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United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany / Germany's parliament in action; the September 1949 debate on the government's statement of policy

Seelos, Gebhard
Comment on the statement of policy of the German federal government delivered in the Bundestag on 22 September 1949 by Dr. Gebhard Seelos of the Bavarian Party,   pp. 59-63

Page 59

Comment on the Statement of Policy of the German Federal Government
delivered in the Bundestag on 22 September 1949 by
Dr. Gebhard Seelos of the Bavarian Party
(Bayern-Partei -  BP)
Mr. Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Before dealing with the Government's Statement
of Policy, I want to speak in principle about the
framework within which Bayernpartei's (the Ba-
varian Party's) participation in the work of the
Federal Republic appears possible. Before this
forum of Germany and the world, Bayernpartei
(the Bavarian Party) welcomes the opportunity to
touch upon a question which arose when Bavaria
refused to endorse the Bonn Constitution: the Ba-
varian question. As long as relations between
Bavaria and the Federation are not defined anew,
the Bavarian question will be a perennial one in
politics. We declare emphatically that we Bavarians,
too, want Germany. We merely have another con-
ception of her constitutional structure, a conception
derived from the hard lessons of German history.
The ever-increasing concentration of power under
Prusso-German leadership brought down upon us
two world wars in succession. We believe that
peace can best be safeguarded for Germany, to
which we are wholeheartedly devoted and which
is our country in good times and bad, through a
federalistic structure of the new state. The Ba-
varian state and the Bavarian people will feel at
ease in such a truly federalistic Germ-any, because
we would not then be under the necessity of being
constantly on our guard, perturbed about our very
existence as a state, and thereby forced into a
defensive position against our will. Bavaria was an
independent state for 1400 years, with boundaries
that underwent few changes until Hitler reduced
her to a mere province in 1933. Bayernpartei has
become the guardian of Bavarian patriotism.
(Loud interruptions in the center)
_Its federalistic ideology evoked an impressive
vote of confidence from the Bavarian population
in the federal elections. Although election results
had demonstrated Bayernpartei's strength before the
beginning of the Bonn negotiations, it was, contrary
to all democratic custom, completely excluded from
negotiations on the Bonn Constitution. Thus we
cannot be held accountable for the Constitution,
which seriously undermines Bavaria's integrity as
a state and opens the floodgates to excessive
(Interruption: "Are you referring to Bavarian
centralism, by any chance?")
We Bavarians view a centralized authoritarian
state in the Prussian manner, to which the trends
of the Bonn Constitution point ...
(Agitation and interjections: "Bavaria!" - The
Speaker raps his gavel)
as a political danger, since it obstructs or even
precludes Germany's integration into - Europe, and
the realization of a European community. Such a
centralized authoritarian state would, moreover,
render more difficult a sincere reconciliation, and
a permanent understanding, between Germany and
France. Without these a true European community
and a sincere, universal atmosphere of peaces will
never come about.
(Assent from Bayernpartei benches - Excla-
mation from the Left: "That's enough!")
One should not pay lip service to the European
idea while at the same time provoking the distrust
of the world by promoting a centralistic state. Only
a federalistic Germany, for which we are struggling
passionately, vouchsafes a peaceful Germany. Only
a peaceful Germany can become a member of the
European family of nations. For these reasons Ger-
many will have to be a federalistic state if it
wishes to survive.
(Strong applause from Bayernpartei - Protests
from SPD)
Because of its centralistic character the Bonn
Basic Law, many of whose features are in line
with the Weimar Constitution, excludes other Ger-
man countries, such as Austria, from the German
community forever. Because both Bavarians and
Austrians stem from the same stock, we Bavarians
can never contemplate German matters without
bearing in mind their repercussions and the im-
pression they create in Austria.
(Interjection from the Left: "Danubian Federa-
tion!" and "Where have we heard that before?")
The same Prusso-German circles, who as long
ago as 1866 drove Austria out of the German
Confederation, were at work again in Bonn. We
understand fully that for Prussians their capital,
Berlin, remains the constant focus of reflection
and perturbation, but do not deprive us of the
privilege to let our hearts beat warmly for our
Austrian brother nation.
(Exclamation: "Munich, the Capital of the Nazi
Well, if you bring that up, let's talk about the
counter-movement, too!
We Bavarians believe that only by speedy inte-
gration into Europe can real protection be gained
from the dangerous tendencies of a new Prusso-
German state believing only in force.
We combat the centralistic Bonn Constitution
because we consider advocacy of a federalistic
Germany to be a crucial question facing the Ger-
man and Bavarian people.
(Interruption from the Center: "Really, since
when do you advocate this federalistic point
of view? ")
The Bonn Constitution has been forced upon us
by the London Agreement of 1 July 1948, which
provides that two thirds of the Lander can compel
the rest to adopt the constitution. But majority

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