Social Change and the Decline of Adenauer - Germany

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  • Social Change and the Decline of Adenauer
    • The impact of the Second World War
      • Cities had been damaged, properties lost and 25% of the population was fatherless
      • Women were forced back into their domestic roles because cheap labour was available again from the Eastern Zones
      • There was 12-13 million Eastern refugees, and, alongside Gastarbeiter (guest workers), they were cheap labour
      • Adenauer won the support of those who lost their possessions in the war through the 1952 Equalisation f Burdens Act
      • The Equalisation of Burdens Act introduced a tax on property and funds not affected by the war - redistribution occurred for those who suffered the most
    • Affluence
      • Adenauer focused on "building up" for the future. There was still an unequal distribution of wealth
      • There were housing improvements - 430,000 houses were built in 1952 and 4 million in 1957. Wages had risen 400% between 1949 and 1963
      • Welfare was available with pensions and an insurance-based health and welfare system. These improvements ended any communist appeal and helped to create the image of the Spiessburger - characteristic if the FRG
      • There was little social change. The old elites dominated. However, by the 1960s, new tensions emerges as economic growth lessened.
      • There was a growing electoral support for right-wing groups at a local level and unrest from the left. This was the new wave of youths with new cultural ideas
    • Reintegration of former Nazis
      • Employing Nazis
        • Former Nazi civil servants regained the jobs they lost during de-Nazification through Law 131
        • 40-80% of civil servants were former Nazis. They also continued working in the judiciary and universities
        • Pensions could be claimed for service to the former Nazi state. Nazis were not aliemated
        • Adenauer employed a former Nazi as his personal adviser
        • The  polices meant that few felt shame or fear; however, in 1958, an office to investigate war crimes oppened
      • Before the FRG was established reintegration had occurred. By the 1940s, de-Nazification was meaningless
      • The government compensated the victims of the Nazis, but most Nazis were exonerated. The need to care for war victims and refugees was balanced agains reponsibilities to survivors
    • The decline of Adenauer
      • Adenauer did not run for president in 199 His withdrawal damaged his image and reputation, which was reinforced by his failure to intervene over the Berlin Wall
      • In 1962, Der Spiegel criticised the readiness of the German defence forces. The defence minister misled the Bundestag
      • The government appears to silence the magazine by raiding its offices and arresting some journalists. his provoked an outcry that the Government was acting like a dictatorship. Adenauer resigned


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