West German states

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Federal Republic of Germany (blue; 1963, with Saarland and Selfkant ), GDR (red) and Berlin (yellow)

The west German states (often also old federal states or former federal territory ) of the Federal Republic of Germany are the counterpart to the so-called east German states . The latter joined the Federal Republic of Germany on October 3, 1990, when it was reunified . In the German National Library , the old states operate as western federal states or occasionally (for the pre-federal republican period) as western states .

The (so-called) old countries

The states were originally named in the preamble to the Basic Law of May 23, 1949. These are the ten German states

The term West Germany is often used as a synonym , although it allows further interpretations.

The term "old federal states" came up in the course of German reunification. In order to avoid the legal term of the accession area used in the Unification Treaty , the terms new states were introduced for the acceding states and old federal states for the German states located in the territory of the Federal Republic that existed until then. Historically, this is not completely accurate, for example the Free States of Saxony and Thuringia already existed at the time of the Weimar Republic and after the Second World War , Saxony was formed as a state in 1945, i.e. earlier than some of the now so-called "old federal states" - but initially only as Administrative unit created by the Soviet occupying power. Nevertheless, the term is still in use.


Whether West Berlin is counted among the old states depends on the respective context, as it was socially very closely linked to the then Federal Republic of Germany , but due to the Four Power Agreement its status with regard to membership of the Federal Republic was controversial.

West Berlin's self-designations - sometimes also euphemistic - were “island in the red sea” and “showcase of the free world” or “showcase of the west”.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Recht in Ost und West 31 (1987), p. 136; Michael Lemke: In front of the wall. Berlin in the East-West competition 1948 to 1961 , Böhlau, 2011, pp. 33, 37.