Germany

  • The Prospects of the Grand Coalition in Germany

    The pressure for reforms is similar in all established democracies, including Germany. This is true for all policies. Lower income caused by economic development and ageing societies is a burden on all budgets. ! is increases the pressure on political actors to speed up the decision-making process. In 2005 the grand coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD was welcomed by the German people. Many commentators assumed that the political deadlock would be overcome by the government of the two major parties. Because the second chamber (Bundesrat) is the major veto-player in the German federal system, the current CDU/CSU majority in the Bundesrat was a high hurdle for the former red-green government (1998 to 2005), as until 2006 about 80 percent of all laws had to pass the second chamber. This led to early elections. People hope that the grand coalition under Chancellor Angela Merkel will overcome this restriction, which the SPD-led government could not evade. 

  • Pamięć o 1945 roku z perspektywy 70. Lat w historiografii i publicystyce niemieckiej

    After World War Two, German historiography focused its attention on a few aspects:

    1) the resistance movement in Nazi Germany; 2) losses that Germans suffered from the Allies in the years 1943-45 (air raids, contributions, plunder, rapes and robbing);

    3) the occupation and 45-year long division of Germany. Only if the events were shown in this way, could Germans play the role of the victims instead of initiators of the war.

    The end of every decade after the fall of the Third Reich brought a discussion on the year 1945. A question was asked: Was it the end of German statehood or was it rather the beginning of a new stage on the way to a democratic state of free German countries?

    At the same time, East German historians argued with West German ones on the continuity of the German Reich after 1945. From 1951, it was the German Federal Republic that identified itself with the German Reich.

    Since the reunion of both German countries, the historiography of the new, joint German state has tried to show that the Third Reich was not rooted in German tra ditions, but was – as Ernst Nolte claimed – a „false link in the history of Germany”, and that the feeling of defeatism prevailed among Germans in 1945. It was social democrats and communists that were first to shake off that feeling. The contemporary German Federal Republic, does not feel responsible for the Third Reich, even though it is its legal heir.

    Summing up the positions of German historiography (in the years 1949-1990 of two German states – the German Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic), I believe that the escape from the Eastern Front, expelling Germans, unconditional surrender, and hardships of the post-war period were the direct result of the war started in 1939 by the German nation led by Adolf Hitler. The sooner Germans universally accept it, the more respected European nation they will become. They must also recognise the fact that after 700 years, history came full circle – both Polish and German peoples have returned to their roots – the times when their predecessors came as settlers and conquerors…

  • Nacionalnoe samosoznanie i integracionnye processy luzhickikh serbov v Germanskojj imperii Chast II: Ot pervojj mirov vojjny do nashikh dnejj (ot 1914 goda do nachala XXI v.)

    The First World War (1914–1918) was inextricably connected with regular conscription. Undoubtedly it had a huge impact on reducing the population of Sorbs in Germany. Their number decreased from 102 801 to 70 998 people between the censuses in 1910 and 1925. After World War I, Lusatia failed to become a country independent of the German Empire. On 7 October 1925 the national organizations of Sorbs united (Maćica Serbska, Domowina, Lusatian Alliance) and established the Wendish People’s Party, which on 26 January 1924 accessed the Association of National Minorities in Germany. The Association’s publication was the monthly “Kulturwille” (since January 1926 “Kulturwehr”), which was issued until 1938. Its editor was a Sorb – Jan Skala (1889–1945). The censuses of 1925 and 1933 claimed that nearly 73,000 Sorbs lived in Germany. Under Hitler all Sorbian associations were dissolved and in both parts of Lusatia more than 60 Sorb ian place names were removed and replaced by German ones. The years of World War II (1939–1945) is the most tragic period in the history of the Sorbs – a period of even worse persecutions, arrests, taking the Sorbs to the concentration camps, the destruction of their properties, the suppression of all forms of autonomy and selforganization. Freedom from Fascism was given to the Sorbs on 6 April 1945 by troops of First Ukrainian Front and the Polish Second Army. On 23 March 1948 – under pressure from the Soviet occupation authorities – the National Parliament of Saxony (Landtag) passed a law guaranteeing the rights of the Sorbs. GDR authorities sought to reduce the population of the Sorbs and the use of Sorbian language. Only after the absorption of the GDR by the FRG – called the second unification of Germany – on 3 October 1990, the Sorbian population began to use civil rights emerging from the Basic Law of the FRG. Currently about 60,000 Sorbs live in Germany, out of which 20,000 in Brandenburg (Protestants) speaking Lower Sorbian (similar to Polish), and 40,000 in Saxony (Catholics) speaking Upper Sorbian (similar to Czech). The majority are elderly people (60 and over). Younger generation speaks almost exclusively German.

  • POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND LEGAL TRANSFORMATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS RELATING TO NON-HETERONORMATIVE MEN IN GERMANY

    In the article below the authors analyse the political, social and legal revaluations of human rights relating to non-heteronormative men in Germany, from the rise of the German Empire (Zweites Reich) till contemporary times. What is important is not only a change in the mentality of the German society throughout the last hundred years, but also the fact that the legal system of the Federal Republic of Germany (Deutsche Bundesrepublik, BRD) was using a provision that had been created during the Nazi dictatorship and applied it to its own citizens. The authors of this article demonstrate that the social changes in the BRD in the second half of the 20th century were much faster than the amendment of the legal system; what is more, the BRD has not faced its Nazi past, failing to atone to homosexual men who had been persecuted on the basis of a Nazi legal provision, inherited and applied by a democratic state.

  • „Otwartość” państwa w warunkach kryzysu migracyjnego – przykład Polski, Czech i Niemiec. Ujęcie teoriopoznawcze

    Celem artykułu jest analiza zależności pomiędzy procesami migracyjnymi zachodzącymi na obszarze państwa a jego „otwartością”. Poziom „otwartości” zostaje zdeterminowany, w zaproponowanym ujęciu, ściśle określonym układem relacji zachodzących na linii religia – społeczeństwo – państwo, które prowadzą do ukształtowania jednego z trzech porządków: asymetrycznego (Polska), pozasymetrycznego (Czechy) i symetrycznego (Niemcy). Zestawienie oraz porównanie trzech sąsiadujących ze sobą krajów członkowskich Unii Europejskiej (metoda komparatystyczna i systemowa) pozwala na uchwycenie i potwierdzenie obustronnych zależności. Pokazuje, że skala i dynamika procesów migracyjnych staje się predyktorem „otwartości” współczesnych systemów demokratycznych. Zdecydowanie najwyższym poziomem tak definiowanej „otwartości” cechują się Niemcy, będące, z jednej strony, przykładem symetrycznego układu relacji religia – społeczeństwo –państwo, a z drugiej, architektem europejskiej polityki wobec masowych ruchów ludności z Bliskiego Wschodu i Afryki Północnej.

  • The Formation of Local Self-government During the System Transformation Period in Poland and the Former GDR: A Comparative Study

    This paper presents changes that have occurred at the local level in Poland and new German federal states during the process of the post-communist system transformation. The stages of rebuilding the local self-government and its structures are analyzed. The experiences of Poland and Eastern Germany – two states where the system transformation took different courses – were compared. At the same time, both countries have different constitutional orders of the unitary state and federal state, and this context are interesting fields for a comparative analysis. This paper also confronts the two methods of institution building – the importing of well-established institutions and developing them in the evolutionary way, where in both cases path a dependency can be well observed. In Germany this is considered a special case (Sonderfall) of institutional transformation, in which the key role was played by the transference of institutions, personnel and financial means. This was also done much quicker and in a more structured and comprehensive way than in Poland. In the case of Poland, the creation of local self-government structures or shaping the political actors was a grassroots and evolutionary process. This article points out the most important factors that had a crucial significance in the course and results of the transformation and explains different ways of developing the system of democratic local self-government.

  • Kryzys demokracji na wschodzie? Frekwencja wyborcza w nowych krajach związkowych RFN 25 lat po zjednoczeniu

    Zarówno w wyborach do Bundestagu, jak i parlamentów krajów związkowych, frekwencja na wschodzie Niemiec jest niższa niż na zachodzie. Jest to jedna z pochodnych innego rozwoju tej części państwa (obszar byłej NRD), a zarazem dowód na „niedokończone zjednoczenie”. W artykule porównano frekwencję wyborczą w obu częściach RFN, próbując nakreślić przyczyny rozbieżności.
    Mimo upływu lat różnice w poziomie frekwencji są widoczne. Należy to wiązać z innym wzorem zachowań politycznych na obszarze byłej NRD, innym postrzeganiem roli państwa w demokracji, demograficznymi następstwami zjednoczenia, jak i wyższym poziomem bezrobocia. Z kolei rozbieżności nie są zauważalne w wyborach do Parlamentu Europejskiego, co należy tłumaczyć mniejszym zainteresowaniem wyborców dla tego rodzaju elekcji.

  • Germany’s Arctic Policy – Between Economy and Ecology

    In the last years, as a result of climate changes, plenty of transformations have taken place in the High North. Consequently, ice cap of the Arctic is melting at a very fast pace, and that means significant rise of sea levels as well as decreasing animals’ habitats. On the other hand, disappearing Arctic ice is opening new areas of exploitation for humans. The Arctic might also soon become the world’s most important reservoir of clean water and food. The warming is leading to changes in ecosystems, arousing a number of enquiries about territorial division of the region, its preservation and utilisation. The changes taking place in the Arctic pose a challenge on many levels: economic, social, security, and environmental protection. First of all, economic (access to probably the biggest deposits of oil, gas and precious metals in the world) and ecological (environmental protection) interests are clashing there. The North Pole, although with varying intensity, is becoming present in foreign policies of many countries. On the Old Continent, it has been noticed by the whole European Union as well as particular countries. One of them is Germany. Germany is interested in the region from the economic and ecological perspective.

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