German Election, 1957

August 21, 1957

Report Outline
World Interest in West German Balloting
Election Rules, Parties, and Platforms
International Issues in German Election
Special Focus

World Interest in West German Balloting

Importance of Coming Vote to East and West

As the voters of West Germany get ready to go to the polls on Sept. 15 to elect a new federal legislature, leaders of the world's two great power blocs await the outcome with keenest interest. The strategic position, industrial strength, and developing military strength of the Federal Republic make it potentially the most powerful nation on the continent of Europe west of the Iron Curtain. As such, the make-up of its government is a matter of greatest importance to both the free world and the Communist world. The United States has gone out of its way, in a discreet manner, to do what it can to assure the continuance in power of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his Christian Democrats, who have proved staunch allies of the West. The Soviet Union has made clear its hope that the Adenauer government will be replaced by a regime more amenable to overtures from the East.

The opposition Social Democratic (Socialist) Party, headed by Erich Ollenhauer, has long insisted that Moscow must be approached with more understanding if divided Germany ever is to be reunited. The party's spokesmen in the current campaign have been accusing the Adenauer government of not trying hard enough to bring about reunification. If the Socialists should win the election, they could be expected to attempt to effect some change in Germany's position in the Western alliance—just how great a change is not clear. Consequently, a Socialist victory or near victory would in all probability make it necessary to re-evaluate Germany's role as the forward bastion of NATO.

U.S. Efforts to Promote an Adenauer Victory

To help the Christian Democrats, Washington has made Adenauer and other high German officials welcome in this country; both independently and in conjunction with its allies, it has assured Bonn of unflagging support for reunification; and it has made known its intention to seek the consent of Congress to return German assets seized during World War II. When Foreign Minister Heinrich von Brentano came to Washington early last March, he and Secretary of State Dulles together declared reunification of Germany to be a “fundamental objective of the policies of their governments.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 22, 1989  A Primer on German Reunification
Apr. 19, 1985  German Reconciliation
Feb. 25, 1983  West Germany's ‘Missile’ Election
Jan. 14, 1970  German Reconciliation
Jan. 29, 1969  West German Prosperity
Mar. 30, 1966  German Border Question and Reunification
Aug. 18, 1965  West German Election, 1965
Feb. 24, 1965  War Guilt Expiation
Jul. 01, 1964  German Question
Sep. 01, 1961  Captive East Germany
Aug. 23, 1961  West German Election, 1961
May 04, 1960  Berlin Question
Dec. 24, 1958  Berlin Crisis and German Reunification
Aug. 21, 1957  German Election, 1957
Oct. 19, 1955  European Security
Jun. 15, 1955  Germany and the Balance of Power
Oct. 19, 1954  German Rearmament
Jan. 19, 1954  West German Recovery
Mar. 12, 1953  Harassed Berlin
Apr. 26, 1950  German Problem
Feb. 18, 1948  Rehabilitation of the Ruhr
Oct. 23, 1946  Future of Germany
Nov. 25, 1944  Transfers of Populations
Nov. 01, 1940  Economic Controls in Nazi Germany
Mar. 09, 1939  Foreign Trade in German Economy
Apr. 02, 1936  Germany's Post-War European Relations
Nov. 02, 1934  The Coming Saab Plebiscite
Apr. 23, 1931  The Austro-German Customs Union Project
Feb. 05, 1929  The Rhineland Problem
Nov. 07, 1924  German National Elections December, 1924
Apr. 30, 1924  The German National Elections
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
U.S. at War: Cold War