West German federal election, 1949

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Peter the Lefty:
      Germany is occupied and divided, and three quarters of it have been organized into the Federal Republic of Germany.  The other quarter, in what is now the Northeast of a hypothetical unified German state, is in the process of becoming a Soviet satellite state.  Denazification is well underway, though it has been denounced by many as a "witch hunt" which has weakened the strength of the civil service in all parts of Germany.  Bread lines, poverty, and deindustrialization of the Ruhr have created an atmosphere similar to that of the late Weimar era.  

      The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), which had dominated the political scene of the Weimar Republic, has seen its ban lifted by the authorities and elected Kurt Schumacher as its new chairman.  The new SPD is significantly more left-wing than it was during its Weimar-era incarnation.  It is calling for the nationalization of the coal mines, the wartime factories of the Ruhr region (and a halt to their dismantling), the steel industry, the automobile companies, and all other industries of the country, whose bosses Schumacher blames for helping to create the conditions for the NSDAP's rise to power in the first place.  Schumacher is also running on opposition to the alliance with the United States, Britain, and France, while also vehemently denouncing the Communists (whom he once called "red-painted Nazis.")  He is promising to keep the Federal Republic of Germany neutral in the emerging stand-off between the Americans and the Soviets, saying not only that both sides are too flawed to chose between, but also that a guarantee of a neutral Germany might be enough for Moscow to consent to a unification of the country.  A presidential system is also supported in the SPD's election program.  Schumacher is quite revered by the left, for he was among the few active opponents of the Nazis who remained in Germany throughout the Nazi era, and spent the majority of it in a concentration camp.  His right arm, which was lost in the first World War, and his left leg, which had to be removed as a result of an infection received during his long internment, both serve as a reminder of his devotion to his country and to his ideals.  Others denounce him as an uncompromising demagogue whose socialist and neutralist programs would jeopardize Marshall Plan aid from the United States.

      Unlike the Weimar era, which saw the conservative vote perpetually split along sectarian lines, the first free elections after 1932 will see a unified Christian vote.  The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which hasn't even been officially formed yet as a party (and is competing as a "working group" in this election), has appeared to usurp most of the politicians and voting groups that had once belonged to both the Catholic Center Party and the Protestant (and far more right wing, pun totally intended) German National People's Party, though its leaders are drawn predominantly from the former.  Some members of the former German National People's Party are also present.  While not merging with the already-existing Christian Social Union (CSU), an exclusively Bavarian party, the CDU has formed an electoral alliance with it.  The values espoused by the "Union" include a humanistic, nonsectarian interpretation of Christian Democracy, a regulated capitalist economy, a social welfare system, NATO membership, and a parliamentary form of government.  Its campaign has been backed heavily by the Americans and the French, both politically and financially.  For its leader, the party has selected former Cologne mayor Konrad Adenauer, whose clashes with the British occupiers have made him something of a hero to many who don't wish to see a puppet state.  On several occasions, he's been attacked by the left for his record in Cologne, where he was quite slow to react to the growing threat of the Nazis, and instead focused on the Communists.  His ability to live freely throughout most of the war thanks to his efforts to win favor with the Nazi regime through personal letters has also come under fire.  Yet he has apparently succeeded in uniting conservative forces of all stripes and sects in his new will-be party, and is clearly the preferred choice of the Allies to become the leader of this new state.  However, some say his closeness to the Western Allies (sans Britain) will be a hindrance to any efforts he may make (if he in fact does so) towards unification with the East.  

      The Free Democratic Party (FDP) is also a newly-founded party which is proving quite competitive in this election, though it is not expected to become the largest or second-party in the first Bundestag.  The group is something of a hodgepodge of classical liberals, neoliberals, left-liberals, national liberals, non-Marxist leftists, and a few former members of a mysterious and obscure now-disbanded political party known as the National Socialist German Workers' Party.  Whatever that was.  No one knows for sure.  Anyways, having briefly been lead by the former social liberal Theodor Heuss, it is now lead by the bank manager and businessman Franz Blücher.  The party's program voices staunch support for separation of church and state, civil liberties, parliamentary democracy, a free-market economy, and social justice (yes, I found their 1949 wahlprogramm, and it actually says this).  Mentions of denazification are absent, though it is no secret that the party hopes to end the purges of many of its own members from the political scene.

      The Communist Party of Germany (KPD) is lucky to be taking part in this election, due to both its unpopularity (stemming from human rights violations in the East) and the Allied control over party licensing.  It is, expectedly, running on a platform of bringing the French, British, and American zones into the GDR.  Dictatorship of the proletariat, friendship with "Uncle Joe" and the USSR, all of that.  

      The Bavarian Party (BP) is yet another newly-formed party which is only running in Bavaria.  Like the FDP, it is something of a big tent party.  In its ranks are Bavarian separatists, autonomists, and former CSU-members disappointed with their old party's decision to ally with the CDU, which they view as too moderate, too Protestant-friendly, and too non-Bavarian.  There is, it appears, one uniting factor: Bavarian regionalism of one sort or another.

      The German Party (DP) had been founded as a successor to the pre-war German-Hanoverian Party, which had served as a regionalist force for what had been the Kingdom of Hanover, though it has been attempting to expand into neighboring states.  Its platform includes opposition to any regulation of the free market economy and land reform.  It has also utilized nationalist, or völkisch, positions to expand their appeal among the base of voters whose preferred far-right party has been dissolved by the Allies.  Of course, we don't know what that party's name was.  But the DP does seek to represent those who fought in the Wehrmacht and the SS during that era between 1933 and 1945 which no one seems to know anything about.  

      The Center Party (DZP) still exists and is competing in this election, though it appears to have seen its Catholic conservative base evaporate in the regional elections of 1946.  The promise of a unified conservative political force has enticed conservatives of both religions factions to drop their hostility to each other.  Having dominated the Catholic Conservative vote during the pre-war era, the vast majority of the party's former politicians (who kept their hands clean during the Nazizeit), including Adenauer, have bolted to the CDU.  Northern Catholics (especially in NRW), who appear reluctant to join state CDU parties due to their domination by Protestants, have remained the only remaining significant bloc of supporters of the DZP.  

Peter the Lefty:
      The Economic Reconstruction Union (WAV) is a party whose existence is limited to Bavaria.  It is lead by Munich Lawyer Alfred Loritz, a Catholic monarchist who is casting himself as the only true voice of the new internal refugees, while still strongly supporting denazification.  Nonetheless, his demagogic style of speaking and populistic appeal has invoked many images of Hitler among the German population.  It doesn't help that both of them are/were from Munich.  

      The German Right Party (DRP) was founded as a successor to the old Protestant Conservative DNVP, whose nationalist, monarchist, conservative, and occasionally anti-Semitic rhetoric had made it strong amongst what would be the Nazi power base.  Therefore, since the Nazi Party (and Nazi ideology) was now illegal, most of those who remained loyal to National Socialism were now, it seemed, begrudgingly in this party's column.  The development lead many of the party's more moderate members and supporters switch to the DP.  The group is in an alliance with the Community of Independent Germans in this election, and is the group is on the ballot as the German Conservative Party–German Right Party (DKP–DRP).  

      The Radical Social Freedom Party (RSF) is another of many parties formed in the post-war era.  It considers itself committed to the notion of "free money" in accordance to Silvio Gesell's theory, as well as the abolition of certain private properties.  A basic monetary rent-payment is promised to mothers with its amount being dependent upon the individual mother's number of children.  It promises to keep the state out of all economic and personal matters (including marriage).  The party supports a decentralized, democratic federal government, the removal of all national borders, and complete freedom of movement and goods.  Yet its economic theories are untested, and many consider experiments to be the last thing Germany needs right now.  Traditional leftists are sticking with the SPD, whose economic policies are proving durable in the United Kingdom, while civil libertarians appear to be lining up behind the FDP. 

      The new South Schleswig Voter Federation (SSW) has also been founded quite recently, though it is already finding great success in the far Northern regions of Germany–er, well, depending on how you view it.  The group represents the interests of the Danish-speaking minority within current German borders, and its main goal is the re-adjustment of the border so as to give their territory back to Denmark.
      The Gathering to Action (SzT) is the best way I can translate the Sammlung zur Tat's name.  It was founded this year by a former SPD member, Karl Steinfeld.  The party has a very vague platform, which can best be described as a synthesis of socialism, right-wing style (or völkisch) nationalism, and populism.  It advocates national unity, a state-owned (but "community-governed") economy, gender equality, and neutrality in what many see as an inevitable face-off between the West and the USSR.  

      The Rhinish-Westphalian People's Party (RWVP) is yet another separatist party partaking in this election, though it also incorporates many elements that could better be described as "regionalist" rather than separatist.  Nonetheless, it advocates the recreation of the short-lived Rhenish Republic.  Its presence has been used to remind many voters of Adenauer's flirtation with Rhenish separatism during the Weimar era while he was Mayor of Cologne, though he now denies any identification with the Palatinate independence movement.  

      One other thing I should make note of: No one is happy with the division of Germany, and all of the non-separatist/regionalist parties are promising its reunification, under one flag or another.  Yet there is one very touchy issue that might arise if Germany's first postwar Chancellor (or President) succeeds: the boundaries that this hypothetical state will include.  The loss of much former territory in the East to the Poles is a source of bitterness for many Germans, and every party save the KPD is vowing to push for the inclusion of this eastern swath of territory in a hypothetical united Germany.  This could lead the new Federal Republic on a collision course with both the Western Allies and the USSR.  

CDU, enthusiastically.

Lief 🐋:

Quote from: RogueBeaver on November 16, 2013, 06:31:59 pm

CDU, enthusiastically.


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