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United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany / A program to foster citizen participation in government and politics in Germany

8. Federal-state relations,   pp. 23-24 PDF (1.3 MB)

9. Education in political and governmental affairs,   pp. 24-25 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 24

Since the adoption of the Basic Law, the prob-
lem has not assumed a major place in German
political discussion although there have been
protests from the Laender against Federal en-
croachment on states' rights. Up to this point such
protests have been made through the Bundesrat
(Senate), which, however, has too little power un-
der the constitution to act as an effective defense
mechanism. Doubtless with the establishment of a
Federal Constitutional Court, some of these laws
will be tested.
A feeling for states' rights is strongest in those
Laender which had a tradition of independence,
e. g., Bavaria, Hamburg, and Bremen. The Bavarian
party is founded on the principle of state auton-
omy. Elements in the CDU-CSU, FDP, and DP be-
lieve in states' rights, but other elements favor
centralism and seem at present to be in control.
The SPD is committed to centralism.
It is interesting to note, however, that the Land
governments, even where the SPD sits in the Cabi-
net, are alert to federal encroachment, although
party discipline sometimes makes them vote
against their own inclinations.
(1) General
It is apparent that there is little chance of arous-
ing broad public concern with the defense of fed-
eralism until the German people interest them-
selves in politics and until some political party
makes it an issue. It is possible, however, to stim-
ulate the interest of Land leaders in defending
states' rights and to interest some political leaders
in its development as a political issue in relation
to specific questions. It is also possible to initiate a
long-term program of education among those who
are concerned with political theory. This will be
one of the elements of the program for education
in political science and in the selection and plan-
ning of a program for Germans visiting the United
States (see (3) below and program No. 9).
(2) Consultants
It is not planned to bring any consultants from
the United States on this specific program. As far
as political education is concerned, this is covered
by Program No. 9. Specific problems arise inter-
mittently and at unforeseen times and no program-
ming of a consultant's work would be possible.
(3) German Visits to the United States and
European Countries
Eight Germans will be invited to spend six
months in the United States during fiscal 1951.
They will study in terms of practical experience
the division of powers between the states and the
Federal Government; the tendency towards cen-
tralization, its causes, its bad effects, and methods
to correct it, and criteria applicable in a modern
industrial democracy to the apportionment of
powers between central and state governments.
The Germans invited for those visits will be
drawn from the Bundestag and Land and Federal
(4) Pamphlets
No pamphlets are presently planned since the
subject is too complicated for popular treatment
at this stage of development.
(5) Land Offices
Land Offices should take advantage of opportu-
nities to discuss with representatives of the Land
government the practical application of the prin-
ciples of federalism. Many pertinent examples are
arising out of developments in Bonn and the dis-
satisfaction of the Laender with' what they believe
to be the Federal tendency toward invasion of
states' rights.
In addition Land Offices may have the opportu-
nity to encourage discussion, at least in limited
circles, of the principles and importance of a fed-
eral system of government and the assertion of
states' rights as an element in the protection of a
democratic system.
(6) Kreis Offices
No such activity is suggested for the Kreis Of-
ficer although he may properly take any opportu-
nity offered to encourage understanding of the
principles of a federal system and its relationship
to the individual citizen.
(7) Newspapers and Radio
IPG through ISD will attempt to furnish material
for newspapers where conflicts develop between
Federal and states' rights which are newsworthy.
(8) Films
No film project is proposed.
German university education in the social sci-
ences is highly specialized, and in political science
had not been developed along modern cohcepts.
The social sciences are not treated as a whole, and
a student of one branch gains little insight into
other related subjects. Generally such education has
been theoretical; only in economics is there em-
pirical research on a wide scale. From 1933 to 1947,
German social and political scientists were almost
completely cut off from contacts with the outside
Education in these fields has an important bear-
ing on governmental and political problems be-
cause of the importance of an advanced degree for
entry into the civil service and even in business
and the trade unions. Degrees in political and social
science in the past have carried substantially less
weight than a degree in law. If German govern-
mental and political forms and practices are to be
liberalized, new value must be given to studies in
the political and social sciences. They must be more
realistic and broader in scope, so that the graduate
will bring to government and politics a practical
conception of actual facts and practices in these
(1) To aid social and political scientists and the
universities in introducing political and social science
courses, together with new teaching methods and
(2) To assist them to re-establish professional
contacts and exchanges with foreign universities;
(3) To make recent materials available to them
for research and teaching purposes; and

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