Publication: The Economist

Full Citation

  • Title First Days at Bonn
  • Publication Title The Economist
  • Collection The Economist
  • Date Saturday,  Sept. 10, 1949
  • Volume 157
  • Issue Number 5533
  • Page Number 544
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The Economist Newspaper Limited
  • Copyright Statement © The Economist Newspaper Limited.
First Days at Bonn On Wednesday. the two Chambers of the Federal Republic of Germany came into being at Bonn. In the morning the Upper House. or Bundesrat. elected Herr Arnold. the leader of the left-wing of the Christian Democrats. as President. and in the afternoon the Bundestag. or Lower House. elected Dr Kohler. another Christian Democrat. who had been chairman of the former Economic Council of Frankfurt. So far. how- ever. the Republic lacks a government. for Dr Adenauer. whose party. the Christian Democrats. obtained the greatest number of votes in the recent elections. has not been hurrying in the task of building his coalition. He is drawing upon the right- wing Liberal group. the Free Democratic Party. and to secure a comfortable majority. he must also secure the support of one other group even further to the Right. It is generally expected that this group will be the German Party. which received 17 seats in the elections. The formation of the Government will not produce any striking change in the trend of German politics. since Conservative politics and Liberal economics have been the guiding lines of German official thought for the last eighteen months. It is. nevertheless. a disappointment to some Germans. par- ticularly to men of the constructive outlook and moderate temper of Herr Arnold. that the first free government of the new Federal Germany should not represent a coalition of its two most powerful parties. the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats. However. events of the very first day at Bonn have shown that there is a considerable advantage to be gained from the existence of a strong constitutional opposition claiming to represent the rights and interests of organised labour. In the last few weeks tension has increased in the Ruhr as a result of the new efforts at dismantling. and recently a British official was manhandled and dismantling stopped by force by a crowd of workers at the Ruhr Chemie works at Oberhausen. An all-out attack upon dismantling could. there- fore. be an admirable weapon for Communist use both against the new Government and against the Allies who support it. And. in fact. the Communists put down a motion on dis- mantling in the first hours of life of the new Bundestag. Their thunder has. however. been stolen by the Social Democrat's decision to put forward a motion on-dismantling themselves. The Communists cannot. therefore. claim to be the only defenders of Germany's rights and livelihood. and since this type of issue is bound to recur. it is as well that parliamentary opposition is not confined to the extremist and anti-Democratic left.