• The Federal Republic of Germany also known as West Germany was founded on May 23, 1949
  • Konrad Adenauer, Germany's first chancellor, implemented together with Ludwig Erhard a social market economy 

 The Federal Republic of Germany, also known as West Germany, was founded on May 23, 1949, with the proclamation of the Basic Law. Its capital was Bonn. The FRG evolved from "Trizonia," the American, British, and French occupation zones. The Basic Law forms the structure of the new German state, namely a nation of law, a parliamentary democracy, the separation of powers, and the civil rights for its citizens. West Germany is the direct predecessor of today's Germany, which was established in 1990 with the "Two Plus Four Agreement" and the act of Germany's reunification.


West Germany was highly shaped by its first chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, who was in office from 1949 to 1963. He ensured Germany's integration into the Western system as a sovereign country and implemented, together with his Secretary of Commerce, Ludwig Erhard, Germany's social market economy.


Adenauer focused on Germany's sovereignty which was achieved on May 5, 1955, with the "Paris Contracts". They officially ended Germany's occupation even though the Allied military stayed in the country due to the Cold War era. West Germany joined NATO one day later, and the rearmament of Germany was heralded in January 1956 with the formation of Germany's new military. The new German defense named Bundeswehr was equipped and supported by the United States and Great Britain. The new soldiers were introduced as "citizens in uniform," a slogan that became the democratic ideology of the German army.


The social market economy ensured an economic advancement that became known as Germany's economic miracle. The living standard of the common German rapidly increased. Another significant achievement of Adenauer was reconciliation with France in 1963.


The diplomatic relations with the German Democratic Republic (GDR) as West Germany's antagonist in the cold war era were made more stable by the Basic Treaty of 1973.

Sources / Quellenangabe:

Naumann, Günter. Deutsche Geschichte. Wiesbaden: marixverlag, 2018.