West Germany

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term West Germany can be understood both geographically and politically, but it is difficult to define the former. Today, it is especially by the former inner-German border defined that Germany into a western and an eastern German state said .

West Germany as a synonym for the area of ​​the Bonn Republic (blue), here in the borders from 1957 to 1990

Political point of view

Politically, the term West Germany was only used from 1945 onwards, namely for the area of ​​the three western zones excluding West Berlin , i.e. the US , British and French zones of occupation (excluding Saarland ). From 1948 the area was also called Trizone . A year later, the Federal Republic of Germany was founded from 1949 to 1990 . The federal capital was Bonn , the largest cities were West Berlin and Hamburg . For the sake of simplicity, the Federal Republic of Germany often referred to other countries as West Germany from 1949 to 1990, or the term was used as a self-designation abroad, such as Made in West Germany or Made in Western Germany .

. According to Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution of Berlin was Berlin even before 1990, a state of the Federal Republic of Germany; However, this article could not have any effect, as it had been postponed by the allies who were decisive in Berlin . It had a close relationship with it, but was not part of West Germany in the sense of the borders of the Federal Republic before 1990. From the perspective of the GDR , the so-called “Independent Political Unit West Berlin” was not part of the Federal Republic of Germany. Both the West Berlin House of Representatives and the German Bundestag always emphasized the close ties between Berlin (West) and the Federal Republic.

In this sense, the states of Schleswig-Holstein , Hamburg, Bremen and Lower Saxony , North Rhine-Westphalia , Hesse , Rhineland-Palatinate , Saarland and Baden-Württemberg as well as Bavaria in their political boundaries are meant by "West Germany". Baden , Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern merged in 1952 to form the state of Baden-Württemberg. In 1957, the Saarland (1945–1947 French Saar protectorate , then 1947–1956 autonomous , state-like entity sui generis ) joined the Federal Republic of Germany.

The GDR, which was dissolved in 1990 in the course of the Unification Treaty and German reunification , often spoke of West Germany until the end of the 1960s , since until then the GDR still assumed that the whole of Germany would be unified . Later, the official language in the GDR avoided the designation "West Germany" as a circumvention of the official name of the Federal Republic of Germany . As an interim solution, one could also hear “West German Federal Republic” or just “German Federal Republic”, next to the most frequently used but unofficial abbreviation “ BRD ”.

In today's parlance, West Germany is mostly synonymous with the so-called old federal states . At the same time, the original, geographically more narrowly defined meaning through names such as Westdeutscher Rundfunk (see below) or Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung remained in the regional consciousness; a partially parallel phenomenon has been observed in the case of central Germany since reunification .

Geographical classification

Geographically , West Germany consists of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. Hesse is sometimes also included in Central Germany . In the narrower sense, only the Rhineland part of North Rhine- Westphalia can be referred to as "West Germany". Exact boundaries, whether natural or political-historical, are seldom drawn. Based on the unity of the West Central German dialects (see below), especially before the Cold War, the greater Rhineland (from the Ruhr area to the Eifel ) was called "West Germany", especially with reference to the Rhenish-Westphalian industrial area.

West Germanic languages:
The West Central German dialects are designated with the digits 16 to 20.

Linguistic classification

Linguistically, the West Central German dialects form a region that distinguishes itself from the other German dialects . These boundaries were essentially shaped by the geographical separation of the population, which, compared to the hilly West Germany, form the Lower Rhine, Sauerland and Münsterland to the north , as well as the Rothaargebirge , to the east by the East Central German dialects through the Hohe Meissner and the Rhön , the Spessart and the Odenwald , south through the Hardtwald north of Karlsruhe and the border to France with remaining German-speaking Alsatians and Lorraine , the border to Luxembourg with German-speaking Luxembourgers and to Belgium north of the Ardennes with the German population group there .

Social classification

The Westdeutsche Rundfunk Köln (WDR) goes back to the Westdeutsche Funkstunde founded in Münster in 1924 . Since its re-establishment, through the split of the Northwest German Broadcasting Corporation , it has been responsible as a public broadcaster exclusively for North Rhine-Westphalia; other broadcasting companies broadcast in the other West German states : The Südwestrundfunk (SWR) in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the Hessian Broadcasting (HR) and the Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR).

This classification also largely applied in sport, especially in football. After the introduction of the multi-track regional league as a lower class under the newly founded Bundesliga in 1963, only clubs from North Rhine-Westphalia were assigned to the Regional League West. The Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland clubs played in the Regionalliga Südwest. The clubs of Hesse were assigned to the Regionalliga Süd.


  • Norbert Elias : Studies on the Germans . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1992, p. 300-389 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andreas Zimmermann , State succession in international treaties. At the same time a contribution to the possibilities and limits of international law codification , Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 2000, ISBN 3-540-66140-9 , p. 182 .