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The West German Elections: Economic Fears and the Deployment Debate


HARDLY TEN MONTHS AFTER THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC'S ELECtorate had renewed Helmut Schmidt's mandate for another four-year term in office on 5 October 1980, Time offered its readers a scenario that saw Schmidt stepping down as Chancellor by 1 September 1983: an SPD Convention had reneged on his government's commitment to deploy Pershing II and Cruise missiles on West German soil, should the Geneva arms-control talks fail. In a surprise return to the chancellorship, Willy Brandt succeeded in forming a new coalition government with the FDP. When Brandt, however, accepted a Soviet offer to negotiate a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe, Hans Dietrich Genscher's Free Democrats left the cabinet. With its economy deteriorating and the scope of its welfare system another volatile issue, the FRG was pictured as preparing for early, extraordinary elections.

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Kenneth Dyson , ‘The Problem of Morality and Power in the Politics of West Germany’, Government and Opposition, Vol. 16, No. 2, 1981, pp. 134f., 139f.

Harvey C. Mansfield , ‘The American Election: Towards Constitutional Democracy?’, Government and Opposition, Vol. 16, No. 1, 1981, p. 5f.

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Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
  • EISSN: 1477-7053
  • URL: /core/journals/government-and-opposition
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