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West Germany

Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1990 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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West Germany (German: Westdeutschland, pronounced [ˈvɛstˌdɔɪ̯t͡ʃlant] ) is the colloquial English term used to describe the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland [ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant] ) from its formation on 23 May 1949 until the reunification of Germany through the accession of East Germany on 3 October 1990. During the Cold War, the western portion of Germany and the associated territory of West Berlin were parts of the Western Bloc. West Germany was formed as a political entity during the Allied-occupied Germany after World War II, established from 12 states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. The FRG's provisional capital was the city of Bonn, and the Cold War–era country is retrospectively designated as the Bonn Republic (Bonner Republik).[4]

Quick facts: Federal Republic of GermanyBundesrepublik Deu...
Federal Republic of Germany
Bundesrepublik Deutschland (German)
Motto: Gott mit uns
"God with us"
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
"Unity and Justice and Freedom"
(since 1962)
Ich hab mich ergeben
"I have surrendered myself"
(unofficial, 1949–1952)[1]

Deutschlandlied (a)
"Song of Germany"
Location of West Germany (dark green)

in Europe (dark grey)

Location of West Germany (dark green)

in Europe (dark grey)

  Territory of West Germany
  Lands of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), claimed by West Germany until 1973
  Lands of pre-1937 Germany that were annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union after World War II, claimed by West Germany until 1972

Largest cityHamburg
Official languagesGerman
See Religion in West Germany
GovernmentFederal parliamentary constitutional republic
 1949–1959 (first)
Theodor Heuss
 1984–1990 (last)
Richard von Weizsäcker(b)
 1949–1963 (first)
Konrad Adenauer
 1982–1990 (last)
Helmut Kohlc
Historical eraCold War
23 May 1949
5 May 1955
 Member of NATO
9 May 1955
1 January 1957
 Creation of EEC
25 March 1957
 Basic Treaty with the GDR
21 December 1972
 Admitted to the UN
18 September 1973
12 September 1990
3 October 1990(g)
248,717 km2 (96,030 sq mi)
254/km2 (657.9/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)1990 estimate
~$1.0 trillion (4th)
CurrencyDeutsche Mark(e) (DM) (DEM)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 Summer (DST)
Calling code+49
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom_%281-2%29.svg British occupation zone in Germany
Flag_of_the_United_States_%281912-1959%29.svg American occupation zone in Germany
Flag_of_France.svg French occupation zone in Germany
Federal Republic of Germany since 1990 Flag_of_Germany.svg
Today part ofGermany
  1. From 1952 to 1991, the official national anthem of Germany was Deutschlandlied in its entirety, but only the third stanza was to be sung at official events.[2]
  2. Continued as President of the reunified Germany until 1994.
  3. Continued as Chancellor of the reunified Germany until 1998.
  4. Population statistics according to Federal Statistical Office of Germany.[3]
  5. In the state of Saarland, between January 1957 and July 1959, the French franc and Saar franc.
  6. At first, Bonn was referred to only as the provisional seat of government institutions, but from the early 1970s it was called the "federal capital" (Bundeshauptstadt).
  7. The state did not cease to exist after reunification but continued as the Federal Republic in an enlarged territory.

At the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided between the Western and Eastern blocs. Germany was divided into the two countries. Initially, West Germany claimed an exclusive mandate for all of Germany, representing itself as the sole democratically reorganised continuation of the 1871–1945 German Reich.[5]

Three southwestern states of West Germany merged to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952, and the Saarland joined West Germany as a state in 1957 after it had been separated as the Saar Protectorate from Allied-occupied Germany by France (the separation had been not fully legal as it had been opposed by the Soviet Union). In addition to the resulting ten states, West Berlin was considered an unofficial de facto eleventh state. While de jure not part of West Germany, for Berlin was under the control of the Allied Control Council (ACC), West Berlin politically aligned itself with West Germany and was directly or indirectly represented in its federal institutions.

The foundation for the influential position held by Germany today was laid during the economic miracle of the 1950s (Wirtschaftswunder), when West Germany rose from the enormous destruction wrought by World War II to become the world's second-largest economy. The first chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who remained in office until 1963, worked for a full alignment with the NATO rather than neutrality, and secured membership in the military alliance. Adenauer was also a proponent of agreements that developed into the present-day European Union. When the G6 was established in 1975, there was no serious debate as to whether West Germany would become a member.

Following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, symbolised by the opening of the Berlin Wall, both states took action to achieve German reunification. East Germany voted to dissolve and accede to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990. The five post-war states (Länder) were reconstituted, along with the reunited Berlin, which ended its special status and formed an additional Land. They formally joined the federal republic on 3 October 1990, raising the total number of states from ten to sixteen, and ending the division of Germany. The reunited Germany is the direct continuation of the state previously informally called West Germany and not a new state, as the process was essentially a voluntary act of accession: the Federal Republic of Germany was enlarged to include the additional six states of the German Democratic Republic. The expanded Federal Republic retained West Germany's political culture and continued its existing memberships in international organisations, as well as its Western foreign policy alignment and affiliation to Western alliances such as the United Nations, NATO, OECD, and the European Economic Community.

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