31 March 2010

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Important Facts about Germany – Part One

Important Facts about Germany – Part One
Reality Views by sm -
In short history and Political system of Germany -
1. On 25 December 800, Charlemagne founded the Carolingian Empire, which was divided in 843. The medieval empire resulted from the eastern portion of this division and existed in varying forms from 962 until 1806.

2. The “Golden Bull” issued by Charles IV in 1356 was a form of Imperial constitution.

3. Following the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Congress of Vienna convened in 1814 and founded the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund), a loose league of 39 sovereign states.

4. Revolutions of 1848 in the German states. The monarchs initially yielded to the revolutionaries' liberal demands. King Frederick William IV of Prussia was offered the title of Emperor, but with a loss of power; he rejected the crown and the proposed constitution

5. Germany's imperialism reached outside of its own country and joined many other powers in Europe in claiming their share of Africa. The Berlin Conference divided Africa between the European powers. Germany owned several pieces of land in Africa including German East Africa, South-West Africa, Togo, and Cameroon.

6. The assassination of Austria's crown prince on 28 June 1914 triggered World War I.

7. 1914–1918: World War I - Emperor Wilhelm II isolates Germany from its neighbors and leads the country into the catastrophe of the First World War, which costs the lives of almost 15 million people. In June 1919 the Treaty of Versailles is signed, ending the war

8. The German Revolution broke out in November 1918, and Emperor William II and all German ruling princes abdicated

9. The revolution came to an end in August 1919, when the Weimar Republic was formally established. The Weimar Constitution came into effect with its signing by President Friedrich Ebert on 11 August 1919.

10. Nevertheless, discontentment with the new Weimar government helped fuel the growth of the German Communist Party.

11. on 30 January 1933, seeing little alternative and pushed by right-wing advisors, von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany

12. An Enabling Act passed in parliament gave Hitler unrestricted legislative power.

13. 1939: Start of the Second World War - Through his invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 Hitler unleashes the Second World War

14. 1945: The Second World War ends - The capitulation of the German Wehrmacht between May 7–9, 1945 ends the Second World War in Europe. The four Allies divide the country into four occupation zones and Berlin into four sectors

15. 1948: Blockade of Berlin - The introduction of the deutschmark in the Western occupation zones prompts the Soviet Union on June 14, 1948 to cut off access to West-Berlin. The Allies respond with an airlift dropping supplies to the population in West Berlin until September 1949

16. In Germany first democracy failed, namely Weimar republic and Nazi dictatorship.

17. The political system of Federal Republic of Germany represents the second democratic system.

18. In 1949 Germany was divided and in two parts and in the year 1990 Germany was again unified, became one state, one nation.

19. 1949: Birth of the Federal Republic of Germany - On May 23, 1949 the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany is proclaimed in Bonn. The first parliamentary elections are held on August 14. Konrad Adenauer (CDU) is elected Chancellor. On October 7, 1949 the division between East and West is completed when the Constitution of the German Democratic Republic comes into force

20. Before German unification in 1990 the Federal Republic consisted initially of ten states, and later, after the reintegration of Saarland as of January 1, 1957, of 11 states, which were established in the zones occupied by the Western Powers (USA, Great Britain, and France). In the Soviet-occupied zone, too, at the end of the War five states were formed in the territory which later became the GDR, but in 1952 these were transformed into a total of 14 districts (Bezirke). After the first free elections on March 18, 1990, it was decided to create five new states on GDR territory

21. After it had been approved by the Parliamentary Council, the Basic Law came into force on May 23, 1949. It sets out the fundamental legal and political order for the Federal Republic of Germany.

22. The German political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1949 constitutional document known as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law).

23. Based on the Bonn-Berlin Act, adopted by the parliament on 10 March 1994, Berlin once again became the capital of the reunified Germany, while Bonn obtained the unique status of a Bundesstadt (federal city) retaining some federal ministries. The relocation of the government was completed in 1999.

24. The capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, G8, G20, OECD, and the WTO.

25. German federal state consists of a central Federal Government and 16 federal states.

26. The Federal Republic of Germany covers an area of 357,022 square kilometers. The longest distance from north to south as the crow flies is 876 kilometers, and from west to east, 640 kilometers. There are some 82.6 million people living in Germany

27. Basic Law lays down representative democracy as the form of rulership.

28. All state authorities are subject to judicial control.

29. According to the Basic Law, culture is the responsibility of the individual federal states.

30. Freedom of the press and speech has been the common property of everyone and protected by the Constitution.

31. Article 5 of the Basic Law expresses how the Constitution interprets the freedom of the press: “Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. There shall be no censorship.”

32. Germany is a Federal state, in other words the ruling authorities are divided up into a number of member states and the central state.

33. Basic law is supreme; the new constitution can not take away the basic rights.

34. Political Parties are reimbursed the costs they incur in their respective election campaign. All elections are held on Sunday.

35. Article 21 of the Basic Law places certain restrictions on the ideological orientation of political parties: "Parties which, by reason of their aims or the behavior of their adherents, seek to impair or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional.

36. Federal Constitutional Court has a power to ban the Political parties which are danger to the Democracy or Parties whose commitment to democracy is in doubt. In the history few political parties were banned.

37. Germany names of important political parties are as follows
38. Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU)
39. Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)
40. Free Democratic Party (FDP)

41. The Basic Law creates a dual executive but grants most executive authority to the federal chancellor, as head of government, rather than to the president, who acts as head of state. The president has largely ceremonial functions. The Basic Law does not accord the Federal President a right of veto

42. The Federal President remains in office for a period of five years; he can be re-elected only once.

43. Germany has a bicameral parliament.

44. The two chambers are the Bundestag (Federal Diet or lower house) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council or upper house).

45. The Bundestag is the German parliament. Its elected representatives are organized in parliamentary parties and select a President from among them. It is the function of the Bundestag to elect the Federal Chancellor and keep him in office through support for his policies.

46. The Bundestag’s expert Parliamentary Committees discuss the bills introduced to Parliament in great detail

47. Both chambers can initiate legislation, and most bills must be approved by both chambers, as well as the executive branch, before becoming law.

48. The federal government consists of the chancellor and his or her cabinet ministers.

49. Every four years, after national elections and the seating of the newly elected Bundestag members, the federal president nominates a chancellor candidate to that parliamentary body; the chancellor is elected by majority vote in the Bundestag.

50. Under the German electoral system each voter has two votes, the first of which is for a candidate in his or her constituency, the second for a state list of candidates put up by a particular party. The number of seats a party holds in the Bundestag is determined by the number of valid second votes it receives.

51. The second ballot or vote is cast for a particular political party. These second votes determine each party's share of the popular vote.

52.A proportional representation system distributes legislative seats based on a party's percentage of the popular vote. For example, if a party wins 15 percent of the popular vote, it receives 15 percent of the seats in the Bundestag. If a party wins more constituency seats than it is entitled to according to its share of the vote in the second ballot, the party retains those seats, and the size of the Bundestag is increased. This was the case in both the 1990 and 1994 federal elections. After the 1990 election, the total number of seats in the Bundestag rose from 656 to 662. In 1994 sixteen extra seats were added, leading to a 672-member Bundestag

53. The electoral law stipulates that a party must receive a minimum of 5 percent of the national vote, or three constituency seats, in order to get any representation in the Bundestag.The 5 percent clause was crafted to prevent the proliferation of small extremist parties

54. Germany holds no by-elections; if Bundestag deputies resign or die in office, the next candidate on the party’s list in the appropriate Land automatically succeeds them.

55. Germany is divided into 328 electoral districts with roughly 180,000 voters in each district. Half of the Bundestag members are directly elected from these districts. Normally in Germany voter turnout is always more than 80 percent sometimes it was even more than 90 percent.In Germany voting is not compulsory .

56. In Germany it is very difficult for the single party to form the government, normally its always alliance of parties, coalition of parties.

57. Half the 598 seats in the Bundestag are allocated by means of the parties’ state lists (the second vote) and the other half by the direct election of candidates in the 299 constituencies (the first vote).

58. As a rule, in the Bundestag no one party has a clear majority. For this reason a coalition, in other words an alliance of various parties is normally necessary to be able to elect a Chancellor.

Below is the link to the Part 2 - Important Facts about Germany -



Admin April 03, 2010  

Hi SM, thanks for the info. very useful and informative.

sm,  April 04, 2010  


Dipika,  May 18, 2010  

very useful and informative