How was life in 1973

30 German years: 1950 to 1980

The fifties

End and new beginning: In May 1945 the Nazi state capitulated. Twelve years of National Socialist dictatorship drove Europe into the abyss, brought about racial madness and cruel crimes, and killed almost 60 million people in the Second World War and in the extermination camps. The Allied victors divide Germany into four zones. The Western powers are promoting the building of a parliamentary democracy, the Soviet Union is paving the way for socialism in the east. The cold war begins. On May 23, 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in the West with the promulgation of the Basic Law. The first federal elections will take place on August 14, and Konrad Adenauer (CDU) will become Federal Chancellor. The German Democratic Republic (GDR) was founded in the "Eastern Zone" on October 7, 1949. Germany is thus effectively divided into East and West.

The young Federal Republic is closely tied to the western democracies: in 1951 it was one of the founding states of the coal and steel union, and in 1957 it was one of the six countries that signed the founding treaties of the European Economic Community - today's European Union - in Rome. In 1955, the Federal Republic of Germany joins the western defense alliance NATO. Economic and social stabilization is progressing rapidly: the social market economy, in conjunction with the currency reform of 1948 and the US Marshall Plan, brought about an economic upswing that was soon to be referred to as the "economic miracle". At the same time, the Federal Republic of Germany acknowledges its responsibility to the victims of the Holocaust: In 1952, Federal Chancellor Adenauer and Israel's Foreign Minister Scharett sign a reparation agreement. Social highlights: the victory at the Soccer World Cup in 1954 and the return of the last German prisoners of war from the Soviet Union in 1956.

The sixties

The Cold War is smoldering towards its climax: More and more refugees are leaving the GDR for the west. The "zone border" is then sealed off, and on August 13, 1961, the GDR government also closes the previously free access to West Berlin. She builds a wall through the city, and the border with the Federal Republic becomes a “death strip”: In the following 28 years, many people lose their lives trying to overcome it. US President Kennedy affirmed the American guarantee for the freedom of West Berlin in his grand speech in Berlin in 1963. It was an eventful year anyway: In January the Franco-German friendship treaty, the “Elysée Treaty”, was signed as an act of reconciliation . The "Auschwitz Trials" begin in Frankfurt am Main, and the Germans confront them intensely with their National Socialist past. In autumn, Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard (CDU), the “father of the economic miracle”, becomes Federal Chancellor after Adenauer's resignation.

Three years later, the Federal Republic is governed for the first time by a grand coalition of CDU / CSU and SPD: Kurt Georg Kiesinger (CDU) is Federal Chancellor, the deputy and foreign minister is Willy Brandt (SPD). The German economy flourished until the mid-1960s, with more than two million additional workers being recruited in southern Europe. Many of the “guest workers” stay permanently and bring their families to join them.

The second half of the sixties were shaped by the protest movement of students and intellectuals against the “encrusted structures” and the rigid order of values. It changes the political culture and society in West Germany permanently: Feminism, new ways of life, anti-authoritarian upbringing and sexual freedom, long hair, discussions, demonstrations, rebellion and new liberality - democracy in the Federal Republic is testing itself in many directions. The social changes of this time still have an effect today. In October 1969 an SPD politician becomes Federal Chancellor for the first time: Willy Brandt leads a social-liberal government that implements numerous internal reforms, from expanding the social network to improving the education system.

The seventies

Willy Brandt shows his respect for the victims of the Warsaw ghetto with a knee-fall. It is December 7, 1970 and the picture goes around the world. 25 years after the end of the Second World War, it becomes a symbol of Germany's plea for reconciliation. On the same day, Brandt signs the German-Polish agreement. As part of the Eastern Treaty, it lays the foundation for a new peace architecture. Brandt wants Adenauer's successful connection to the West to open up to Eastern Europe: “Change through rapprochement”. In March 1970, the first German-German summit between Brandt and the chairman of the GDR Council of Ministers, Willi Stoph, took place in Erfurt in the GDR. In 1971 Willy Brandt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his policy of understanding with the states of Eastern Europe. In the same year, with the Four Power Agreement, the Soviet Union recognized that West Berlin actually belonged to the economic, social and legal order of the Federal Republic. It came into force together with the Eastern Treaties in 1972 and eased the situation in divided Berlin. In 1973 the Federal Republic and the GDR agreed in the basic treaty that they would establish “normal good neighborly relations” with one another. Also in 1973 both German states became members of the United Nations. After a GDR spy in his immediate vicinity was exposed, Willy Brandt resigned as Chancellor in 1974. His successor is Helmut Schmidt (SPD). The oil crisis has shaped the country economically since 1973.

The seventies are a decade of external peace, but troubled internally: The terrorists of the Red Army Faction (RAF) around Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof want to shake the state, economy and society through attacks and kidnappings. In 1977 the terror was at its height - at the end there was the suicide of the leading terrorists in custody.