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Mark E. Spicka

Perhaps the most remarkable development in the Federal Republic

of Germany since World War II has been the creation of its stable

democracy. Already by the second half of the 1950s, political commentators

proclaimed that “Bonn is not Weimar.” Whereas the

Weimar Republic faced the proliferation of splinter parties, the rise

of extremist parties, and the fragmentation of support for liberal and

conservative parties—conditions that led to its ultimate collapse—the

Federal Republic witnessed the blossoming of moderate, broadbased

parties.1 By the end of the 1950s the Christian Democratic

Union/Christian Social Union (CDU), Social Democratic Party

(SPD) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) had formed the basis of a

stable party system that would continue through the 1980s.