Democratization can be defined as transition from one political regime which is not democratic or less democratic to a fully democratic regime or partly democratic regime. The main aim for democratization is to ensure that the citizens have rights to voice out their ideas in the state mostly through voting. It is affected by various factors like economic factors, political factors, history of the country and civil society. Also, for democratization to be effective the people have to be actively involved to decide on what they want. This paper will critically discuss the democratization process in Germany after the Second World War which ended in 1945.
After the Second World War a lot had happened in Germany and for the situation to be returned to normal the powers involved had to do a lot. Just as British field marshal Montgomery said, they had won the German war but they had to device ways of winning the peace. Winning the peace was the difficult part of the whole experience and it had to involve democratization of German. Democracy cannot be forced on a people and they have to agree on it by themselves. Trying to make the Germans see sense in what the British wanted for them was not easy since they had lost the war. Most of the Germans felt no other nation wanted what is good for them and this worsened the situation. The oppositions made the whole exercise not too easy to deal with.
By the end of the Second World War Germany was divided into four parts which were politically controlled by the victorious Allies that is United States of America, Britain, France and the Soviet Union. The four political powers made the decisions on the four parts of Germany but governed them differently. In 1947, Britain and the United States joined their two parts to become one, which they called Bizone. This was an economic unit but politically they were two separate entities. Later in 1949, the part governed by France joined the two and together they formed a political entity called the Federal Republic that is the West Germany under British, France and the United States. The other part was called the German Democratic Republic or the East Germany and was governed by the Soviet Union.
The state of Germany after the Second World War
In 1945 after the Second World War Germany was a total mess. Many of her towns for instance Cologne and Dusseldorf were uninhabitable and totally destroyed. People couldnt live in these places and they had to move and look for habitable places. In the other parts of the country people were moving to their homes which they had left in the course of the war in fear of the soldiers. Some of the places where they got back to became inhabitable while others were totally inhabitable. Many people were homeless, trying to get back to their homes that were still there or no longer existed. Weil, Frederick D (1987: 320) described the situation in Germany as hundreds of thousands of Germans were tramping in all the directions..as if a massive ant-heap had been provoked. The other nations most of all Britain had to look for ways of helping these Germans who were homeless and probably finding it hard to survive.
Moreover, many German soldiers were wounded and they also needed to be attended to. Many people were internally displaced in their own country and had nowhere they could call home (Turner, Ian D, 1987: 227). Turner has provided clear evidence from the description of the refugees who had come to Germany. According to Turner, there were also refugees from Czechoslovakia and Poland who had run from their homes and they were now in the German soils, still needing help from the allied powers. German had no functioning communication system or transport system. The economy of the country was adversely affected and the businesses had collapsed during the war (Turner, Ian D, 1987: 227).
In addition, starvation was the order of the day for the refugees and the internally displaced Germany civilians or also the ones moving to their homes. The agricultural sector had been affected just like the other sectors and the levels of production at this time were little. Also, the industries in Germany were non-functional so people could not get jobs or benefit from the industries in any way. Also, many diseases were affecting the people and there were no functional health facilities. There were also no health professionals who were well trained to help the people. Many social institutions were not available like health centers, schools, and churches and so forth. For the reconstruction of Germany, a positive mind set had to be adopted by all the people involved as blaming the Germans would only worsen the situation.
The other nations that were trying to raise Germany had a lot to do, not only to Germanys fate but all the nations (Merritt, Anna J., and Richard L. Merritt, 1970). The authors have argued that mistakes made after the First World War had to be corrected and prevented from recurring. Firstly, they had to prevent an occurrence of another world war, since the mechanisms used after the First World War had failed to work. Moreover, law and order had to be re-established in Germany and the social problems like disease epidemics, food shortages and starvations needed to be addressed (Elster, Jon, 2006). Merritt, Anna J. and Richard L. Merritt have not provided enough explanation to what extent or how the country was to change. However, Elster, Jon has provided specific direction to which the country was to adopt. According to Elster (2006), the country needed to analyse the situation of the country first. This time, Germany was experiencing a lot of challenges and therefore, it required serious analysis of the countrys situation. Elster begins by identifying the major challenges that Germany was undergoing at the moment.
Democracy in post war Germany.
By the end of the Second World War reestablishment of political parties was one of the main concerns of the allied forces. First Germany was divided into four parts but later Britain, France and the United States merged to form one side, so Germany was divided into two. After dividing Germany into two the powers were working on establishment of political parties which could bring with them some democracy.
The soviet zone that is the East Germany was the first to have political parties. On 10th June 1945 a directive was given to Germany requiring them to establish political parties. East Germany responded first by forming the first political party. This party was however not democratic and was the democracy that was advocated for was far from what was being experienced.
Political parties in East Germany.
The first political party to be formed in East Germany was Communist Party of Germany (KPD) which was established in 1945, June the 11th. This political party lasted for a long time in Moscow. Shortly after this, another political party by the name Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) was formed, headed by Otto Grotewohl. After the formation of SPD Soviet Union realized that SPD had become more popular than KPD it forced the two political parties to merge and be one party.
The party that the two parties was called the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. This party was majorly controlled by the Soviet Union. They held the upper hand in the leadership and controlled most dealings in the party. A lot of resistance was gotten after the merge of the two political parties. The main part of Germany that was resisting the merge was from the western zones. These were led by Kurt Schumacher who was an activist. Due to this resistance, the establishment of SPD in the western zone was made possible (Weil, Frederick D, 1987: 331). According to Weil, the political parties played important role in bringing the country in democratic state.
SED was by then trying to be democratic and tried to involve its members participation. This was made to create a democratic Image to the public. It was showing its democratic tendencies by involving its members in most of what they were doing. They encouraged the members to actively participate in the party activities. This was not genuine however, but was meant to show a certain image to the public about the party. They also competed with the other parties in any type of election.
In 1946 however, land elections were held and the SED failed to get majority of the votes. This made them to drop their democratic tendencies and sought other methods of establishing a grip with the people. Its leaders formed Anti-Fascist Bloc which was made up of all the political parties. The main function of this was to assure all the political parties democracy in the soviet zone. SED had veto power and could grant or veto any suggestion from the other parties according to their demands. Any new party that was formed was made to follow what the SED felt due to the new policies that they put into place. The other political parties that existed included the Christian Democratic Union which was made up of the middle class in the society while the other party was Liberal Democratic Party of Germany, which represented the liberal people.
Moreover, there existed some other groups with no political parties. As such, other parties like The Democratic Peasants Party of Germany which was formed in 1946 to cater for their needs. This party was formed to organize farmers for the proposed land reform. Thus this party was made up mostly by farmers and was initially meant for land issues which were pending. The land reforms were to involve a lot of nationalizations and this was shifted to the party to ensure the nationalization process was successful.
The other party was National Democratic Peasants Party of Germany. It comprised of veterans and a good number of those who had been members of the National Socialist Germany Workers Party, where Adolf Hitler had belonged. This partys majority of the members had right wing views.
Among the political parties there existed some differences on how they were managed and the ideologies that they had. The SDP for instance did not operate in the same way in all the parts. For example in the western zones SPD was seriously anticommunist. On the eastern zones however, SPD was communist. These differences brought about bitter hostility between the communists during the Weimar republic.
SPD leaders were committed to improve the standards of living of the working class through parliamentary democracy. Though anti-communist, they followed the Marxist ideas of a socialist society. They were also under a socialist government, something they didnt seem to mind much. Moreover they were serving a Marxist economy and did appreciate that. The party leadership saw the party as Marxist and worked well for the Marxist society that they were working for.
The Christian conservatives, both Catholics and Protestants also former their own democratic party in 1945. This comprised of those who did not support communism or capitalism but had strong traditional believes in religion. They formed many unions with different names but at long last they agreed on one name, Christian Democratic Union. The union at first had some influence on the conservative movement since its members participated in the same. They had no problem with personal or individual ownership of property but advocated for the state to control the industries and manage them.
This dictatorial control of East Germany by the Soviet Union did nothing good but made the people poor and depended on the government for everything. From the year 1949 to 1955, East Germany underwent what was called the period of Stalinization. A democratic federal republic was established. Two chambers were created, the States Chamber and the Peoples Chamber. The constitution stated that the peoples chamber was the highest body in the stat...
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