The name Germany is used in three senses: first, it refers to the region in Central Europe commonly regarded as constituting Germany, even when there was no central German state, as was the case for most of Germany's history; second, it refers to the unified German state established in 1871 and existing until 1945; and third, since October 3, 1990, it refers to the united Germany, formed by the accession on this date of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, or West Germany). The name Federal Republic of Germany refers to West Germany from its founding on May 23, 1949, until German unification on October 3, 1990. After this date, it refers to united Germany. For the sake of brevity and variety, the Federal Republic of Germany is often called simply the Federal Republic.
The Federal Republic of Germany consists of sixteen states. Five of these states date from July 1990, when the territory of the German Democratic Republic was once again divided into states . For this reason, when discussing events since unification, Germans frequently refer to the territory of the former East Germany as the new or eastern states and call that of the former West Germany the old or western states. For the sake of convenience and variety, the text often follows this convention to distinguish eastern from western Germany.
The rise of Prussian power in the 19th century, supported by growing German nationalism, eventually ended in the formation of the German empire in 1871 under the chancellorship of Otto von Bismarck. Political parties developed during the empire, and Bismarck was credited with passing the most advanced social welfare legislation of the age.
However, Emperor William II's dynamic expansion of military power contributed to tensions on the continent. The fragile European balance of power, which Bismarck had helped to create, broke down in 1914. World War I and its aftermath, including the Treaty of Versailles, ended the German Empire.
The postwar Weimar Republic (1919-33) was a peaceful, liberal democratic regime. This government was severely handicapped and eventually doomed by economic problems and the rise of the political extremes. The hyperinflation of 1923, the world depression that began in 1929, and the social unrest stemming from resentment toward the conditions of the Versailles Treaty worked to destroy the Weimar government.
The National Socialist (Nazi) Party, led by Adolf Hitler, stressed nationalist and racist themes while promising to put the unemployed back to work. The party blamed many of Germany's ills on the alleged influence of Jewish and non-German ethnic groups. The party also gained support in response to fears of growing communist strength. In the 1932 elections, the Nazis won a third of the vote. In a fragmented party structure, this gave the Nazis a powerful parliamentary caucus, and Hitler was asked to form a government. He quickly declined. The Republic eroded and Hitler had himself nominated as Reich Chancellor January 1933. After President Paul von Hindenburg died in 1934, Hitler assumed that office as well. Once in power, Hitler and his party first undermined and then abolished democratic institutions and opposition parties. The Nazi leadership immediately jailed Jewish opposition and other figures and withdrew their political rights. The Nazis implemented a program of genocide, at first through incarceration and forced labor and then by establishing death camps. Nazi revanchism and expansionism led to World War II, which resulted in the destruction of Germany's political and economic infrastructures and led to its division.
After Germany's unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, the United States, the United Kingdom, the U.S.S.R. and, later, France occupied the country and assumed responsibility for its administration. The commanders in chief exercised supreme authority in their respective zones and acted in concert on questions affecting the whole country.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union agreed at Potsdam in August 1945 to treat Germany as a single economic unit with some central administrative departments in a decentralized framework. However, Soviet policy turned increasingly toward dominating that part of Europe where their armies were present, including eastern Germany. In 1948, the Soviets, in an attempt to abrogate agreements for Four Power control of the city, blockaded Berlin. Until May 1949, the Allied-occupied part of Berlin was kept supplied only by an Allied airlift. The Berlin airlift succeeded in forcing the Soviets to accept, for the time being, the Allied role and the continuation of freedom in a portion of the city, West Berlin.
The United States and the United Kingdom moved to establish a nucleus for a future German government by creating a central Economic Council for their two zones. The program later provided for a constituent assembly, an occupation statute governing relations between the Allies and the German authorities, and the political and economic merger of the French with the British and American zones. The western portion of the country became the Federal Republic of Germany.
On May 23, 1949, the Basic Law, which came to be known as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, was promulgated. Conrad Adenauer became the first federal Chancellor on September 20, 1949. The next day, the occupation statute came into force, granting powers of self-government with certain exceptions.
The FRG quickly progressed toward fuller sovereignty and association with its European neighbors and the Atlantic community. The London and Paris agreements of 1954 restored full sovereignty (with some exceptions) to the FRG in May 1955 and opened the way for German membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Western European Union (WEU).
The three Western Allies retained occupation powers in Berlin and certain responsibilities for Germany as a whole, including responsibility for the determination of Germany's eastern borders. Under the new arrangements, the Allies stationed troops within the FRG for NATO defense, pursuant to stationing and status-of-forces agreements. With the exception of 45,000 French troops, Allied forces were under NATO's joint defense command. (France withdrew from NATO's military command structure in 1966.)
Political life in the FRG was remarkably stable and orderly. After Adenauer's chancellorship (1949-63), Ludwig Erhard (1963-66) and, Kurt Georg Kiesinger (1966-69) served as Chancellor. Between 1949 and 1966 the united caucus of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU), either alone with the smaller Free Democratic Party (FDP), formed the government. Kiesinger's 1966-69 "Grand Coalition" included the FRG's two largest parties, CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). After the 1969 election, the SPD, headed by Willy Brandt formed a coalition government with the FDP. Brandt resigned in May 1974, after a senior member of his staff was uncovered as an East German spy.
Helmut Schmidt (SPD) succeeded Brandt, serving as Chancellor from 1974 to 1982. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a leading FDP official, became Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister, a position he would hold until 1992.
In October 1982, the FDP joined forces with the CDU/CSU to make CDU Chairman Helmut Kohl the Chancellor. Following national elections in March 1983, Kohl emerged in firm control of both the government and the CDU. He served until the CDU's election defeat in 1997. In 1983, a new political party, the Greens, entered the Bundestag for the first time.
In the Soviet zone, the Communist Party forced the Social Democratic Party to merge in 1946 to form the Socialist Unity Party (SED). Under Soviet direction, a constitution was drafted on May 30, 1949, and adopted on October 7 when the German Democratic Republic was proclaimed. On October 11, 1949, a SED government under Wilhelm Pieck was established. The Soviet Union and its East European allies immediately recognized the GDR. The United States and most other countries did not recognize the GDR until a series of agreements in 1972-73.
The GDR established the structures of a single-party, centralized, communist state. On July 23, 1952, the GDR abolished the traditional Laender and established 14 Bezirke (districts). Formally, there existed a "National Front" an umbrella organization nominally consisting of the SED, four other political parties controlled and directed by the SED, and the four principal mass organizations (youth, trade unions, women, and culture). However, control was clearly and solely in the hands of the SED. Balloting in GDR elections was not secret. On July 17, 1953, East Germans revolted against totalitarian rule. The FRG marked the bloody revolt by making the date the West German National Day, which remained until reunification.
During the 1950s, East Germans fled to the West by the millions. The Soviets made the inner German Border increasingly tight, but Berlin's Four Power status countered such restrictions. Berlin thus became as escape point for even greater numbers of East Germans. On August 13, 1961, the GDR began building a wall through the center of Berlin, slowing down the flood of refugees and dividing the city. The Berlin Wall became the symbol of the East's political debility and the division of Europe.
In 1969, Chancellor Brandt announced that the FRG would remain firmly rooted in the Atlantic Alliance but would intensify efforts to improve relations with Eastern Europe and the GDR. The FRG commenced this "Ostpolitik" by negotiating nonaggression treaties with the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Based upon Brandt's policies, in 1971 the Four Powers concluded a Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin to address practical questions the division posed, without prejudice to each party's view of the city's Four Power status.
The FRG's relations with the GDR posed particularly difficult questions. Though anxious to relieve serious hardships for divided families and to reduce friction, the FRG under Brandt was intent on holding to its concept of "two German states in one German nation." Relations improved, however, and in September 1973, the FRG and the GDR were admitted to the United Nations. The two Germanys exchanged permanent representatives in 1974, and, in 1987, GDR head of state Erich Honecker paid an official visit to the FRG.
During the summer of 1989, rapid changes took place in the GDR. Pressures for political opening throughout Eastern Europe had not seemed to affect the GDR regime. However, Hungary ended its border restrictions with Austria, and a growing flood of East Germans began to take advantage of this route to West Germany. Thousands of East Germans also tried to reach the West by staging sit-ins at FRG diplomatic facilities in other East European capitals. The exodus generated demands within the GDR for political change, and mass demonstrations in several cities--particularly in Leipzig continued to grow. On October 7, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited Berlin to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the GDR and urged the East German leadership to pursue reform.
On October 18, Erich Honecker resigned and was replaced by Egon Krenz. The exodus continued unabated, and pressure for political reform mounted. Finally, on November 9, the GDR allowed East Germans to travel freely. Thousands poured through the Berlin Wall into the western sectors of Berlin. The Wall was opened.
On November 28, FRG Chancellor Kohl outlined a 10-point plan for the peaceful unification of the two Germanys. In December, the GDR Volkskammer eliminated the SED's monopoly on power. The SED changed its name to the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), and numerous political groups and parties formed. The communist system had been eliminated. A new Prime Minister, Hans Modrow, headed a caretaker government that shared power with the new, democratically oriented parties.
In early February 1990, Chancellor Kohl rejected the Modrow government's proposal for a unified, neutral Germany. Kohl affirmed that a unified Germany must be a member of NATO. Finally, on March 18, the first free elections were held in the GDR, and Lothar de Maiziere (CDU) formed a government under a policy of expeditious unification with the FRG. The freely elected representatives of the Volkskammer held their first session on April 5, and the GDR peacefully evolved from a communist to a democratically elected government.
In 1990, as a necessary step for German unification and in parallel with internal German developments, the two German states and the Four Powers the United States, U.K., France, and the Soviet Union--negotiated to end Four Power reserved rights for Berlin and Germany as a whole. These "Two-plus-Four" negotiations were mandated at the Ottawa Open Skies conference on February 13, 1990. The six foreign ministers met four times in the ensuing months in Bonn (May 5), Berlin (June 22), Paris (July 17), and Moscow (September 12). The Polish Foreign Minister participated in the part of the Paris meeting that dealt with the Polish-German borders.
Of key importance was overcoming Soviet objections to a united Germany's membership in NATO. The Alliance was already responding to the changing circumstances, and, in NATO, issued the London Declaration on a transformed NATO. On July 16, after a bilateral meeting, Gorbachev and Kohl announced an agreement in principle to permit a united Germany in NATO. This cleared the way for the signing of the "Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany" in Moscow on September 12. In addition to terminating Four Power rights, the treaty mandated the withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Germany by the end of 1994. This made it clear that the current borders were final and definitive, and specified the right of a united Germany to belong to NATO. It also provided for the continued presence of British, French, and American troops in Berlin during the interim period of the Soviet withdrawal. In the treaty, the Germans renounced nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and stated their intention to reduce German armed forces to 370,000 within 3 to 4 years after the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, signed in Paris on November 19, 1990, entered into force.
German unification could then proceed. In accordance with Article 23 of the FRG's Basic Law, the five Laender (which had been reestablished in the GDR) acceded to the FRG on October 3, 1990. The FRG proclaimed October 3 as its new national day. On December 2, 1990, all-German elections were held for the first time since 1933.
As Europe's largest economy and most populous nation, Germany remains a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed the country in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then Germany has expended considerable funds to bring eastern productivity and wages up to western standards. In January 2002, Germany and 11 other EU countries introduced a common European currency, the euro.
Germany is the world's third-largest economy and the largest in Europe. Recent performance has not been dynamic, however, and the German economy is vulnerable to external shocks, domestic structural problems, and continued difficulties in integrating the formerly communist east.
From the 1948 currency reform until the early 1970s, West Germany experienced almost continuous economic expansion. Real GDP growth slowed down, and even declined, from the mid-1970s through the recession of the early 1980s. The economy then experienced 8 consecutive years of growth that ended with a downturn beginning in late 1992. Since unification, Germany has seen annual average real growth of only about 1.5% and stubbornly high unemployment. The best performance since unification was in 2000, when real growth reached 3.0%. Most forecasters expect growth of about 0.5% in 2002, while unemployment remains at an average of 9.1%.
Germans often describe their economic system as a "social market economy." The German Government provides an extensive array of social services. The state intervenes in the economy by providing subsidies to selected sectors and by owning some segments of the economy, while promoting competition and free enterprise. The government has restructured the railroad system on a corporate basis, privatized the national airline, and is privatizing telecommunications and postal services.
The German economy is heavily export-oriented, with exports accounting for over one-third of national output. As a result, exports traditionally have been a key element in German macroeconomic expansion. Germany is a strong advocate of closer European economic integration, and its economic and commercial policies are increasingly determined within the European Union (EU). Germany uses the common European currency, the Euro, and the European Central Bank sets monetary policy.
Despite this external vulnerability, most foreign and German experts consider domestic structural problems to be the main cause of recent sluggish performance. An inflexible labor market is the main cause of persistently high unemployment. Heavy bureaucratic regulations burden many businesses and the process of starting new businesses. German employers, even during periods of relatively fast growth, say they often prefer to invest overseas or install more machinery, rather than make job-creating investments at their domestic facilities.
Eleven years after unification, Germany has made great progress in raising the standard of living in eastern Germany, introducing a market economy and improving its infrastructure. At the same time, the process of convergence between east and west is taking longer than originally expected and, on some measures, has stagnated since the mid-1990s. Eastern economic growth rates have been lower than in the west in recent years, unemployment is twice as high, prompting many skilled easterners to seek work in the west, and productivity continues to lag. Eastern consumption levels are dependent on public net financial transfers from west to east totaling about $65 billion per year, or more than 4% of the GDP of western Germany. In addition to social assistance payments, the government plans to extend funds to promote eastern economic development through 2019.
The United States is Germany's second largest trading partner, and U.S.-German trade has continued to grow strongly. Two-way trade in goods and services totaled $88 billion in 2001. U.S. exports to Germany were $30.1 billion while U.S. imports from Germany were twice as high, $59.2 billion. At $29.1 billion, the United States' fifth largest trade deficit is with Germany. Major U.S. export categories include aircraft, electrical equipment, telecommunications equipment, data processing equipment, and motor vehicles and parts. German export sales are concentrated in motor vehicles, machinery, chemicals, and heavy electrical equipment. Much bilateral trade is intra-industry or intra-firm.
Germany has a liberal foreign investment policy. From 1997 to 2000, annual average flows of U.S. direct investment in Germany were $3.4 billion, while those of German investors in the United States reached $22.2 billion. U.S. firms employ about 800,000 people in Germany; German firms likewise employ about 800,000 people in the United States.
Despite persistence of structural rigidities in the labor market and extensive government regulation, the economy remains strong and internationally competitive. Although production costs are very high, Germany is still an export powerhouse. Additionally, Germany is strategically placed to take advantage of the rapidly growing central European countries. The current government has addressed some of the country's structural problems, with important tax, social security, and financial sector reforms.
Germany's affluent and technologically powerful economy turned in a relatively weak performance throughout much of the 1990s. The modernization and integration of the eastern German economy continues to be a costly long-term problem, with annual transfers from west to east amounting to roughly $70 billion. Germany's ageing population, combined with high unemployment, has pushed social security outlays to a level exceeding contributions from workers. Structural rigidities in the labor market - including strict regulations on laying off workers and the setting of wages on a national basis - have made unemployment a chronic problem. Business and income tax cuts introduced in 2001 did not spare Germany from the impact of the downturn in international trade, and domestic demand faltered as unemployment began to rise. The government expects growth to gain pace in the second half of 2002, but to fall short of 1% for the year again. Corporate restructuring and growing capital markets are setting the foundations that could allow Germany to meet the long-term challenges of European economic integration and globalization, particularly if labor market rigidities are addressed.
Roman Catholicism, one of Germany's two principal religions, traces its origins there to the eighth-century missionary work of Saint Boniface. In the next centuries, Roman Catholicism made more converts and spread eastward. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Knights of the Teutonic Order spread German and Roman Catholic influence by force of arms along the southern Baltic Coast and into Russia. In 1517, however, Martin Luther challenged papal authority and what he saw as the commercialization of his faith. In the process, Luther changed the course of European and world history and established the second major faith in Germany--Protestantism.
Religious differences played a decisive role in the Thirty Years' War. An enduring legacy of the Protestant Reformation and this conflict was the division of Germany into fairly distinct regions of religious practice. Roman Catholicism remained the preeminent faith in the southern and western German states, while Protestantism became firmly established in the northeastern and central regions. Pockets of Roman Catholicism existed in Oldenburg in the north and in areas of Hesse. Protestant congregations could be found in north Baden and northeastern Bavaria.
The unification of Germany in 1871 under Prussian leadership led to the strengthening of Protestantism. Otto von Bismarck sought to weaken Roman Catholic influence through an anti-Roman Catholic campaign, the Kulturkampf, in the early 1870s. The Jesuit order was prohibited in Germany, and its members were expelled from the country. In Prussia the "Falk laws," named for Adalbert Falk, Bismarck's minister of culture, mandated German citizenship and attendance at German universities for clergymen, state inspection of schools, and state confirmation of parish and episcopal appointments. Although relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the state were subsequently improved through negotiations with the Vatican, the Kulturkampf engendered in Roman Catholics a deep distrust of the empire and enmity toward Prussia.
Prior to World War II, about two-thirds of the German population was Protestant and the remainder Roman Catholic. Bavaria was a Roman Catholic stronghold. Roman Catholics were also well represented in the populations of Baden-Württemberg, the Saarland, and in much of the Rhineland. Elsewhere in Germany, especially in the north and northeast, Protestants were in the majority.
During the Hitler regime, except for individual acts of resistance, the established churches were unable or unwilling to mount a serious challenge to the supremacy of the state. A Nazi, Ludwig Müller, was installed as the Lutheran bishop in Berlin. Although raised a Roman Catholic, Hitler respected only the power and organization of the Roman Catholic Church, not its tenets. In July 1933, shortly after coming to power, the Nazis scored their first diplomatic success by concluding a concordat with the Vatican, regulating church-state relations. In return for keeping the right to maintain denominational schools nationwide, the Vatican assured the Nazis that Roman Catholic clergy would refrain from political activity, that the government would have a say in the choice of bishops, and that changes in diocesan boundaries would be subject to government approval. However, the Nazis soon violated the concordat's terms, and by the late 1930s almost all denominational schools had been abolished.
Toward the end of 1933, an opposition group under the leadership of Lutheran pastors Martin Niemöller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer formed the "Confessing Church." The members of this church opposed the takeover of the Lutheran Church by the Nazis. Many of its members were eventually arrested, and some were executed--among them, Bonhoeffer--by the end of World War II.
The postwar division of Germany left roughly equal numbers of Roman Catholics and Protestants in West Germany. East Germany had five times as many Protestants as Roman Catholics. There the authorities waged a persistent and largely successful campaign to minimize the influence and authority of the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.
In the Federal Republic, freedom of religion is guaranteed by Article 4 of the Basic Law, and the churches enjoy a special legal status as corporate bodies. In theory, there is constitutional separation of church and state, but church financing complicates this separation. To support churches and their work, most Germans in the old states pay a voluntary church tax, amounting to an 8 or 9 percent surcharge on income tax paid. Living in a society known for consensus and conformity, few West Germans formally withdrew from the established churches before the 1980s and hence continued to pay the tax.
Beginning in the 1980s, negative attitudes toward the tax and the churches become more common, and people began leaving the churches in significant numbers. Between 1980 and 1992, about 1.0 million Roman Catholics and 1.2 million Protestants gave up their church memberships. A faltering economy and increased taxes caused many to withdraw for financial reasons. In a 1992 poll, approximately 42 percent of those queried stated that the church tax was "much too high"; 64 percent favored abolishing the tax and supporting the churches through voluntary contributions. Fourteen percent of those Roman Catholics and Protestants polled stated that they were likely to withdraw or definitely would withdraw from their church.
In a society increasingly materialist and secular, the spiritual and moral positions of the churches became irrelevant to many. Among the younger generation seeking autonomy and self-fulfillment, allegiance was no longer simply surrendered without question to institutions of authority. Attendance at services dropped off significantly, and the institution of the church quietly disappeared from the lives of many Germans.
In East Germany, although the constitution theoretically provided for freedom of religion, the Marxist-Leninist state placed formidable obstacles before those seeking to exercise that basic right. Enormous pressure was exerted on citizens to renounce religion. East Germans who practiced their religion were denied educational and professional opportunities, for example. Consequently, at unification the majority of East Germans were either not baptized or had left their church.
In the 1990s, polls in the new states revealed that more than 70 percent of East Germans did not believe in God. Young people were even less religious. Some polls found that only 16 percent of East German schoolchildren believed in God. An entire generation had been raised without the religious rituals that traditionally had marked life's milestones. Secular rituals had been substituted. For example, the Jugendweihe (youth dedication) gradually supplanted the Christian practice of confirmation.
After unification in 1990, there were nominally 30.2 million Protestants and 26.7 million Roman Catholics in united Germany. Roman Catholics and Protestants combined amounted to about 76 percent of the German population and 71 percent of the country's total population.
Although less extreme than in the past, attitudes toward religion continue to polarize German society. In the 1990s, especially in the western states, attitudinal differences separate many younger Germans with humanistic values (concern for the environment, the rights of women and minorities, and peace and disarmament issues) from an older generation who hold traditional religious values. Many others of the postwar generations have accepted the values of popular culture and consumerism and have left the churches because they no longer seem significant. Millions of Germans of all ages, however, continue to profess a religion for a variety of reasons, among them strong religious beliefs, social pressure to conform, preservation of educational and employment opportunities, support for essential church social-welfare activities, and (in the western states) the enduring appeal of Christian rituals surrounding baptism, marriage, and burial.
As of 1995, it was difficult to determine to what extent Germans in the new states would return to religion. In the early 1990s, popular magazines featured stories about the "heathenization" of Germany. Although such a provocative characterization of trends seems exaggerated, the incorporation of the former East Germany did dilute religious influence in united Germany. Conversely, however, the opening of eastern Germany gave missionaries from the old states and from around the world the chance to rekindle religious fervor. In the old states, the churches have continued their vitally important work of operating an extensive network of hospitals, nursing homes, and other social institutions. The need for such services and facilities is greatest in the five new states, and the churches quickly stepped in to help.
The Federal Republic of Germany is a federal state created by the German Federal Constitution. Germany consists of 16 states each with their own constitution. Articles 70 of the constitution allocate legislative powers between the federal government and the states. The general rule is that a power not expressly granted the federal government is retained by the state, making the states relatively autonomous. The federal government and the states have concurrent jurisdiction (police powers, cultural issues, local government matters, the application of civil and criminal law). Federal laws establish a framework for the individual states. For instance, the federal law concerning the correctional system and its administration serves as a model to the states. The states that have not adopted their own correctional law use the federal law as their guideline. If any conflict arises between a federal law and that of a State (Article 31 of the constitution) the federal law prevails. Germany's Federal Constitutional Court, the highest court on constitutional matters, has held that the States have limited sovereign powers of their own that are not derived from the powers of the constitution. Members of parliament and the chancellor are elected officials. The chancellor defines the country's political strategies. While the Federal Republic of Germany also has a president who serves as head of the state, this role more nearly resembles that of a dignitary, with little political power. However, the president does maintain power to veto legislative bills. The constitution,also referred to as the Basic Law, divides the powers of the judiciary, legislative and executive branches. There are numerous political parties and alliances in German politics. The two major parties include the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), and the SPD (Social Democratic Party). Others of lesser significance in terms of their representative strength in parliament are the FDP (Free Democratic Party) and the Greens (Alternative-List). Within the last few years right-wing political parties have also gained in strength. While the Penal Code herein referred to as the StGB, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, herein referred to as the StPO, are federal codes, making their application consistent nationwide, the administration of the criminal justice system (police, courts and correctional institutions) are matters left to the individual states. Special state laws govern the regulation of police matters as well as the prosecution of cases. German law requires the prosecutor to play a neutral role. The prosecutor is obliged to consider evidence which will both incriminate and exonerate the accused. The appointment of judges also differs from state to state, keeping within the concept of state autonomy in regards to criminal and juvenile justice administration.
INCIDENCE OF CRIME
The crime rate in Germany is high compared to other industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Germany. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Germany will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2002 was 3.23 per 100,000 population for Germany, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.61 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2002 was 10.45 for Germany, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 31.77 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2002 was 71.41 for Germany, 4.08 for Japan, and 148.50 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2002 was 153.97 for Germany, 23.78 for Japan, and 318.55 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 2002 was 1280.7 for Germany, 233.60 for Japan, and 740.80 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2002 was 2382 for Germany, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2484.64 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2002 was 85.66 for Germany, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 430.64 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 3987.42 for Germany, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4160.51 for USA. (Note that Japan data are for year 2000 and USA data are for 2001.)
TRENDS IN CRIME
Between 1995 and 2002, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder decreased from 4.86 to 3.23 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 33.5%. The rate for rape increased from 7.57 to 10.45, an increase of 38%. The rate of robbery decreased from 77.84 to 71.41, a decrease of 8.26%. The rate for aggravated assault increased from 117.44 to 153.97, an increase of 31.1%. The rate for burglary decreased from 1904.84 to 1280.7, a decrease of 32.76%. The rate of larceny decreased from 2567.66 to 2382, a decrease of 7.23%. The rate of motor vehicle theft decreased from 247.11 to 85.66, a decrease of 65.33%. The rate of total index offenses decreased from 4927.32 to 3987.42, a decrease of 19.07%.
Germany has a civil law system with indigenous concepts, as well as judicial review of legislative acts in the Federal Constitutional Court.
The Basic Law of 1949, as amended, functions as constitution. Germany has a federalist system whereby federal government shares authority with sixteen state governments. The dual executive consists of chancellor, who is head of government, and president, who is head of state. Two federal legislative bodies form national parliament: Bundesrat (Federal Council or upper house), consisting of sixty-nine members appointed by state governments in proportion to population; and Bundestag (Federal Diet or lower house), main legislative body, consisting of 672 popularly elected members. Chancellor is elected by Bundestag and functions as prime minister in cabinet.
Laws are created by the Bundestag or Lower House of the German parliament. The upper house (Bundesrat) is a representative body of the states based on their population. The upper house must approve the laws made by the lower house and has veto power in matters concerning the states (for instance, taxes). The legal system is guided by federal laws which apply nationwide. Those specifically applicable to the criminal justice system are the Penal Code (StGB) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO). Other laws which concern the criminal justice system are the Betubungsmittelgesetz or BtMG (drug statutes), the Betubungsmittel-Verschreibungsverordnung (drug prescription regulation) (BtMVV), Straáenverkehrsgesetz (StVG) or traffic laws, and the Gesetz ber Ordnungswidrigkeiten (OWiG) or laws governing administrative or regulatory offenses. A further fundamental source of law is the Constitution or Grundgesetz, herein referred to as the GG. The Federal Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, can review and challenge the constitutionality of all statutes, including those that incorporate international treaties into German law. The German constitution reflects a mixed dualist/monist approach. Federal constitutional law supersedes all other laws. International treaties may only be incorporated into domestic law by a statute adopted by the Federal Parliament (Article 59(2) of the Federal Constitution). They then become binding law in Germany which will supersede state laws and have the same force as all other federal laws except the constitution. European Community law is directly binding within the Federal Republic of Germany without the necessity of further incorporation acts.
The European Community institutions' "Decisions" and "Regulations" are directly applicable.
Germany has an extremely limited federal police force. Basically all police functions are the responsibility of the state police departments. Their jurisdictions are strictly divided and autonomous, and almost all police activity takes place at the local levels, or in cases of rural settlements, by the state police. Administration of the police falls under the control of the State Ministry of the Interior. While the federal constitution provides for mutual assistance between the federal and regional police, the Federal Minister of the Interior and the chief executive of the Federal police, may not issue instructions to the state Ministers of the Interior. The Federal Police consist of the Railway Police; the Federal Border Police and a special federal anti-terrorist group; the Police of the administrative departments of the Federal Parliament; Customs officers and the Customs Investigative Branch (under the jurisdiction of the Federal Minister of Finance); and the Federal Crime Investigation Office. The main role of the Federal Crime Investigation Police is to act as a central clearinghouse for information and communications of all Federal police forces and to combat crime through such means as collection and analysis of police intelligence, compilation of statistics, research, identification and forensic science laboratory services. The FCI also conducts limited investigations in specific areas (for example, counterfeiting, drugs, arms and explosives if there are international aspects to the case, terrorism and political crimes). They may be ordered or requested to conduct investigations to aid local authorities.
The Security Program adopted by the Ministers of the Interior of the states provides for a relatively uniform police organization throughout the states. The chief executive is the Minister of the Interior of the State. Each state has a Crime Investigating Office which serves the same function at the state level that the Federal Crime Investigating Office serves at the federal level. Each state has the following police components: uniformed police, including special emergency units such as those for crowd or riot control, as well as marine police units responsible for policing rivers, harbors and coastal areas; Detective Branch or Criminal Police. Barring specific criminal activities mentioned above, criminal investigations are carried out at the local level by the detective branch.; and a Police Academy. The Police Academy, River Police Office, Central Crime Investigation Office, Telecommunications Center, Payments Office, and Mobile Police fall within the state police administrative structure, but outside of the immediate chain of command. The Police Directorate is at the lower level and consists of uniformed officers and the detective branch. This is directed by the Common Chief Officer who maintains a central command and control function. At the higher level is the District Police Department, which is responsible for several police directorates as well as for specialty functions such as special operational units, motorway police stations, and the forensic laboratory.
Law enforcement was primarily a responsibility of state governments, and the police are organized at the state level. The jurisdiction of the Federal Criminal Office was limited to counterterrorism, international organized crime, particularly narcotics trafficking, weapons smuggling, and currency counterfeiting. Police forces in general were well trained, disciplined, and mindful of citizens' rights; however, there have been instances in which police committed human rights abuses.
In regards to torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment in Germany the law prohibits such practices; however, in 2001 the U.N. Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern about "repeated reports of racist incidents in police stations as well as ill-treatment by law enforcement officials against foreigners" in the country.
The Basic Law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, and government authorities generally respected these prohibitions; violations were subject to effective legal sanction. For example, one regional court upheld a ban on the wearing of headscarves by Muslim teachers in public schools.
The Basic Law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally observed these prohibitions. A person can be arrested only on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by a competent judicial authority, unless the person is caught in the act of committing a crime, or the police have strong reason to believe that the person intends to commit a crime. If there is evidence that a suspect might flee the country, police may detain that person for up to 24 hours pending a formal charge. Any person detained by police must be brought before a judge and charged within 24 hours of the arrest. The court then must issue an arrest warrant stating the grounds for detention or order the person's release.
Police at times detained known or suspected rightwing and leftwing radicals for brief periods when they believed such individuals intended to participate in illegal or unauthorized demonstrations. The rules governing this type of detention are different in each state, with authorized periods of detention ranging from 1 to 14 days, provided judicial concurrence is given within 24 hours of initial apprehension. There were no reports of such detention during the year 2002.
Detainees have access to lawyers. Only judges may decide on the validity of any deprivation of liberty. Bail exists but seldom is employed; the usual practice is to release detainees unless there is clear danger of flight outside the country. In these cases, a person may be detained for the course of the investigation and subsequent trial. Such decisions are subject to regular judicial review, and time spent in investigative custody applies toward the sentence. In cases of acquittal, the Government must compensate the individual.
Courts in Germany deal with both civil and criminal matters. There are four levels of courts that deal with criminal matters: 1) local courts (Amtsgerichte). These court are competent in all criminal matters where a punishment of not more than 3 years imprisonment can be imposed; 2) regional courts (Landgerichte). Both Amtsgerichte and Landgerichte are courts of first instance. The regional courts, furthermore, may serve as a court of general appeal (Berufung), along with the higher regional courts; 3) higher regional courts (Oberlandesgerichte) or courts of appeal for both the Amtsgericht and the Landgericht; they may also hear cases at first instance ; 4) the Federal High Court (Bundesgerichtshof). The Federal High Court hears appeals on questions of law; it is divided into various panels each occupied by 5 professional judges; 5) the Federal Constitutional Court is the highest court in the land and considers only cases involving violations of constitutional law. It serves both as a court of first instance and a court of appeal. A case may be heard for the first time in any of the first three courts, depending upon the type of offense. It may be taken to one or two more on appeal or revision on a legal point. A separate court for juveniles has jurisdiction for those persons between 14 and 18 years of age. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 may be dealt with in Juvenile Court and may also be institutionalized in juvenile facilities up to the age of 25. Juvenile courts use the same penal codes but employ different sanctions and procedures than those used for adults.
Jugendgerichtsgesetz or JGG is the Juvenile Court Act which determines the court's handling of juveniles and young adults.
The Federal Republic of Germany was founded on May 23, 1949 with the declaration of the Constitution. Germany remained divided into eastern and western sectors under allied control until it regained total sovereignty with unification on October 3, 1990. The basis for Germany's modern day statutory law is the "Penal Code for the German Empire" codified in 1871. 3 Prior to the establishment of the German Empire in 1871, each German state had its own penal code. The 1871 penal code was influenced by the French Penal Code of 1810, the Bavarian Penal Code of 1813 as well as the Prussian Penal Code of 1851.
Retribution was the dominant philosophy and heavy emphasis was placed upon prevention through punishment. Satisfaction with the penal code was short-lived and as early as 1882 Liszt in his "Marburg Programme" called for reform of criminal sanctions with an emphasis on prevention through special deterrence which emphasizes deterring the offender, not the offense. While the Penal Code of 1871 remained relatively intact for over 100 years, it did undergo substantial modifications and reforms such as the registering of served sentences (1920), the creation of a special juvenile criminal law (1923), and the introduction of fines to suppress short-term prison sentences (1921-1924).
The Nazi era introduced sweeping and harsh reforms with an emphasis upon general deterrence through extreme severity (the death penalty). These reforms left the basic penal code intact but introduced punishment on order of the Fhrer. After the war and during the time that Germany remained divided into allied sectors, the new Federal Republic of Germany, created in 1949, began the task of overhauling the legal system. A serious attempt was made by the "Grand Criminal Law Commission" whose membership consisted of legal scholars, practitioners and politicians. They created a reform draft, "Draft of a Penal Code," in 1962 which failed to secure adoption by the Federal Assembly because of its weakness in formulating a criminal policy with regard to the sanctioning system. The major failure lay in its emphasis on punishment and retribution and its conservative view and rigidity on sexual mores. This failed attempt to pass a penal code by the Federal Assembly led to the creation of a second reform group, the Special Committee on Criminal Law Reform, comprised of German and Swiss legal scholars and criminologists.
This more successful attempt, presented as the "Alternative Draft of a Penal Code", recommended restricting the application of criminal law to socially harmful conduct and emphasized restructuring the sanction system to fit the philosophy of rehabilitation. Legal reforms introduced the notion that general deterrence could never be used as a philosophical basis for individual punishment. Significant legislation introduced reform in partial steps, the main elements contained in five Criminal Law Reform Acts beginning in 1969. The Criminal Law Reform Acts emphasized restructuring the sanctions to make them more conducive to the rationale of rehabilitation. Certain acts were decriminalized and others replaced with a more practical working definition. A second major reform was the permanent restriction on short-term prison sentences and the introduction of the fine. Additionally, changes were introduced in the general law as well as in the alternative sanctions which could be applied. Due to societal change and emphasis upon certain acts, the German government also passed legislation concerning environmental and economic crimes, hostage-taking and aircraft hijacking. One last significant piece of legislation was the Act on the Treaty of 31 August 1990 between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on the Establishment of German Unity. The Unification Treaty Act of August 31, 1990 (Einigungsvertragsgesetz) replaced, in large part, the laws of the former German Democratic Republic with those of the Federal Republic of Germany. Limited exceptions, however, allowed laws from the former East German penal code to exist in the former eastern states.
The Basic Law provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected this provision in practice.
Ordinary courts have jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters. There are four levels of such courts (local courts, regional courts, higher regional courts, and the Federal Court of Justice), with appeals possible from lower to higher levels. In addition to the ordinary courts, there are four types of specialized courts: Administrative, labor, social, and fiscal. These courts also have different levels, and appeals may be made to the next higher level.
Separate from these five types of courts is the Federal Constitutional Court, which is the supreme court. Among other responsibilities, it reviews laws to ensure their compatibility with the Basic Law and adjudicates disputes between different branches of government on questions of competencies. It also has jurisdiction to hear and decide claims based on the infringement of a person's basic constitutional rights by a public authority.
The judiciary provided citizens with a fair and efficient judicial process, although court proceedings at times were delayed because of increasing caseloads. For simple or less serious cases, the Government adopted a procedure allowing for an accelerated hearing and summary punishment at the local court level. The maximum sentence for such cases was limited to one year, and if a sentence of six months or more was expected, a defense counsel was required to be present.
Prisons are classified as either open or closed institutions. Open institutions are characterized by minimal restrictions and lack of high security walls, fences, or armed guards at the perimeter. Open institutions house non-violent offenders with relatively short sentences. Closed institutions are characterized by high security at the perimeter as well as within the institutions. However, within closed institutions it is not uncommon to find low-security tracts, particularly in womens' prisons, where young mothers are often allowed to keep their children with them in the prison until the child reaches a designated age. As of September 1992, there were 25 open institutions (11.2% of the total) and 199 closed institutions.
Persons who commit an offense while under the age of 14 are not held criminally liable for their offense. Criminal liability attaches at the age of 14. A juvenile is one who, at the time of the act, has reached the age of 14 but is not yet 18. A separate category exists for young adults between the ages of 18 and not yet 21. A young adult, based upon mitigating circumstances, may be dealt with by a juvenile court.
The death penalty was outlawed in Germany on May 23, 1949 by Article 102 of the Grundgesetz (Constitution) of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In the year 2002, prison conditions generally met international standards. A hunger strike by thirty-two prisoners in Berlin's Tegel prison in 2001, in which prisoners were protesting what they called poor living conditions (the prison was built in the 19th century and renovations were constrained by its status as a state historic site), ended when authorities responded to some of the prisoners' demands. Men were held separately from women, juveniles were held separately from adults, and pretrial detainees were held separately from convicted criminals.
The Government permitted visits by independent human rights monitors, although there were no reports that such visits were requested during the year 2002.
For centuries, a woman's role in German society was summed up and circumscribed by the three "K" words: Kinder (children), Kirche (church), and Küche (kitchen). Throughout the twentieth century, however, women have gradually won victories in their quest for equal rights. In 1919 they received the right to vote. Profound changes also were wrought by World War II. During the war, women assumed positions traditionally held by men. After the war, the so-called Trümmerfrauen (women of the rubble) tended the wounded, buried the dead, salvaged belongings, and began the arduous task of rebuilding war-torn Germany by simply clearing away the rubble.
In West Germany, the Basic Law of 1949 declared that men and women were equal, but it was not until 1957 that the civil code was amended to conform with this statement. Even in the early 1950s, women could be dismissed from the civil service when they married. After World War II, despite the severe shortage of young men that made marriage impossible for many women, traditional marriage once again became society's ideal. Employment and social welfare programs remained predicated on the male breadwinner model. West Germany turned to millions of migrants or immigrants--including large numbers of GDR refugees to satisfy its booming economy's labor requirements. Women became homemakers and mothers again and largely withdrew from employment outside the home.
In the east, however, women remained in the workforce. The Soviet-style system mandated women's participation in the economy, and the government implemented this key objective by opening up educational and vocational opportunities to women. As early as 1950, marriage and family laws also had been rewritten to accommodate working mothers. Abortion was legalized and funded by the state in the first trimester of pregnancy. An extensive system of social supports, such as a highly developed day-care network for children, was also put in place to permit women to be both mothers and workers. Emancipated "from above" for economic and ideological reasons, women in the east entered institutes of higher learning and the labor force in record numbers while still maintaining the household. East Germany had to rely on women because of its declining population; the situation was made more critical by the fact that most of those fleeing to West Germany were men.
Because of these developments, about 90 percent of East German women worked outside the home. They made up about half the membership in the two most important mass organizations of the former GDR--the Free German Trade Union Federation (Freier Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund--FDGB) and the Free German Youth (Freie Deutsche Jugend--FDJ). In 1988 slightly more than one-third of the membership of the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands--SED) consisted of women. In contrast, only about 4.4 percent of West German women were members of a political party.
After several decades of conforming to traditional social patterns, West German women began to demand changes. Following patterns in Europe and the United States, emancipation in the Federal Republic originated "from below," with women themselves. In the 1970s, the women's movement gathered momentum, having emerged as an outgrowth of student protests in the late 1960s. Rallying around the causes of equal rights (including the right to abortion, which was somewhat restricted in West Germany), the movement succeeded in having legislation passed in 1977 that granted a woman equal rights in marriage. A woman could work outside the home and file for divorce without her husband's permission. Divorce was permitted when the marriage partners could no longer be reconciled.
Women also made gains in education in both Germanys. By the mid-1960s, East German women accounted for about half of all secondary school graduates who had prepared to study at institutes of higher learning in the GDR; by the 1975-76 academic year, they were in the majority (53 percent). To assist women in completing their studies, an extensive support system, including supplementary payments and child care, was provided. Expanded educational opportunities for West German women were slower in coming and never equaled the levels reached in the east. Only in the early 1980s did West German women qualify for admission to universities in the same numbers as men. Although fewer than that number pursued college and university studies, between 1970 and 1989 the percentage of female students increased from 31 percent to 41 percent. Two factors were believed to be responsible for the discrepancy between eastern and western rates of attendance at institutes of higher learning: West German women had a stronger orientation toward traditional familial relations; and they had dimmer prospects for admission to particular academic departments and for professional employment after graduation.
Despite significant gains, discrimination remains in united Germany. Income inequalities persist: a woman's wages and salaries range between 65 percent and 78 percent of a man's for many positions. In most fields, women do not hold key positions. Generally, the higher the position, the more powerful is male dominance. For example, women are heavily represented in the traditional care-giving fields of health and education, but even in such fields there is a wide disparity between the number of females working in hospitals (75 percent of total staff) and schools (more than 50 percent) and the number of female physicians (4 percent) and principals (20 percent in the west and 32 percent in the east). In the late 1980s, only 5 percent of university professors in West Germany were women.
Although substantial barriers to equality of the sexes in Germany remain as a result of a persistently patriarchal family structure and work environment, women have managed to gain isolated high-profile victories. A separate national office for women's affairs was created in West Germany in 1980, and similar agencies have been established in most states in united Germany. Since the mid-1980s, offices responsible for working toward women's equality have been active, first in West Germany and after unification in the new states. The Equality Offices (Gleichstellungstellen ) have as one of their tasks ensuring that women occupy a more equitable share of positions in the public sector.
Some women have succeeded in reaching positions of power. One of the most successful women in politics in the 1990s is Rita Süssmuth, president of the Bundestag. In the field of industry, Birgit Breuel assumed the leadership, following the assassination of Detlev Rohwedder in April 1991, of the Treuhandanstalt (Trust Agency), the powerful agency charged with privatizing the former East German economy. Other influential and prominent German women in the mid-1990s are Marion von Dönhoff, coeditor of Die Zeit , and Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, director of the Allensbach Public Opinion Institute. Yet despite this progress, a 1991 article in an influential weekly magazine made it clear how far women must go to achieve equality. The magazine's list of the 100 most powerful people in Germany included only four women.
Almost all segments of eastern German society encountered tremendous difficulty in the unification process, but women suffered the most. Some reports indicated that two-thirds of working women in the new states were unemployed, and many more were turned into part-time workers as a result of privatization, downsizing of firms, and elimination of support services such as day-care and after-school centers. To improve their prospects for employment, some women in eastern Germany reportedly were resorting to sterilization, one of the factors contributing to the steep decline in births from twelve per 1,000 in 1989 to 5.3 per 1,000 in 1993.
Among the issues that demonstrated differences between women of the old and new states, one of the most contentious was abortion. In 1991 there were about 125,000 registered abortions performed in Germany, about 50,000 of which were in the east. Although the number of registered abortions in both parts of Germany had been declining in recent years, the actual number of abortions was estimated at about 250,000. For a time following unification, the restrictive western and permissive eastern legislation on abortion continued in force. In June 1992, however, the Bundestag voted to ease abortion restrictions and to permit the procedure during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy with compulsory counseling. Resorting to what had been a successful policy in the early 1970s, those opposed to the new law, including Chancellor Helmut Kohl, appealed to the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe to nullify the new law. Just before it was scheduled to take effect, the law was blocked when the court issued an injunction. Subsequently, a new restrictive law came to apply in all of Germany.
Women are more at a disadvantage than any other social group. This fact stems from the bias of German social insurance programs in favor of a male breadwinner model; most women receive social and health protection by virtue of their dependent status as spouse. Hence, despite the existence of a comprehensive interlocking social net, women face inequalities in accruing benefits in their own right because of periods spent rearing children or caring for an elderly parent. Divorced women also fare poorly because of the welfare system's provisions, as do widows, whose pensions are low.
Violence against women was a problem and was underreported. In 2001 countrywide, 7,891 cases of rape were reported, 5 percent more than in 2000. The law prohibits violence against women and the Government has implemented a vast array of legal and social structures to combat it. Societal attitudes toward such violence are strongly negative, and legal and medical recourse are available. During the year 2002, the Government conducted campaigns in schools and through church groups to bring public attention to the existence of such violence and supported numerous pilot projects to combat such violence throughout the country. For example, there were 435 "women's houses," including 115 in the eastern states (excluding Berlin), where victims of violence and their children could seek shelter, counseling, and legal and police protection. In the last few years, the Federal Ministry for Women and Youth has commissioned a number of studies to obtain information on violence against women, sexual harassment, and other matters.
Prostitution is legal in the country. Lawmakers have approved new rules affording prostitutes more benefits such as the chance to enter the social security system and to use the courts to obtain payment for their services. Trafficking in women was a serious problem. There were no reports that women were victims of sexual harassment.
The Government continued to implement its multiyear action plan, "Women and Occupation." The program promoted the equality of women and men in the workforce, including increased vocational training for women, greater representation of women in political advisory councils, and the promotion of female entrepreneurs through government grants and participation in regional projects earmarked for women. The Federal Ministry for Families, the Elderly, Women, and Youth also announced a multiyear initiative designed to increase the number of women and girls who receive training in information technology (IT) and in media careers, with the goal of raising the number of IT-training slots to 60,000 by 2003 and the share of female IT-trainees to 40 percent by 2005. The law provides for equal pay for equal work; however, in practice many employers categorized individual jobs held by women differently from the same job held by a man, thereby creating inequalities in pay for men and women. Union contracts typically identified categories of employment in which participants are to be paid less than 100 percent of the wage of a skilled laborer covered by the same contract. Women were represented disproportionately in these lower-wage scale occupations. In general a women's average monthly income was lower than a man's average monthly income. However, if factors such as differences in age, qualification, occupational position, structure of employment or seniority are taken into consideration, women usually were not discriminated against in terms of equal pay for equal work, although they were underrepresented in well paid managerial positions.
In 2000 the European Court of Justice ruled that the Government's prohibition on women in combat roles in the armed forces violated EU directives against discrimination based on gender. The Government accepted the ruling and in 2000 amended the Basic Law to open all military jobs to women on a voluntary basis. The first group of 244 women reported for duty in January 2001. The integration of women into new armed forces roles took place without problems.
The first level of education is called elementary education and consists of kindergarten for children ages three to five. Attendance is voluntary. In the first half of the 1990s, about 80 percent of children were in kindergarten. Beginning in 1996, all children will be guaranteed a place in kindergarten. Because the former GDR had maintained an extensive kindergarten system, the new states had enough kindergarten places to meet this requirement. In contrast, in the early 1990s the old states had only enough places to accommodate about 75 percent of children in the relevant age-group.
The second level of education is called primary education and consists of the Grundschule (basic school). Children between the ages of six and ten attend the Grundschule from grades one through four. Children are evaluated in the fourth grade and tracked according to their academic records, teacher evaluations, and parent-teacher discussions. The three tracks lead to different secondary schools and play a significant role in determining a child's subsequent educational options.
Secondary education, the third level of education, is divided into two levels: junior secondary education (also called intermediate secondary education) and senior secondary education. Upon completion of the Grundschule, students between the ages of ten and sixteen attend one of the following types of secondary schools: the Hauptschule, the Realschule, the Gymnasium, the Gesamtschule, or the Sonderschule (for children with special educational needs). Students who complete this level of education receive an intermediate school certificate. Adults who attend two years of classes in evening schools can also earn these intermediate school certificates, which permit further study.
Junior secondary education starts with two years (grades five and six) of orientation courses during which students explore a variety of educational career paths open to them. The courses are designed to provide more time for the student and parents to decide upon appropriate subsequent education.
The Hauptschule, often called a short-course secondary school in English, lasts five or six years and consists of grades five to nine or five to ten depending on the state. Some states require a compulsory tenth year or offer a two-year orientation program. About one-third of students completing primary school continue in the Hauptschule. The curriculum stresses preparation for a vocation as well as mathematics, history, geography, German, and one foreign language. After receiving their diploma, graduates either become apprentices in shops or factories while taking compulsory part-time courses or attend some form of full-time vocational school until the age of eighteen.
Another one-third of primary school graduates attend the Realschule, sometimes called the intermediate school. These schools include grades five through ten. Students seeking access to middle levels of government, industry, and business attend the Realschule. The curriculum is the same as that of the Hauptschule , but students take an additional foreign language, shorthand, wordprocessing, and bookkeeping, and they learn some computer skills. Graduation from the Realschule enables students to enter a Fachoberschule (a higher technical school) or a Fachgymnasium (a specialized high school or grammar school) for the next stage of secondary education. A special program makes it possible for a few students to transfer into the Gymnasium, but this is exceptional.
The Gymnasium, sometimes called high school or grammar school in English, begins upon completion of the Grundschule or the orientation grades and includes grades five through thirteen. The number of students attending the Gymnasium has increased dramatically in recent decades; by the mid-1990s, about one-third of all primary school graduates completed a course of study at the Gymnasium, which gives them the right to study at the university level. In the 1990s, the Gymnasium continued to be the primary educational route into the universities, although other routes have been created.
The Gesamtschule originated in the late 1960s to provide a broader range of educational opportunities for students than the traditional Gymnasium. The Gesamtschule has an all-inclusive curriculum for students ages ten to eighteen and a good deal of freedom to choose coursework. Some schools of this type have been established as all-day schools, unlike the Gymnasium, which is a part-day school with extensive homework assignments. The popularity of the Gesamtschule has been mixed. It has been resisted in more conservative areas, especially in Bavaria, where only one such school had been established by the beginning of the 1990s. A few more were established in Bavaria in the next few years; their presence is marginal when compared with the Gymnasium, of which there were 395 in 1994. Even North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state and an outspoken supporter of the Gesamtschule, had only 181, compared with 623 of the traditional Gymasium.
The Government was strongly committed to children's rights and welfare; it amply funded systems of public education and medical care. Public education was provided free of charge through the university level and was mandatory through the age of 16; almost all children attended school on a daily basis.
Child abuse was a problem. The law stresses the need for preventive measures, and in response the Government has increased its counseling and other assistance to abused children.
The Criminal Code provides for the protection of children against pornography and sexual abuse. For possession of child pornography, the maximum sentence is 1 year's imprisonment; the sentence for distribution is 5 years. The law makes the sexual abuse of children by citizens abroad punishable even if the action is not illegal in the child's own country. Due to increased law enforcement efforts in this area, 2,745 arrests for possession or distribution of child pornography were made in 2001, an increase of 72 percent over 2000. Trafficking in girls was a serious problem.
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, trafficking in persons, primarily women and girls for sexual exploitation, was a serious problem.
The law specifically prohibits trafficking in persons and trafficking in persons is punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment. The Federal Criminal Office and state police actively investigated cases of trafficking and published their findings in an annual trafficking report. In the 2001 report, officials counted and registered 746 trafficked victims 26 percent fewer than in 2000. However, these numbers referred to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation only and did not include trafficking for other purposes.
The Federal Ministry for Families, the Elderly, Women, and Youth headed an interagency working group to coordinate the efforts of state and federal agencies to combat trafficking and to aid victims of trafficking. The Federal Criminal Office offered a 2-week seminar twice a year to train police officers from all over the country in the handling of trafficking cases. The federal and state Governments worked actively with NGOs and local women's shelters in combating human trafficking. The Government published a brochure that provided information on residency and work requirements, counseling centers for women, health care, warnings about trafficking, and information for sex-industry workers that was printed in 13 languages and distributed by NGOs and German Consulates abroad.
The Federal Government continued a multiyear "Action Plan to Combat Violence Against Women." This effort included the creation of a number of combined federal and state working groups, with the participation of relevant NGOs, to address possible legislative changes, public educational campaigns, and opportunities for greater institutional cooperation. Under this program, the Government planned to spend approximately $373,000 (373,000 euros) over 3 years to establish a "National Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Women and Violence Against Women in the Migratory Process."
In September police in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland arrested 14 persons, including an army colonel, for running a human trafficking ring. The arrests were the result of effective collaboration between German and Polish authorities, who obtained incriminating information from a woman arrested in Poland.
Germany was a destination and transit country for trafficking in persons, overwhelmingly women and girls. Most trafficking victims were women and girls between the ages of 16 and 25 who were forced to work as prostitutes; according to police statistics, less than 0.5 percent of trafficking victims were men or boys.
Estimates varied considerably on the number of women and girls trafficked to and through the country; they ranged from 2,000 to 20,000 per year. Approximately 80 percent of trafficking victims came from Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union, primarily from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia, and the Czech Republic. Frequently crime rings would traffic women who already had been caught in, and deported from, one European country to another European country. The other 20 percent of trafficking victims came from Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Traffickers used fake employment offers, arranged marriages, fraud, and coercive measures to find victims and used various methods to insure their compliance, including threats of "selling" the victim to other traffickers, threats against family members in the country of origin, physical violence, and the withholding of documents.
The Ministry has lobbied states successfully to provide victims of trafficking who had been detained by police 4 weeks to leave the country, rather than have them face immediate deportation. The 4-week grace period allowed the victims time to decide whether to cooperate with police on investigations of those suspected of trafficking. During this time, the women were housed, fed, and provided counseling. However, the interagency Working Group on Trafficking in Women and NGOs claimed that the directive allowing a 4-week grace period was not applied uniformly or correctly. According to the Working Group, victims often were deported immediately after being taken into custody. Those who cooperated, although they are very few in number, were granted a temporary stay for at least part of the proceedings and could be eligible for witness protection at the state level. In three past cases, the children of women in such witness protection programs were brought to the country to prevent possible retaliation against them due to their mother's testimony; however, protection ends once the case is concluded.
Because victims technically were illegal residents, they were not allowed to work during the period of a trial, and because they do not have a residence permit, they only qualified for financial assistance under the federal Law on Payments for Asylum Seekers, which were lower than regular welfare payments.
Trafficking victims who could not afford to pay for their return tickets home could be eligible for state and federal funds for transportation and some pocket money.
The Federal Government continued its funding of six counseling centers for women from Central and Eastern Europe, and most states and many communities cofinanced institutions that helped counsel and care for victims of trafficking. The Government also funded the "Coordination Network" (Koordinierungskreis der Fachberatungsstellen/KOK), a network of more than 30 NGOs that participated in processing the caseload of victims of human trafficking. There were more than 30 organizations that fell under the network of the KOK. These organizations provided food, shelter, and counseling to victims.
The country worked with the OSCE on social programs aimed at preventing trafficking in persons. These programs targeted "at risk" young women in their countries of origin and provided information about the dangers of trafficking as well as offering job skill development assistance.
Germany is a key location for drugs transiting Europe and remains a major consumer of most illicit drugs. Government statistics show some variation in the reporting for first-time drug users since last year. Heroin remains the most abused illegal drug, but the trend towards greater use of synthetic drugs slowed slightly since 1997. Drugs continue to be shipped from all over the world to Germany for further distribution, with the most frequent sources being Turkey (through the Balkan route) and The Netherlands. Money laundering, while illegal, remains problematic. Cross-border cash movements are free from formal reporting mechanisms. Germany is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
Germany remains a major consumer of illicit narcotics and continues to serve as a hub for drugs transiting to/from other nations. Its sophisticated transportation infrastructure--the Autobahn, Frankfurt International Airport (one of the world's busiest), make Germany an ideal route for drugs entering and transiting Europe. Its role as one of the world's major chemical producers makes it a target for precursor chemical diversions.
It appears that the number of first-time hard drug users has remained relatively constant over the past three years. Police reports indicate that first-time use of amphetamines and cocaine rose during the reporting period while first-time use of amphetamine derivatives, LSD, and heroin all fell.
German authorities registered some 735 deaths stemming from drug abuse during the first six months of 1998. This is a slight increase (3.4 percent) over the same time period in 1997. The bulk of the deaths were caused by heroin overdose (roughly one third), with 20 percent resulting from mixing heroin with other drugs, and another 18 percent due to chronic heroin abuse. Eight deaths were believed to be caused wholly or in part by the use of ecstasy.
German counterdrug efforts continue to be guided by the 1990 national narcotics prevention plan, based on a consensus between the federal and state governments. During the first half of 1998, there were no major changes. However, following the elections in September, the bulk of the responsibility for Germany's federal involvement in formulating drug policy passed from the Interior Ministry to the Health Ministry. It is difficult to predict how this will affect policy over the next four years. However, the Health Ministry recently agreed to consider programs in Hamburg, Duesseldorf, and Frankfurt in which the state governments may provide heroin to addicts in an effort to control use. This rather controversial program is patterned after a similar effort in Switzerland. U.S. law enforcement agencies, however, do not anticipate that the move from Interior to Health will impact Germany's willingness to investigate and combat international drug trafficking.
German police continue to interdict and seize large quantities of illicit narcotics shipments destined for, or transiting, Germany, although the statistics for individual drugs were mixed. Heroin and cocaine seizures were down (9.5 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively), as was the case with ecstasy (down 19.3 percent) and LSD (down 3.3 percent). The amount of amphetamines seized was up drastically (47.1 percent). Far more marijuana (24.1 percent) and hashish (102 percent) also were confiscated during the first six months of this year as compared to last (the drastic increase in hashish seizures relates directly to three large seizures at the Frankfurt airport, totaling some 4,200 kilograms.)
German law enforcement efforts remain effective at state and federal level. The government this year began training some units in LSD and heroin signature analysis in order to better identify and investigate drug shipments transiting Germany. German cooperation with various U.S. law enforcement counterparts is excellent.
Corruption is not a major problem in Germany. Isolated cases may arise, but the overwhelming consensus is that corruption is far from systemic. The government neither encourages nor facilitates the production and/or distribution of illicit narcotics.
Germany became a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1993, and is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The U.S. and Germany have an Extradition Treaty, but no Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
There is no large-scale cultivation of any type of drug in Germany. Police continue to report the occasional discovery of marijuana plants destined for personal use, but no significant plots have ever been found in Germany.
During the first six months of 1998, German police raided and dismantled 9 laboratories that were producing illicit drugs. Six of these were found to be manufacturing methamphetamine. Two were used to make other amphetamine derivatives while the ninth was producing the hallucinogen mescaline.
Germany remains one of the most-used trafficking hubs in Europe. Its central location, excellent road and port systems, as well as Frankfurt International Airport, provide narcotics traffickers ample outlets into the various European markets. The Balkan route dominated by Turks continues to be the path of least resistance for heroin shipments from the "Golden Crescent" of southwest Asia. Twenty-three percent of the heroin seized in Germany for the reporting period, was thought to be destined for markets outside Germany.
Similar statistics for cocaine, marijuana/hashish, and synthetic drugs reinforce Germany's position as a crossroads for the European drug trade. The relative ease with which drugs can be moved into Germany is a cause for great concern for the German government and one that the government has yet to be able to fully counter. German police estimate that 13.8 percent of the cocaine seized during the first six months of 1998 was in transit to other locales. Likewise, authorities speculate that the three seizures of hashish at the Frankfurt airport in the first half of this year (totaling some 4,200 kilograms) were intended for the hash bars of The Netherlands. For synthetic drugs mainly produced in The Netherlands Germany is a key staging area. Germany reportedly will make countering the above phenomenon a key issue in its upcoming Schengen and EU presidencies.
Germany's efforts at education about the physical and psychological effects of drug use/abuse are targeted to kindergarten and primary school-age children. The bulk of the self-help programs historically have been managed on the state level with some interaction with federal authorities. It remains to be seen if the recent shift of lead responsibility for the drug question in Germany from the Interior Ministry to the Health Ministry will change the demand reduction/education programs.
The level of cooperation with Germany is excellent. German law enforcement agencies work closely with their U.S. counterparts, mainly the Drug Enforcement Administration, on narcotics and narcotics-related cases. German and U.S. law enforcement agencies routinely cooperate on joint investigations against international drug trafficking organizations. DEA is a member of the "permanent German anti-narcotics working group" (STAR), and also participates in a number of other regional narcotics working groups. DEA, FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Customs Service continue to work closely with counterparts from a variety of German agencies in attempts to stem money laundering.
The U.S. mission in Germany will continue to work closely with its German counterparts in attacking this problem. In conjunction with the Mission's move to Berlin, we have begun an outreach program to police units in the eastern states which will allow us to cooperate as effectively there as we have in the western portion of Germany.
Germany is a source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for and consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and European-produced synthetic drugs.
Drug statutes and regulations specifically spell out the drugs which are prohibited or controlled by German law because of their potentially addictive effects or danger to the population. 4 By law, the Federal Minister for Youth, Family and Health may, without confirmation from the Bundestag, alter the current list of drugs. 5 Anyone not licensed, who cultivates, imports, buys or sells, prescribes, manufactures or possesses an illegal drug is subject to punishment under the BtMG (punishment may range from a fine or probation to incarceration usually for a period of not less than 2 but not more than 4 years) (BtMG, ss 29-36). Federal statistics on drug violations are collected for the following drugs: heroin, cocaine, LSD, amphetamines, cannabis and its derivatives, and a last category for other drugs.
Internet research assisted by Janine D. Mendelssohn