POL207 LECTURE 1 22/09/10
Europe in 1945
•Readings: online, do it!
•1918 is interesting as its most transformational for East. Collapse of Otoman, and
Habsburg. Revolution in Russia. West Europe remained intact.
oIf Germany was so weakened in 1919, how could I bring the world to it’s
knees 20 years later.
oWas Germany’s outcome inevitable despite Versailles?
•Of all the historical junctures that are central to understanding European politics,
1945 is the most important for two reason:
oThe division of Europe, the Iron Curtain.
The aftermath of WWII, all countries reflected on their institutional
•Three questions posed in this lecture:
oWhat lessons did constitutional designers draw in 1945, and how did this
lesson-drawing manifest itself legally and institutionally?
Germany: Stunde Null
•Signed unconditional surrender. 10 million Germans dead, and
the country directly or indirectly responsible for tens of millions
of deaths. The country was isolated, loathed, financially
bankrupt, physically leveled, dismembered and divided.
•However, the totality of defeat provided few clear lesons, as the
constitutional designers in 1945 looked back at not one failed
ststae but two.
oNazis and Weimar
oSuffered from entirely different problems.
oWith Nazis: Hyper-centralization.
All power in Berlin at helm of dictator.
oWeimar: institutional defragmentation.
Governments constantly falling.
1919-3 characterized by democracy by political
instability, crippling debt and inflation.
Divisive public debate and opinion, political
Key figure in the Basic Law of Germany
Born in 1876, July 5th, only 5 years ater irth of
Was in isolation during the war.
Referred to as “Der Alter”
Mayor of Cologne in 1917, until Nazis came to
power. Nazis sacked them, and was approached
by them several times, refused any involvement.
Resorted to “inner immigration” simply rtreated
to private sphere.
After war, was reinstated by the Americans and
sacked by the British.
Seized chair of CDU in 1946.
Elected n basis of seniority to the Presidency of a
parliamentary council drawing up the new
He left a decisive mark on German Politics and
the German constitution.
Died before reunification
oGerman Basic Law:
Elaborate systems of checks and balances.
Understanding this understanding how
institutions diffuse power across the country in
different levels of govt.
Postwar republic was to be a federation with 10
powerful Laender + West Berlin.
Needed a centralized economy, a Westminster
style unitary system, like Britain.
Americans overwrote them.
Laender have direct representation and veto
power in the national parliament.
Constitutional court (SUPREME COURT) has
wide-ranging powers to intervene on any issue.
Will intervene in debates.
President has few powers.
Govt. Can only be overturned by “constructive”
vote of non-confidence.
The voting threshold, the electoral systems.
Seats are allocated based on proportion of votes.
PR. Proportional Representation, need at least
Institutions were an overwhelming success:
federal republic stable, and the institutions coped
with terrorism, unification and economic
stagnation. This is partly to institutional design,
Europe in 1945: readings: online, do it! 1918 is interesting as its most transformational for east. 1945 is the most important for two reason: the division of europe, the iron curtain. germany: stunde null: signed unconditional surrender. 10 million germans dead, and the country directly or indirectly responsible for tens of millions of deaths. all power in berlin at helm of dictator. 1919-3 characterized by democracy by political instability, crippling debt and inflation. divisive public debate and opinion, political violence: konrad adenauer: key figure in the basic law of germany. born in 1876, july 5th, only 5 years ater irth of. mayor of cologne in 1917, until nazis came to power. Nazis sacked them, and was approached by them several times, refused any involvement. resorted to inner immigration simply r treated to private sphere. after war, was reinstated by the americans and sacked by the british.