West Germany

West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland [ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant] (listen), BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and German reunification through the accession of East Germany on 3 October 1990. During this Cold War period, the western portion of Germany and West Berlin were parts of the Western Bloc. West Germany was formed as a political entity during the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Its provisional capital was the city of Bonn, and West Germany is retrospectively designated as the Bonn Republic.[3]

Federal Republic of Germany
Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Motto: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
"Unity and Justice and Freedom"
Ich hab' mich ergeben
"I have surrendered myself"

Das Lied der Deutschena
"Song of the Germans"
Territory of West Germany (dark green) and the associated territory of West Berlin (light green) from the accession of the Saar on 1 January 1957 to German reunification on 3 October 1990
Largest cityHamburg
Official languagesGerman
See Religion in West Germany
Demonym(s)West German
GovernmentFederal parliamentary republic
 1949–1959 (first)
Theodor Heuss
 1984–1990 (last)
Richard von Weizsäcker
 1949–1963 (first)
Konrad Adenauer
 1982–1990 (last)
Helmut Kohl
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 GDR
21 December 1972
 Admitted to the UN
18 September 1973
12 September 1990
3 October 1990
248,717 km2 (96,030 sq mi)
254/km2 (657.9/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)1990 estimate
~$1.0 trillion (4th)
CurrencyDeutsche Marke (DM) (DEM)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 Summer (DST)
Calling code+49
Internet TLD.de
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Allied-occupied Germany
Saar Protectorate
Federal Republic of Germany (reunified Germany)g
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.[1]
  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 Statistisches Bundesamt.[2]
  5. In 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 form.

At the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided between the Western and Eastern blocs. Germany was de facto divided into two countries and two special territories, the Saarland and a divided Berlin. 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.[4]

Three southwestern states of West Germany merged to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952, and the Saarland joined West Germany in 1957. In addition to the resulting ten states, West Berlin was considered an unofficial de facto eleventh state. While legally not part of West Germany, as Berlin was under the control of the Allied Control Council, West Berlin politically aligned 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 third-largest economy. The first chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who remained in office until 1963, worked for a full alignment with 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 territories took action to achieve German reunification. East Germany voted to dissolve and accede to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990. Its 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 former 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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