West Germany: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government
About the location, history, size, population, and government of the country West Germany.
Size-96,094 sq. mi. (248,882 sq. km.), about the size of Oregon.
Population-62 million: German, 98.7%; Italian, 0.4%; others, 0.9%. There are 2 million foreign workers, primarily from Greece, Turkey, Italy, and Yugoslavia. 49% Protestant, 44.6% Roman Catholic, 6.4% other.
Who Rules-The Federal Parliament which is bicameral, consisting of the Federal Diet (Bundestag) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat). Members of the Diet are elected for a 4-year term; members of the Council are deputies of the governments in their respective states (Lander). The office of the President is insignificant compared to that of Chancellor, who is chosen by members of the majority party in the Federal Diet.
The equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court is broken down into a series of supreme courts for different case categories, e.g. for constitutional and jurisdictional questions, the court is in Karlsruhe; for labor problems, in Kassel; for fiscal matters, in Munich.
Who REALLY Rules-Since the departure of Konrad Adenauer, the 1st and continuous Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from its inception in 1949 to 1963, a coalition of forces has controlled Germany. During the Adenauer period it was indeed Chancellor Adenauer who ruled. The Germans have always liked strong, personal, authoritarian rulers and Adenauer was such a man. Since then, the coalition has wielded power. Big business and finance are strong partners in the coalition. Labor unions are relatively weak and undemanding.
Agriculture is a larger partner in the coalition than the principle of one-man one-vote would call for, but the Germans tolerate this in part because they subconsciously think back to the post-W.W. II days when there was nothing to eat. A great many Germans are overweight-indicating perhaps that big appetites permit the small agricultural minority to rule.
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