The German liberals : reunification and disunification
The central questions focus upon an examination of the (re)unification of Liberal parties in the GDR with the FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei), examining the integration processes involved and an assessment of the longer term impact of Liberal party (re)unification. The first chapter entails a historical overview of the Liberal parties in Germany prior to 1953, and sets out to isolate recurrent themes and influences in the development of German Liberal parties, facilitating a greater understanding of present-day considerations, in addition to serving as a statement on the latest research in this field. The second chapter deals with the events of 1989-90. It analyses the mechanics of the process of uniting all Liberal groupings in the GDR with the FDP. The interpretation of the events and the actors involved is scrutinised. The third chapter contains an analysis of the subsequent waning of FDP support; and, ascertains the nature of the party today (mid-September 2001). This chapter examines whether the FDP performance in the 1990s was a continuation of identifiable past trends, and whether the waning of support was due to external or internal factors, concluding that all three factors were at work. In this sense, the relatively strong FDP performance in the Bundestag election of December 1990 may be interpreted as an exceptional result. The fourth chapter examines the response to the decline in support, concluding that the response is essentially a rebranding of the FDP with a remarkable degree of constancy in policy. This study is the first of its kind in the UK. It is also an analysis of the first decade of the FDP in united Germany, and a statement of the present standing of the FDP.