Germany 1997

Germany is a country located in Europe. According to AbbreviationFinder, DE is the two-letter ISO code of Germany, and DEU is the three-letter country abbreviation for Germany.

Yearbook 1997

Germany. According to Countryaah, the national day of Germany is October 3. Germany had major financial problems during the year, and Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s government found it difficult to get a hearing for its solutions. Unemployment rose to more than 12%, or 4.7 million, the highest figure since 1933, which, through increased payments of subsidies and reduced private consumption, strained the state budget and slowed growth. For the time being, Germany was not considered to meet the EMU’s demand for a budget deficit of no more than 3% of GDP. Finance Minister Theo Waigel presented in January the “tax reform of the century”, which included reduced income and corporate taxes and lowered “solidarity tax” for financing the German reunification.

Both the government parties and the opposition criticized the proposed financing of the tax evasion. The proposal to raise VAT was consistently rejected, and the Social Democratic SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) criticized the reform for overly burdening the low-paid. In April, tax negotiations between the government and the SPD were stranded and in July the proposal was rejected by the Bundestag. Since 1997 tax revenues were estimated to be D-18 billion lower than budgeted, the tax issue is expected to be a major topic of debate before the Bundestag election in 1998.

Waigel also received harsh criticism for a proposal to reduce the budget deficit by upgrading its gold and foreign exchange reserves to market value. According to Waigel, it would provide D-60 billion to the national treasury. The proposal was considered to threaten confidence in the planned EU currency euro. The German Riksbank, the Bundesbank, saw its independence threatened and the government and the Bundesbank agreed in June that a revaluation would take place but that the profit would not be added to the Treasury until 1998 so as not to affect the EMU issue. Waigel passed a vote of no confidence on the Bundestag, but the conflict was still considered to have hurt the government.

The government’s plans for reduced support for the coal industry, which would close ten of 19 mines and render 50,000 unemployed, sparked violent protests among the miners. A strike broke out and a demonstration on March 11 paralyzed the Bonn government. After negotiations, the plan was revised to close down only a few mines; about 46,000 jobs will be completed by 2005, but only through natural resignation.

Construction workers protested in March against the government’s savings plans, which were feared to lead to mass unemployment in the construction industry, and metal workers went on strike in protest of the merger between steel giants Krupp-Hoesch and Thyssen, which was believed to threaten at least 8,000 jobs.

Federal Chancellor Kohl announced in April his intention to stand for re-election in 1998 and, if elected, remain in office until 2002. In October, he appointed Christian Democratic CDU (Christlich-Demokratische Union) group leader in Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, like the one he would one day prefer to see as his successor.

Germany’s relationship with the United States deteriorated when the Church of Scientology was placed under surveillance by the security police. The US government criticized the “persecution” of Scientologists in Germany, and a number of famous Americans compared the treatment of Scientologists with the persecution of Jews in the 1930s.

Former East German leader Egon Krenz was sentenced in August to 6.5 years ‘imprisonment for East German border guards’ deaths against refugees by the Berlin Wall. Two other senior GDR representatives were sentenced to three years in prison each.

The summer’s persistent rain in central Europe led to severe flooding along the river Oder at the German-Polish border in July-August. Over 5,000 people were evacuated from threatened villages near Frankfurt an der Oder.

In March, German police made their biggest and most expensive effort since the war when 30,000 people guarded a shipment of spent nuclear fuel to the Gorleben reprocessing plant. Clashes occurred between police and protesters who tried to prevent the train with the nuclear waste from arriving.

In late autumn a debate arose about right-wing extremist influence in the armed forces. Defense Minister Volker Rühe commissioned an investigation into how a notorious Nazi could lecture at the Military Academy in Hamburg in 1995.

Class structure – economic structure

The working population increased between 1950 and 1972 from 20 mill. to 26.5 mill. During the same period, the proportion of employees – workers, salaried employees, government employees – increased from 68.4% to 84.4%.

1950 1955 1961 1965 1970
Self-employed, including farmers 14.8 13.7 12.9 11.6 10.7
Assisting family members 14.4 13.0 10.6 8.4 6.9
state employees 4.0 4.3 5.0 5.1 5.5
salaried 16.0 17.1 23.4 26.3 29.6
workers 50.7 51.9 48.1 48.6 47.4
The development of the working population as a percentage.

The percentage of employees in agriculture and forestry decreased from 5.2% (1950) to approx. 2.0% (1971). The proportion of foreign workers increased during the period 1954-73 from 0.5% to 11% (2.6 million). 37% of foreigners worked in the iron and metal industry, but there are so many variations between the share of nationalities in the various industries that general statements are impossible. Together with women, immigrants form the industrial reserve army in the Federal Republic.

Throughout the existence of the Federal Republic, there has been a continuing concentration of the industrial big companies. In 1968, industrial companies with more than 1,000 employees made up only 2.3% of all companies, but they employed approx. 50% of those working in the industry. Between 1954 and 1969, the 50 largest monopoly companies increased their share of the industry’s total turnover from 25.4% to 44.8%. Despite the provisions of the Potsdam agreement on the dissolution of the large cartels and monopolies, West German industry was once again dominated by these.

Within the heavy industry, more than 65% of the total production comes from the 7 major groups in the Ruhr district: Mannesmann, Klöckner, Dortmund-Hörder Hüttenunion, Phoenis, Gutehoffnungshütte, Rheinhausen and Hoechst. IG Farben controls the chemical industry and Rheinische Staalverken and Thüssen AG again control some of the largest companies in the steel and coal industry as well as a large shipyard. Other groups such as Mannesmann, Krupp, Flick and Siemens have control over significant parts of the West German industry.

The Federal Republic’s dependence on exports is still increasing. In 1973, the export-oriented part of the industry was 21%, in 1974 25% and in 1975 approx. 30%. Through this export offensive especially to capitalist “crisis areas” such as southern Europe, the Federal Republic undermines the economies of these areas and thus contributes to making political systems less stable. The increase in social conflicts as a result of an intensified economic crisis with negative trade balance, inflation and unemployment is a result of West German policy.

In parallel with the expansion in the foreign markets – the “Eastern agreements” also opened important new markets here – the share of investment in gross domestic product declined. Rather, the investments were made where the profit opportunities for capital were better, ie. in countries where dictatorial regimes guaranteed low wages and “work peace”.

After full employment in the 1960s – yes, even with a shortage of workers covered by refugees from the GDR and extensive immigration of immigrants – the official figure for unemployed after 1974 reached approx. 1 million.