Governance system in Germany post world war – II

The authority and structure of Germany’s government post world war – II had roots in the country’s constitution, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), which came into force on May 23, 1949, after formal approval to the establishment of the Federal Republic (then known as West Germany) given by the military governments of the Western occupying powers (France, the United States,and the United Kingdom) and upon the nod of the parliaments of the Länder (states) to form the Bund (federation). West Germany then included 11 states and West Berlin, which was granted the special status of a state without voting rights. As an interim solution until an anticipated reunification with the eastern sector, the capital was established in the small university town of Bonn. On October 7, 1949, the Soviet zone of occupation was converted into a separate, nominally sovereign country (under Soviet hegemony), called formally the German Democratic Republic (and popularly as East Germany). The five federal states within the Soviet zone ceased to exist and they were reorganized into 15 administrative districts (Bezirke), of which the Soviet sector of Berlin became the capital.

Full sovereignty was attained only gradually in West Germany; many controls and prerogatives, including those of direct intervention, were retained by the Western powers and entrusted to the West German government only as it was able to become politically and economically stable. West Germany finally attained full sovereignty on May 5, 1955.

East Germany viewed its separation from the rest of Germany as total, but West Germany regarded its eastern neighbour as an illegally constituted state until the 1970s, when finally the doctrine of “two German states in one German nation” was developed. Gradual understandings between the two governments helped regularize the abnormal situation, especially concerning transportation,travel, and the status of West Berlin as an exclave of the Federal Republic. The disbanding of the communist bloc in the late 1980s opened the way to German unification.

As a pre-condition for unification and its amalgamation into the Federal Republic, East Germany was required to reconstitute the five historical states of Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia. As states of the united Germany, they accepted administrative, educational, judicial, and social structures analogous and parallel to those in the states of former West Germany. East and West Berlin were reunited and now form a single state. With the nation’s unification on October 3, 1990, all remnants of the Federal Republic’s qualified status as a sovereign state were voided. For instance, Berlin was no longer technically occupied territory, with final authority vested in the military governors.

German constitution established a parliamentary system of governance that incorporated quite a few features of the British system; nevertheless, since the Basic Law created a federal system, unlike the UK’s unitary one, many political structures were borrowed from the models of the United States and other federal governments. In response to the centralization of power during the Nazi era, the Basic Law gave the states substantial autonomy. Apart from federalism, the Basic Law has two other features akin to the Constitution of the United States: (1) declaration of the principles of human rights and (2) the extremely independent position of the courts.

 

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