Why study this case?
World’s largest exporter per capita
World’s largest economy
Current political system is relatively new
The German state is federal because sovereignty and
nationhood came every late to Germany
Some people are very conservative about nationalism and
advocate Eurozone integration
Later comer in both, democracy and capitalism
Smaller than Montana or Japan
Its location has placed it at the center of European affairs for
o Doesn’t really have natural barriers
o Borders 9 other countries
Has found itself externally vulnerable and internally divided
Low natural resources
Homogenous for the most part (90%)
Historical development of the state:
National unity, industrialization and democratization came
later than it did for its surrounding neighbors.
Development of the state proceeded industrialization which
led to authoritarianism and mercantilism.
The absence of a central state (800-1806):
The empire began with the foundation of Charlemenge’s Holy
o Had a very decentralized and weak emperor, which was
surrounded by princes and a congress.
There were too many subdivisions of power (Regional princes,
o This all caused a lack of unison
The protestant reformation also divided the state further
The treaty of Wesphalia further weaked the HR Empire by
giving local entities power.
Unification, Prussia, and the Second State (1806-1918):
Napoleon’s invasion began unification and nationalism (that
would lead to Nazism)
Only did Prussia and Austria manage to ward of Napoleon,
and in 1815, Prussia created a small confederation that gave
semblance to the German State.
Prussia had complete control over violence, but growth was
also promoted by trade, infrastructural development and
education. There was a feeling that military force and mercantilism, not
liberal elections, would unify Germany.
First constitution established an authoritarian democracy
o All power came from the Kaiser
o It seemed like a democracy, but it really wasn’t.
The iron chancellor kept doing what he wanted with favors to
other politicth entities.
By early 20 , it was a major power
Discontent from the public and the German defeat caused the
Kaiser to give up his power and proclaim Germany a republic.
The breakdown of democracy (1919-1933):
They were not prepared for the emperor to leave
Weimar Republic claimed a democratic government
o With unemployment pensions
o Universal Health Care and Pensions
o Suffrage for all adults (before US or BR)
Modeled after British Parliament
Their PR system lead to a lot of parties and in turn a lot of
different short lived coalitions.
The great depression and the treaty of Versailles both kind of
doomed them from having a strong central government
Fascism and the 3 rd Reich (1933-1945):
It rose because it seemed promising
Promised to return Germany to its former glory
Violated Versailles and began WW1
Foreign Occupation and the German State (1945-1990):
It was in ruins in 1945
Two germanies were established: East and West
o West was by UK FR and US
o East by Soviet Union
Reunification (1990- )
Meaning the incorporation of East Germany into the FRG
It has been very costly
o The government has spent a lot of money trying to
reunify west and east Germany
o Also in building and improving East’s infrastructure
o And in improving its social stuff
Basic Law was amended in 1990 to include east Germany
and has become Germany’s constitution
5 Principles (to avoid the past)
o 1. Cooperative Federalism: sharing of power between
federal and state.
o 2. Basic set of political, economic and social rights o 3. Head of state
o 4. Power is concentrated in the chancellor, which is
elected and is responsible to the legislature
o 5. Independent Judiciary
Amended by 2/3rds majority in both houses
The Branches of Government:
The Head of Government and the Cabinet
o Federal Chancellor is the most powerful political
figure in Germany
o Elected by the lower house