Germany. The nuclear accident in Fukushima in Japan in March led to a slap in German energy policy. The government, which the year before tore up a previous red-green decision to decommission nuclear power, changed. Eight reactors were shut down immediately and eventually it was decided that the remaining nine reactors would be closed by 2022. Nuclear power had long been a hot battle issue in Germany, but the new decision was made with broad political backing.
According to Countryaah official site, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg ended up in blustery weather when plagiarism was revealed in his doctoral dissertation. He rejected the accusations but the criticism grew into a storm; inter alia wrote 23,000 graduates during a protest letter. At first, zu Guttenberg set aside his doctorate, but on March 1 he was forced to leave the government as well. It was seen as a severe setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel; zu Guttenberg had been the government’s most popular minister. New Minister of Defense was formerly Minister of the Interior Thomas De Maizière.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle resigned in April as leader of the liberal FDP, which raged in opinion polls following the government formation with the Christian Democrats. New leader and vice-chancellor became Philipp Rösler, who was also appointed Minister of Business and Industry.
A neo-Nazi terror group, the so-called Zwickaucelle, was unveiled in November. The group included two men who committed suicide before they could be arrested, and a woman who surrendered to the police. Since 1998, they had formed an underground cell that murdered nine people with immigrant backgrounds and a police officer. The group must also have been behind a series of bank robberies and two explosions. Several other people were arrested on suspicion of actively supporting the group. The case caused shock and self-examination. Critics claimed that the focus on Islamists ignored the threat of right-wing extremists. Both chambers of Parliament condemned in an unusual, joint statement the murders, and the government re-examined the possibility of banning the right-wing party NPD.
Regional elections were held in seven of the 16 states during the year. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic CDU lost support in most quarters and lost power in two states. In Hamburg, the election had been announced since the former blue-green coalition collapsed; the result was that the Social Democratic SPD gained its own majority, which is unusual in German politics. In Baden-Württemberg, the defeat was particularly devastating: the CDU lost for the first time in 58 years and Germany got its first green prime minister in leadership for a coalition with the SPD.
In the Social Democrat-led Bremen, the Greens were bigger than the CDU, which never happened before in a state election. In Berlin, the newly formed Pirate Party got 9% of the vote and a seat in a state parliament for the first time. For the CDU’s coalition partners at the national level, the election year became a disaster: the liberal FDP fell below the 5 percent barrier and remained without representation in five of the states.
The debt crisis in Europe created a difficult balance sheet for Merkel. Expectations were high in the outside world that Germany, with its strong economy, would help save weaker states from economic collapse. At the same time, opposition was strong among German voters. The coalition government faltered in September, when the new FDP leader Rösler appeared to be open to the possibility of bankrupting Greece. But Merkel’s position was strengthened when the Constitutional Court ruled that Germany’s contribution to the EU’s rescue packages did not violate German law. In addition, she received strong support during the Confederation Day for the strengthening of the eurozone crisis fund EFSF.
The Political Role of the Federal Republic
West German citizenship has rightly been considered one of the most class conscious in the world. Despite two lost imperialist world wars, it has once again managed to rise to become one of the strongest imperialist powers. By the mid-1960s, 52% of all senior civil servants remained former members of the Nazi Party. « Professional Prohibition’The provisions of January 1972 introduced extensive sanctions against all those employed in the public service who had been engaged in the left wing. Everyone was considered a potential security risk, it was led to extensive uncontrolled data recording of political opinions, the ban on so-called revolutionary literature and its distribution (§88 a and § 130 a of the Criminal Code) with wide interpretation possibilities for the state bureaucracy, «raids laws», restrictions on demonstration rights and other democratic rights.
This development was already under the “Social-Liberal” SPD-FDP government, which led to the West German social democracy of the mid-1970s at the forefront of the “preventive counter-revolution” in Europe. The CDU / CSU’s anti-democratic crusade under the motto “freedom or socialism” drove the SPD leadership from scandal to coercion, forcing the party to accept CDU / CSU’s terms for the ideological debate. This policy demoralized and demobilized the working class and critical intellectuals, ultimately serving only the right-wing forces.
(See also: Berlin Wall, Berlin Problem, RAF)
Crisis and Accelerated Reunion 1989-90
In mid-1989, Hungary opened its borders, allowing free passage from the GDR to Austria. It started a tidal wave. Within a few weeks, 350,000 GDR citizens had emigrated to the Federal Republic. At the same time, the almost daily demonstrations of changes in the GDR made the country’s crisis urgent. In August, Honecker resigned from the post of party leader and was replaced by Egon Krenz. Due. misunderstandings, the border in Berlin was opened on November 9. The wall had fallen.
Chancellor of the Federal Republic, Kohl immediately suggested the formation of a confederation. During his first visit to the GDR in December 1989, Kohl reiterated his proposal and commissions were set up to develop bilateral relations at all levels. But at the same time, demonstrations were carried out in support of an actual merger between the two countries.
In February 1990, the GDR government approved the formation of a German union and the withdrawal of foreign – Soviet – troops from its territory. Kohl proposed to start negotiations after the elections to be held in the GDR in March. At the election, the Christian Democrats, who had based their campaign on victory, demanded immediate reunion. This accelerated the whole process. In July, the currency union was introduced, at an exchange rate that benefited the East Germans.
The association was finally implemented in August 1990 under the name of the German Federal Republic. It became possible when the Soviet Union accepted the incorporation of the former GDR into NATO. The only legislative remnant that survived in the East – and only for a two-year term – was the Abortion Act that was more liberal than in the rest of the country.
In the end, the closure of a large number of industries in the former GDR led to numerous strikes. The closure was carried out on the pretext of working with outdated technology or polluting too much.
At the first parliamentary elections in the new reunited Federal Republic in December 1990, the government coalition of Christian Democrats and Liberals gained 54% of the vote against the Social Democrats 35%. The Greens declined from 8 to 5% and the former GDR government that had changed its name to PDS also received 5%. 20.5% of MPs were women – 4.5% more than in the former Federal Republic and 12.5% less than in the former GDR.
Area: 357,578 km2 (world ranking: 62)
Population density: 231 per km2 (as of 2017, world ranking: 16)
Official languages: German
Gross domestic product: 3,263.4 billion euros; Real growth: 2.5%
Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 43,490 US $
Currency: 1 euro (euro) = 100 cents
Head of State: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Head of Government: Angela Merkel, Outside: Heiko Maas
National holiday: October 3rd. (Day of German Unity)
16 federal states each with constitution, parliament and government
State and form of government
Basic law from 1949
Democratic-parliamentary federal state since 1949
Parliament: Bundestag with at least 598 members (plus overhang and compensatory mandates), election every 4 years; Federal Council as state representation with 69 members (delegation by state governments)
Election of the head of state (Federal President; mainly representative function) every 5 years by the Federal Assembly (one-time re-election) Right to
vote from 18 years of age
Population of: Germans, last census 2011: 80,219,695 residents Proportion of foreigners 2017: 11.2%; Minorities with special rights: Sorbs (Wends) in Brandenburg and Saxony (60,000), Danes in South Schleswig (50,000), Sinti and Roma (70,000), Frisians in North Frisia and on Heligoland (10,000), Frisians in Saterland (2000)
cities (with population)
(As of 2017) Berlin 3,574,830 inh., Hamburg 1,810,438, Munich 1,464,301, Cologne 1,075,935, Frankfurt am Main 736,414, Stuttgart 628,032, Düsseldorf 613,230, Dortmund 585,813, Essen 583,084, Leipzig 571,088, Bremen 565,719, Dresden 547.172, Hanover 532.864, Nuremberg 511.628, Duisburg 499.845, Bochum 364.920
Religions: 28.5% Roman Catholic Church, 26.5% Evangelical Church, 4.9% Muslims, 3.9% others; 36.2% non-denominational (as of 2006)
Languages: German; Low German in Northern Germany (regional language); Recognized minority languages: Danish, Lower Sorbian, North Frisian, Romanes, Sater Frisian, Upper Sorbian
Employed by economic sector: agriculture. 1.4%, industry 24.1%, business 74.5% (2017)
Unemployment (in% of all labor force): 2017: 5.7%
Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 1.8%
Foreign trade: Import: 1034 billion euros (2017); Export: 1279 billion euros (2017)