This thoroughly revised edition of The West German Social Democrats, 1969-1982: Profile of a Party in Power contrasts the period during which the SPD was in power with its role since 1982 as an opposition party. Even though it was the senior party in the coalition governments of chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt, it did not have the influence on domestic and foreign policy in the 1970s that it had hoped for. Nevertheless, it achieved insider status, unlike its dual competitive and cooperative opposition role vis-a-vis the conservative governments of Helmut Kohl. Braunthal also discusses the short-lived East German SPD, which formed during the crumbling months of the German Democratic Republic and then merged with the West German party shortly before unification. In a period when some analysts pronounce the victory of capitalism and the death of socialism and others decry the crises among political parties, the SPD has managed to remain relatively strong. Yet the party, argues the author, will need to enhance its support, especially in eastern Germany, if it expects to regain political power in the 1990s. Such a goal cannot be reached unless it projects a modern image, minimizes intraparty discord, copes successfully with the external social and economic forces affecting its development, and has a dynamic leadership that presents appealing policy alternatives to the Kohl government. Braunthal details the SPD's organization, leadership, factions, constituent associations, ideology, voter support and elections, relations to Parliament and government, and influence on government policies. He draws from a wealth of primary sources, including unpublished German archival records and over 200 interviews with top politicians, party officials, SPD members, and journalists. Braunthal, one of the leading Western scholars on the SPD, presents here the definitive study of this pivotal party.

chapter |8 pages


chapter 1|18 pages

Historical Overview

chapter 2|18 pages

The East German SPD: A Brief Existence

chapter 4|26 pages

Membership: A Social Shift at the Base

chapter 7|26 pages

Social Democratic Workers and Trade Unions

chapter 9|22 pages

The Quest for an Ideology

chapter 10|23 pages

The Quest for Voters

chapter 11|21 pages

National Elections

chapter 12|22 pages

Party and Parliament

chapter 13|18 pages

Party and Government

chapter 16|16 pages