Elite Consensus and Dissensus in West German Foreign Policy
The development of the Federal Republic of Germany into a democratic and stable polity can only be regarded as a remarkable achievement. The postwar political culture exhibits a cautiousness in both outlook and action; and it has provided the continuity needed to rebuild the country. In the absence of the Federal Republic’s remarkable political stability, its present economic power could not have been secured and sustained. The emphasis on the value of a broad consensus and the conciliation of divergent interests has been instrumental in the slow but sure conquering of the past. The political parties have been the key actors in this process, because the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) explicitly gives the parties the role of helping to form and represent public opinion.
KeywordsForeign Policy Federal Republic Coalition Formation Grand Coalition Party System
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