony VAIO VGN-NS92JS Battery
Allied economic policy originally was one of industrial disarmament plus building the agricultural sector. In the western sectors most of the industrial plants had minimal damage from the bombing the Allies dismantled 5% of the industrial plant for reparations. Sony VAIO VGN-NS92XS Battery
Deindustrialization became impractical and the U.S. instead called for a strong industrial base in Germany so it could stimulate European economic recovery. The U.S. shipped in food 1945–47 and made a $600 million loan in 1947 to rebuild German industry. By May 1946 the removal of machinery had ended thanks to lobbying by the U.S. Army. Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S Battery
The Truman administration finally realised that economic recovery in Europe could not go forward without the reconstruction of the German industrial base on which it had previously been dependent. Washington decided that an "orderly, prosperous Europe requires the economic contributions of a stable and productive Germany." Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/T Battery
In 1949 the Soviet zone became the "Deutsche Demokratische Republik" – "DDR" ("German Democratic Republic" – "GDR", simply often "East Germany"), under control of the German Communist Party. Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S Battery
Neither country had a significant army until the 1950s, but East Germany built the Stasi a powerful secret police that infiltrated every aspect of the society.
East Germany was an Eastern bloc state under political and military control of the Soviet Union through her occupation forces and the Warsaw Treaty. Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/T Battery
Political power was solely executed by leading members (Politburo) of the communist-controlledSocialist Unity Party (SED). A Soviet-style command economy was set up, later the GDR became the most advanced Comecon state. While East German propaganda was based on the benefits of the GDR'sSony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S Battery
social programs and the alleged constant threat of a West German invasion, many of her citizens looked to the West for political freedoms and economic prosperity.
Walter Ulbricht (1893–1973) was the party boss 1950–71. In 1933, Ulbricht fled to Moscow, where he served as a Comintern agent loyal to Stalin. Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF Battery
As the war was ending Stalin assigned him the job of designing the postwar German system that would centralize all power in the Communist Party. Ulbricht became deputy prime minister in 1949 and secretary (chief executive) of the Socialist Unity (Communist) party in 1950. Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF Battery
Some 2.6 million people had fled East Germany by 1961 when he built theBerlin Wall to stop them—shooting those who attempted it. What the GDR called the "Anti-Fascist Protective Wall" was a major embarrassment for the program during the Cold War, but it did stabilize East Germany and postpone its collapse.[ Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W Battery
Ulbricht lost power in 1971, but was kept on as a nominal head of state. He was replaced because he failed to solve growing national crises, such as the worsening economy in 1969–70, the fear of another popular uprising as had occurred in 1953, and the disgruntlement between Moscow and Berlin caused by Ulbricht's détente policies toward the West. Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF Battery
The transition to Erich Honecker (1912–1994) led to a change in the direction of national policy and efforts by the Politburo to pay closer attention to the grievances of the proletariat. Honecker's plans were not successful, however, with the dissent growing among East Germany's population. Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W Battery
In 1989, severe economic problems and growing emigration towards the west were finally among the main reasons leading to this socialist regime collapsing after 40 years despite its omnipresent secret police, the Stasi.
In 1949 the three western occupation zones (American, British and French) Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF Battery
formed the "Federal Republic of Germany" (FRG, West Germany) under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his conservative CDU/CSU coalition. The capital was Bonn until it was moved to Berlin in 1990.
West Germany enjoyed prolonged economic growth beginning in the early 1950s (Wirtschaftswunder or "Economic Miracle"). Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B Battery
Industrial production doubled from 1950 to 1957, and gross national product grew at a rate of nine or 10% per year, providing the engine for economic growth of all of Western Europe. Labor union support of the new policies, postponed wage increases, minimized strikes, supported technological modernization, Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/TC Battery
and enjoyed a policy of co-determination (Mitbestimmung), which involved a satisfactory grievance resolution system as well as requiring representation of workers on the boards of large corporations. The recovery was accelerated by the currency reform of June 1948, U.S. Sony VAIO VGN-NW35E Battery
gifts of $1.4 billion Marshall Plan aid, the breaking down of old trade barriers and traditional practices, and the opening of the global market.West Germany gained legitimacy and respect, as it shed the horrible reputation Germany had gained under the Nazis. West Germany played a central role in the creation of European cooperation; Sony VAIO VGN-NW380F/S Battery
it joined NATO in 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1958.
1948 currency reform
The most dramatic and successful policy event was the currency reform of 1948. Since the 1930s, prices and wages had been controlled, but money had been plentiful. Sony VAIO VGN-NW380F/T Battery
That meant that people had accumulated large paper assets, and that official prices and wages did not reflect reality, as the black market dominated the economy and more than half of all transactions were taking place unofficially. On 21 June 1948 the Western Allies withdrew the old currency and replaced it with the new Deutsche Mark at the rate of one new per 10 old. Sony VAIO VGN-NW50JB Battery
This wiped out 90% of government and private debt, as well as private savings. Prices were decontrolled, and labor unions agreed to accept a 15% wage increase, despite the 25% rise in prices. The result was the prices of German export products held steady, while profits and earnings from exports soared, and were poured back into the economy. Sony VAIO VGN-NW51FB/N Battery
The currency reforms were simultaneous with the $1.4 billion in Marshall plan money coming in from the United States, which primarily was used for investment.
In addition, the Marshall plan forced German companies, as well as those in all of Western Europe, to modernize their business practices, and take account of the international market. Sony VAIO VGN-NW51FB/W Battery
Marshall plan funding helped overcome bottlenecks in the surging economy caused by remaining controls (which were removed in 1949), and Marshall Plan business reforms opened up a greatly expanded market for German exports. Overnight, consumer goods appeared in the stores, Sony VAIO VGN-NW70JB Battery
because they could be sold for realistic prices, emphasizing to Germans that their economy had turned a corner.
The success of the currency reform angered the Soviets, who cut off all road, rail and canal links between the western zones and West Berlin. Sony VAIO VGN-NW71FB/N Battery
This was the Berlin Blockade that lasted from 24 June 1948 to 12 May 1949. In response, the U.S. and Britain launched an airlift of food and coal and distributed the new currency in West Berlin as well. The city thereby became economically integrated into West Germany.
Konrad Adenauer (1876–1967) was the dominant leader in West Germany. Sony VAIO VGN-NW71FB/W Battery
He was the first chancellor (top official) of the FRG, 1949–63, and until his death was the founder and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a coalition of conservatives, ordoliberals, and adherents of Protestant and Catholic social teaching that dominated West Germany politics for most of its history. Sony VAIO VGN-NW91FS Battery
During his chancellorship, the West Germany economy grew quickly, and West Germany established friendly relations with France, participated in the emerging European Union, established the Bundeswehr, the country's armed forces, and became a pillar of NATO as well as firm ally of the United States. Sony VAIO VGN-NW91GS Battery
Adenauer's government also commenced the long process of reconciliation with the Jews andIsrael after the Holocaust.
Ludwig Erhard (1897–1977) was in charge of economic policy as economics director for the British and American occupation zones and was Adenauer's long-time economics minister. Sony VAIO VGN-NW91VS Battery
Erhard's decision to lift many price controls in 1948, despite opposition from both the social democratic opposition and Allied authorities and his advocacy of free markets, helped set the Federal Republic on its strong growth from wartime devastation. Norbert Walter, a former chief economist at Deutsche Bank, Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery
argues that "Germany owes its rapid economic advance after World War II to the system of the Social Market Economy, established by Ludwig Erhard." Erhard was politically less successful when he served as the CDU Chancellor from 1963 until 1966. Erhard followed the concept of a social market economy, and was in close touch with professional economists. Sony VAIO VGN-SR11MR Battery
Erhard viewed the market itself as social and supported only a minimum of welfare legislation. However Erhard suffered a series of decisive defeats in his effort to create a free, competitive economy in 1957; he had to compromise on such key issues as the anti-cartel legislation. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D Battery
Thereafter, the West German economy evolved into a conventional west European welfare state.
Meanwhile in adopting the Godesberg Program in 1959, the SPD largely abandoned Marxism ideas and embraced the concept of the market economy and the welfare state. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/B Battery
Instead it now sought to move beyond its old working class base to appeal the full spectrum of potential voters, including the middle class and professionals. Labor unions cooperated increasingly with industry, achieving labor representation on corporate boards and increases in wages and benefits. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/P Battery
In 1966 Erhard lost support and Kurt Kiesinger (1904–1988) was elected as Chancellor by a new CDU/CSU-SPD alliance combining the two largest parties. Socialist (SPD) leader Willy Brandt was Deputy Federal Chancellor and Foreign Minister. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/S Battery
The Grand Coalition lasted 1966–69 and is best known for reducing tensions with the Soviet bloc nations and establishing diplomatic relations with Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia.
With a booming economy short of unskilled workers, especially after the Berlin Wall cut off the steady flow of East Germans, the FRG negotiated migration agreements with Italy (1955), Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E Battery
Spain (1960), Greece (1960), and Turkey (1961) that brought in hundreds of thousands of temporary guest workers, "Gastarbeiter." In 1968 the FRG signed a guest worker agreement with Yugoslavia, that employed additional guest workers. They were young men who were paid full-scale wages and benefits, but were expected to return home in a few years. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/B Battery
The agreement with Turkey ended in 1973 but few workers returned because there were few good jobs in Turkey. By 2010 there were about 4 million people of Turkish descent in Germany. The generation born in Germany attended German schools, but had a poor command of either German or Turkish, and had either low-skilled jobs or unemployment.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/P Battery
Brandt and Ostpolitik
Willy Brandt (1913–1992) was the leader of the Social Democratic Party, 1964–87, and Chancellor 1969–1974. Under his leadership, the German government sought to reduce tensions with the Soviet Union and improve relations with the German Democratic Republic, a policy known as the Ostpolitik. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/S Battery
Relations between the two German states had been icy at best, with propaganda barrages in each direction. The heavy outflow of talent from the east forced the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, which worsened Cold War tensions and prevented East Germans from travel. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140N/S Battery
Although anxious to relieve serious hardships for divided families and to reduce friction, Brandt's Ostpolitik was intent on holding to its concept of "two German states in one German nation."
Ostpolitik was opposed by the conservative elements in Germany, but won Brandt an international reputation and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971. Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/B Battery
In September 1973, both West and East Germany were admitted to the United Nations. The two countries exchanged permanent representatives in 1974, and, in 1987, East Germany's leader Erich Honecker paid an official state visit to West Germany.
Economic crisis of 1970s
After 1973, Germany was hard hit by a worldwide economic crisis, soaring oil prices, Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/P Battery
and stubbornly high unemployment, which jumped from 300,000 in 1973 to 1.1 million in 1975. The Ruhr region was hardest hit, as its easy-to-reach coal mines petered out, and expensive German coal was no longer competitive. Likewise the Ruhr steel industry went into sharp decline, as its prices were undercut by lower-cost suppliers such as Japan. Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/S Battery
The welfare system provided a safety net for the large number of unemployed workers, and many factories reduce their labor force and began to concentrate on high-profit specialty items. After 1990 the Ruhr moved into service industries and high technology. Cleaning up the heavy air and water pollution became a major industry in its own right. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBJ Battery
Meanwhile, formerly rural Bavaria became a high-tech center of industry.
A spy scandal forced Brandt to step down as Chancellor while remaining as party leader. He was replaced by Helmut Schmidt (b. 1918), of the SPD, who served as Chancellor 1974–1982. Schmidt continued the Ostpolitik with less enthusiasm. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBQ Battery
He had a PhD in economics and was more interested in domestic issues, such as reducing inflation. The debt grew rapidly as he borrowed to cover the cost of the ever more expensive welfare state. After 1979 foreign policy issues grew central as the Cold War turned hot again. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EEJ/C Battery
The German peace movement mobilized hundreds of thousands of demonstrators to protest against American deployment in Europe of new medium-range missiles. Schmidt supported the deployment but was opposed by the left wing of the SPD and by Brandt.
The pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) had been in coalition with the SPD, Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NAB Battery
but now it changed direction. Led by Finance Minister Otto Graf Lambsdorff(1926–2009) the FDP adopted the market-oriented "Kiel Theses" in 1977; it rejected the Keynesian emphasis on consumer demand, and proposed to reduce social welfare spending, and try to introduce policies to stimulate production and facilitate jobs. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NBB Battery
Lambsdorff argued that the result would be economic growth, which would itself solve both the social problems and the financial problems. As a consequence the FDP switched allegiance to the CDU, and Schmidt lost his parliamentary majority in 1982. For the only time in West Germany's history, the government fell on a vote of no confidence. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NDB Battery
Helmut Kohl (b. 1930) brought the conservatives back to power with a CDU/CSU-FDP coalition in 1982, and served as Chancellor until 1998. After repeated victories in 1983, 1987, 1990 and 1994 he was finally defeated by a landslide that was the biggest on record, Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NEB Battery
for the left in the 1998 federal elections, and was succeeded as Chancellor by Gerhard Schröder of the SPD. Kohl is best known for orchestrating reunification with the approval of all the Four Powers from World War II, who still had a voice in German affairs. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NGB Battery
During the summer of 1989, rapid changes known as peaceful revolution or Die Wende took place in East Germany, which quickly led to German reunification. Growing numbers of East Germans emigrated to West Germany, many via Hungary after Hungary's reformist government opened its borders. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PAB Battery
Thousands of East Germans also tried to reach the West by staging sit-ins at West German diplomatic facilities in other East European capitals, most notably in Prague. The exodus generated demands within East Germany for political change, and mass demonstrations in several cities continued to grow. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PCB Battery
Unable to stop the growing civil unrest, Erich Honecker was forced to resign in October, and on 9 November, East German authorities unexpectedly allowed East German citizens to enter West Berlin and West Germany. Hundreds of thousands of people took advantage of the opportunity; Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PFB Battery
new crossing points were opened in the Berlin Wall and along the border with West Germany. This led to the acceleration of the process of reforms in East Germany that ended with the German reunification that came into force on 3 October 1990.
Recent history (1990 to present)
The SPD in coalition with the Greens won the elections of 1998. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery
SPD leader Gerhard Schröder positioned himself as a centrist "Third Way" candidate in the mold of Britain's Tony Blair and America's Bill Clinton. Schröder, in March 2003, reversed his position and proposed a significant downsizing of the welfare state, known as Agenda 2010. He had enough support to overcome opposition from the trade unions and the SPD's left wing. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery
Agenda 2010 had five goals: tax cuts; labor market deregulation, especially relaxing rules protecting workers from dismissal and setting up Hartz concept job training; modernizing the welfare state by reducing entitlements; decreasing bureaucratic obstacles for small businesses; and providing new low-interest loans to local governments. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VRN Battery
From 2005 to 2009, Germany was ruled by a grand coalition led by the CDU's Angela Merkel as chancellor. Since the 2009 elections, Merkel has headed a centre-right government of the CDU/CSU and FDP.
Together with France and other EU states, Germany has played the leading role in the European Union. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery
Germany (especially under Chancellor Helmut Kohl) was one of the main supporters of admitting many East European countries to the EU. Germany is at the forefront of European states seeking to exploit the momentum of monetary union to advance the creation of a more unified and capable European political, defence and security apparatus. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery
The German chancellor Schröder expressed an interest in a permanent seat for Germany in the UN Security Council, identifying France, Russia and Japan as countries that explicitly backed Germany's bid. Germany formally adopted the Euro on 1 January 1999 after permanently fixing the Deutsche Mark rate on 21 December 1998.Sony VAIO VGN-SR210J/S Battery
The German Bundeswehr since 1990 has participated in a number of peacekeeping and disaster relief operations abroad. Since 2002, German troops formed part of the International Security Assistance Force in the war in Afghanistan, resulting in the first German casualties in combat missions since World War II. Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S Battery
In the worldwide economic recession that began in 2008, Germany did relatively well. However, the economic instability of Greece and several other EU nations in 2010–11 forced Germany to reluctantly sponsor a massive financial rescue.
In the wake of the disaster to the nuclear industry in Japan following its 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/H Battery
German public opinion turned sharply against Nuclear power in Germany, which produces a fourth of the electricity supply. In response Merkel has announced plans to close down the nuclear system over the next decade, and to rely even more heavily on wind and other alternative energy sources, in addition to coal and natural gas. Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/S Battery
A major historiographical debate about the German history concerns the Sonderweg, the alleged “special path” that separated German history from the normal course of historical development, and whether or not Nazi Germany was the inevitable result of the Sonderweg. Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/B Battery
Proponents of the Sonderweg theory such as Fritz Fischer point to such events of the Revolution of 1848, the authoritarian of the Second Empire and the continuation of the Imperial elite into the Weimar and Nazi periods. Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/H Battery
Opponents such as Gerhard Ritter of the Sonderweg theory argue that proponents of the theory are guilty of seeking selective examples, and there was much contingency and chance in German history. In addition, Sony VAIO VGN-SR240J/B Battery
there was much debate within the supporters of the Sonderweg concept as for the reasons for theSonderweg, and whether or not the Sonderweg ended in 1945. Sony VAIO VGN-SR240N/B Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTH Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTJ Battery
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