chapter  5
10 Pages


WithDiane L. Parness

This chapter explains the distinctive nature of the Social Democratic Parties' (SPD) problems in postindustrial West Germany, and reviews these problems as a product of the party's role in the West German political system and its own internal divisions. Party elites have consistently guided the SPD's path through the post-war political landscape, and they are as accountable for the party's great successes as they are for its shortcomings and miscalculations. Chancellor Brandt's insistence that the SPD offer a political home for legions of disaffected student protesters was an expression of his personal political sympathies. The implications of the Einbindungsstrategie have been weighed at length because that single policy magnified the SPD's political troubles and reflected the shortcomings of party policy in the post-Godesberg era. The first and most troublesome of the problems introduced by the Einbindungsstrategie was the deterioration of the basis of the SPD's strength in the postwar era, the party organization.