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German Free Democratic Party, 123
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)

Institutionalization Variables, 1.01-1.06
1.01 Year of Origin and 1.02 Name Changes
1948, AC9
0, AC9
Free Democrat Party was established as a national party in all three western zones in November, 1948, and its first congress was held in June, 1949. However, sister organizations were begun before this, in the Soviet zone in 1945, and in Wuettemberg-Baden in 1946. There were no name changes.
1.03 Organizational Discontinuity
9, AC9
Minor merger in 1957 when democratic party of the Saar became an autonomous land organization of the FDP. Major split in 1956 when the initiative of the young Turks movement resulted in the resignation of 16 FDP Bundestag members. Among these were all four FDP cabinet ministers.
1.04 Leadership Competition
16, AC9
The leadership was in the hands of Middelhauve, Dehler, Maier, and Mende at various times during 1950-62. Middelhauve relinquished leadership after being implicated in the Naumann scandal in 1952. The following year Dehler assumed leadership, but was forced to resign in late 1956 under pressure from the Dusseldorf faction called the young Turks. Maier assumed the chairmanship, only to relinquish it to Eric Mende in 1960. Leadership changes were all overt, involving ratification by either the federal convention or by the land chairman and other party notables.
1.05 Legislative Instability
Instability is .18, AC8
The FDP legislative representation ranged from 7 to 13 percent during our period .
1.06 Electoral Instability
Instability is .10, AC9
Strength is .10 for 1950-56, AC9, and .10 for 1957-62 , AC9
Based on elections in 1953, 1957, and 1961, the FDP received from 8 to 13 percent of the vote.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 Government Discrimination
0, AC9
This party never suffered from any electoral discrimination. Party participated in governing coalitions throughout the time period and definitely benefited from the proportional representation system.
2.02 Governmental Leadership
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
Although the party participated in many governing coalitions, it never claimed the position of prime minister.
2.03 Cabinet Participation
7 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
2 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
FDP participated in all governing coalitions during first time period. Party did not participate in the government formed in October, 1957, but returned to a governing coalition with the CDU in 1961. The party also participated in 1962 governing coalition.
2.04 National Participation
6, AC9
Although the FDP was the smallest of the three parties under consideration, it generally enjoys some strength in all areas of the country. Its 1957 campaign was promoted on a national basis, and the 1961 election results indicate an increase in party strength in all lander. Party also made an effort to broaden its social base by becoming less aristocratic and thereby appealing to more of the German middle class.
2.05 Legislative Strength
Strength is .11 for 1950-56, AC9, and .10 for 1957-62 , AC8
The FDP legislative representation ranged from 7 to 13 percent during our period .
2.06 Electoral Strength
Strength is .10 for 1950-56, AC9, and .10 for 1957-62 , AC9
Based on elections in 1953, 1957, and 1961, the FDP received from 8 to 13 percent of the vote.
2.07 Outside Origin
6, AC5
The FDP was independently formed in different areas of Germany between 1945 and its unification as a national party in the western zones in 1948 . Thus we would expect diverse personalities and ideologies to be represented in the party. It appears that each of these developing party regions was sponsored by prominent persons of the area. Some were just well-educated, wealthy citizens, and others had been involved in politics during past administrations .

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 Ownership of Means of Production
4, AC7
FDP supported a plan for going beyond the CDU program of returning Volkswagen to private ownership. The FDP demanded liquidation of federal holdings in banks and heavy industry.
5.02 Government Role in Economic Planning
4, AC7
Score awarded on the basis of FDP acceptance of CDU economic planning policies. FDP would have preferred a more subdued governmental role in this area .
5.03 Redistribution of Wealth
1, AC7
Party called for reduction of tax rates and social insurance dues, extension of tax exemptions and governmental savings dividends system. Party demanded extension of tax exemptions for the qualified professional training of young people.
5.04 Social Welfare
1, AC7
Among 1961 election manifesto demands--education grants for gifted children, child support payments from tax monies, home construction supported by public funds. Party alone opposed the pension reform of 1954. They claimed that it compelled a wider range of people to join, that it merged the insurance of white-collar workers with the national insurance, that it was unduly expensive, and that it endangered the stability of the currency.
5.05 Secularization of Society
1, AC9
Although this code does not entirely reflect the FDP position, it is the closest score. The party emphasized its anti-clerical position in an effort to differentiate itself from the SPD and CDU. Party voiced opposition to parochial schools and constantly underlined its independence from the pulpit.
5.06 Support of the Military
1, AC9
Party demanded that expenditures for educational and social welfare needs be put on a parity with defense expenditures. FDP opposed the stationing of atomic weapons on German soil and demanded greater German control of NATO operations.
5.07 Alignment with East-West Blocs
4 for 1950-56, AC7 -
5 for 1957-62, AC9
By the end of the time period, the FDP and CDU positions vis-a-vis the Western Bloc were identical. Although the party took a somewhat more flexible position towards the Eastern Bloc on occasion, it always maintained its staunch support for the Western Bloc nations in general and the US in specific.
5.08 Anti-Colonialism
0, AC9
Germany was not involved in any colonial relationships during our time period.
5.09 Supranational Integration
3 for 1st half, AC9
3 for 2nd half, AC9
During first half the party voted against the common market treaty because that treaty was seen by the FDP as a threat to possible German reunification. However, the party policy later shifted drastically, and the FDP became a staunch advocate of European integration during the second time period. The 1961 party program called for the admission of Great Britain to the common market.
5.10 National Integration
1, AC3
See comments for the CDU on this variable. FDP position was identical.
5.11 Electoral Participation
5, AC9
Party never advocated restriction of franchise.
5.12 Protection of Civil Rights
1, AC3
Since the FDP embodied the historical tradition of German liberalism, it always emphasized the notion of "freedom," although this remained an ambiguous position . Basically adhered to a policy of protection of civil rights and civil liberties.
5.13 Interference with Civil Liberties
3, AC9
Party opposed any unilateral influence on television, radio, press, or cinema. Party also opposed what it saw as the abolition of freedom of association through compulsory contributions to trade unions. Party always acted as a watchdog--making sure that the CDU did not begin to exhibit authoritarian tendencies.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet Experts Left-Right Ratings
US says 1, conservative
Soviets say 1, connected with monopolistic capital, leans toward middle classes .

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 Open Competition in the Electoral Process
4, AC9
Party never advocated restriction of electoral competition during our time period.
6.10 Restricting Party Competition
0, AC9
Party never advocated restriction of electoral competition during our time period.
6.20 Subverting the Political System
0, AC9
Party never advocated subversion of the governmental system during our time period.
6.30 Propagandizing Ideas and Program
6.31--2, AC9
Party circulated newsletters during election years.
6.32--2, AC9
Party operated a youth organization, Junge Demokraten. It appears that this organization served an educational purpose.
6.33--2, AC9
Party issued numerous position papers, resolutions, and platforms.
6.34--2, AC9
Party issued numerous platform statements at conventions.
6.50 Providing for Welfare of Party Members
No information.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 Sources of Funds
1 (sector 04), AC9
All sources agreed that the bulk of the contributions to the FDP came from big business and industry.
7.02 Source of Members
5, AC9
There is no mention of indirect membership in the bylaws of the FDP. In the absence of such references, it is assumed that all membership was direct.
7.03 Sources of Leaders
3 (sector 04) for 1st half, AC5
3 (sector 04) for 2nd half, AC6
Based on data in Loewenberg--1967--for parliamentarians from 1957-61, about half of the FDP deputies reporting occupations were in business.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
4 for 1st half, AC9
5 for 2nd half, AC7
The FDP always participated as the weaker member in the governing coalition. Only once (in 1957) did the party refuse to enter in the coalition with the CDU, and it acted as the loyal opposition, along with the SPD, from 1957-1961.
7.05 Relations with Foreign Organizations
4, AC8
The FDP belonged to the liberal international, but its participation in the organization was uneven.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 Structural Articulation
7, AC9
Three indentifiable national party organs--Federal Party Convention, Federal Main Committee, and Federal Executive Committee. Every party member can participate in the Federal Party Convention. Its functions were to advise and decide upon basic political and organization questions. The Federal Main Committee was composed of the Federal Executive Committee, the delegates of the land association, and extra delegates for greater numbers of members . Its duties were to take action on all political and organization questions, except those decided by the convention . The Federal Executive Committee included the Federal Chairman (of the convention), three Vice-Chairmen, the Federal Treasurer, the Chairmen of the Land Associations, the chairman of the bundestag parliamentary party, the Federal Ministers and laender premier, and thirteen other members . The federal executive committee decides on political and organization questions along with the other national organs.
8.02 Intensiveness of Organization
5, AC3
There were local associations in the FDP which were quite similar to those of the CDU. It appears that the FDP party structure was about the same as that of the CDU, although documentation of this is not good. While the CDU was subdivided to the unit level, it is doubtful that the FDP organization was carried past the precinct level.
8.03 Extensiveness of Organization
6, AC3
Based on FDP electoral success and stability, it is assumed that the party precinct level organization extended throughout the country.
8.04 Frequency of Local Meetings
No information.
8.05 Frequency of National Meetings
4, AC6
The FDP bylaws stated that the Federal Executive Committee shall meet at least once every three months.
8.06 Maintaining Records
16, AC5
Since the FDP was quite similar to the CDU in organization and ideology, it is assumed that complete and current membership lists were maintained. It appears that unlike the CDU, the FDP had a research organ in its headquarters. It is clear that the FDP engaged in active and extensive publishing programs.
8.07 Pervasiveness of Organization
8, AC3
It appears that the party sponsored a youth wing as well as a middle class ancillary organ called the "taxpayers federation." There is no adequate information on the size of these groups or the degree of party control over them.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 Nationalization of Structure
3 for 1st half, AC9
5 for 2nd half, AC3
Party composed of land associations. They may have created sub-divisions depending on local requirements. Three identifiable levels of FDP organization--Federal Party, land associations, sub- divisions of land associations. While land associations enjoyed somewhat more decision making power in the FDP than in the other two parties, the federal party organization still had ultimate control over party organization. During the first half the land associations enjoyed more autonomy, but in 1960-61, the federal party (under Mende) strengthened its position.
9.02 Selecting the National Leader
3, AC9
The Federal Party convention selected the Federal Chairman. The convention was made up of members of the Federal Executive Committee, delegates from the land associations, and delegates-at-large.
9.03 Selecting Parliamentary Candidates
5 for 1st half, AC7
6 for 2nd half, AC7
By law, nominations for constituency seats were the responsibility of the constituency party associations. However, since 1953, the FDP won almost no seats in constituency elections and depended on list candidates, which are named in convention at the laender level with some sort of national review. The code for the first half, then, recognized some constituency association participation on candidate selection. That for the second half recognized the joint roles of the land and national organizations.
9.04 Allocating Funds
5, AC9
Party covered its expenses with contributions by the land associations , voluntary contributions, and receipts from publications, institutions, and events. Federal executive committee determined the contribution levels for the land associations and the power to penalize a land association for failure to meet its contribution duty rested with the federal party.
9.05 Formulating Policy
0 for 1st half, AC9
5 for 2nd half, AC5
During the first half the party maintained only a nominal national organization, and the supra-land apparatus functioned as a "roof organization" rather than as a true national unit. Essentially, policies determined in the state offices and among Bundestag delegates rather than by discussion with rank and file. During second half, national organization began to clearly atriculate FDP policies. National organization increased in power under the leadership of Eric Mende.
9.06 Controlling Communications
7, AC9
The FDP carried on extensive propaganda campaigns on a national level. This was particularly true in 1957 when the party decided not to enter a coalition with the cdu.
9.07 Administering Discipline
2, AC9
According to the FDP standing orders, provisions exist for expulsion or dropping from the roles for delinquency in dues payments. However, there are methods for appealing such actions. The land associations were in charge of procedures for expulsion and dismissal.
9.08 Leadership Concentration
3, AC3
This code does not really express the realities of leadership concentration. During the first half, leadership rested with the Bundestag members and the laender chairmen. The national association did not exert a great deal of control or leadership. During the second half, leadership responsibilities, to some extent, were transferred to the national organization , but the decision making was still in the hands of more than five individuals. Only in the early 1960's did real concentration emerge.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 Legislative Cohesion
.81 for first half, AC9
.93 for second half, AC6
These cohesion figures for the FDP are based on 285 roll call votes in the 1949-57 Bundestag and 46 votes in the 1957-61 Bundestag (Ozbudun, 1970).
10.02 Ideological Factionalism
4 for 1st half, AC7
1 for 2nd half, AC9
During the first half, the revolt by the Dusseldorf young Turks led to a change in party leadership and to a liberalization of party programs. However, in the second half, unity was obtained under the leadership of both Maier and Mende. Though ideology was debated, no identifiable factions existed during the second half.
10.03 Issue Factionalism
1, AC3
No real issue factionalism is apparent. The Young Turksí revolt is judged to be an ideological one, issues not being of primary importance.
10.04 Leadership Factionalism
4 for 1st half, AC9
2 for 2nd half, AC9
The Young Turks forced a change in party leadership late in the first half . They did not have an identifiable leader, although they supported the appointment of Maier as the new party chairman. During the second half, factionalism over party leadership was not evident.
10.05 Strategic or Tactical Factionalism
0 for 1st half, AC5
4 for 2nd half, AC5
Younger elements in the FDP also grew disenchanted with the coalition with the CDU, and the FDP withdrew from the coalition for most of the second half of our time period. However, some deputies favored continuation of the coalition.
10.06 Party Purges
0, AC9
No purges.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 Membership Requirements
3, AC3
Members had to be 17 years old. Since the FDP maintained membership lists, it is assumed that the party members had to register. Dues were also collected, although on a somewhat irregular basis.
11.02 Membership Participation
2, AC3
Since the FDP was a smaller party, it would seem likely that a greater percentage of the members would have taken an active part in party business the party was somewhat decentralized, allowing local organizations to take the responsibility for some party affairs. However, it does not seem likely that FDP members were as active in party affairs as SPD members. Therefore a code of 2 was assigned with the lowest confidence.
11.03 Material Incentives
0, AC3
The question was never considered in the literature. In the absence of substantial evidence, and from general information gathered on previous variables, it is judged that the militants were not motivated by material incentives.
11.04 Purposive Incentives
4, AC3
It would appear that the FDP militants were motivated by a firm belief in their party's programs and ideology. This is substantiated by the party's refusal to join the CDU in the 1957 coalition. The FDP refusal was based on ideological grounds.
11.05 Doctrinism
1, AC5
There were few references to a discernible body of literature embodying the party program. However, the FDP philosophy was centered around German liberal doctrines of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Of course, these doctrines were not constricting and did not prevent the FDP from assuming a rather pragmatic policy stance.
11.06 Personalism
0, AC9
The party experienced considerable dissension about the lackluster leadership throughout the time period. Personalism was clearly absent.