Landschaftsverband Rheinland - Qualität für Menschen

Foto: Bildleiste von Szenen

Schrift: größer/kleiner

Allied Occupation and "Trizonesia" (1945-1949)

Capital City Bonn

In the course of deepening East-West conflict, the centres of power shifted to the periphery of Germany's remains: to the river Spree in the East and the Rhine in the west. In June 1945 the "Christian-Democratic People's Party" was formed in Cologne, which became the forerunner of the CDU, which from then was to exert a defining influence on German politics. Parallel to the rise of Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Rhineland again became the centre of a German State, after more than a thousand years, which was to reach out far beyond its narrow geographical borders to the North, East and South. The seat of this new western government became Bonn.Konrad Adenauer (CDU), 1948/49 President of the Parliamentary Council for the formulation of a constitution for the Federal Republic of Germany, wrote about the choice of Bonn as provisional capital of the West German State in his  "memories":
"On 10th May [1949] a vote was taken among the members of the Parliamentary Council as to whether Frankfurt or Bonn would become the interim capital of the Federal Republic. This question was the source of great disagreement between the parties in the Parliamentary Council. The CDU/CSU stood up for Bonn as the interim capital city, while the SPD was in favour of Frankfurt.
The SPD emphasized that numerous bizonal administrative authorities already existed in  Frankfurt, and that this circumstance would facilitate the reconstruction of federal authorities.
However, the most important reason for the SPD was that Frankfurt was situated in the Federal Land of Hesse, governed by Social Democrats, and in their opinion had a social democratic tradition and atmosphere. If Frankfurt were chosen as interim Federal Capital, they had high hopes that such a social democratic influence would spread across the whole of Germany.
The CDU/CSU stood up for Bonn. We wanted to prevent the new Federal government from being too close to the headquarters of the Allied Military Government and its activities. We wanted to avoid anything which could create the impression that a new federal government was merely an executive organ of the Allied occupying powers.
I have often been reproached for voting for Bonn as Federal Capital, because it is very near to where I live, in Rhöndorf. I regard this reproach as very naive.
The decisive reason for choosing Bonn as Federal Capital was finally the following: the British had made a declaration that, if as a result of the vote Bonn became the location of the interim Federal Capital, they would be prepared to release the area of Bonn from the British zone and its military administration. The Americans were unable to make a similar declaration concerning Frankfurt, because a large number of American organizations and very important administrative offices were located in Frankfurt, for whom it would have been difficult to find sufficient space in another city.
The outcome of the vote was impossible to predict. The procedure was very lengthy and took until nearly midnight. [. . .] other towns. . . were also proposed [Kassel and Stuttgart]. [. . .] With a very narrow majority [Bonn: 33, Frankfurt: 29] the members of the Parliamentary Council had come out in favour of Bonn."

Bonn against East Berlin: the old differences between the Rhineland and Prussia also underwent a renewal with the division of Germany in 1949 – admittedly under different historical and political circumstances.

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