This European country grew from a loose federation of states into one of the most powerful nations in the world. Germany is located in the very heart of Europe, bordered by the nine other countries. It became a divided nation after its overwhelming defeat in World War II. Following its surrender in 1945, Germany was occupied by military forces of the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain, and the United States.

The Soviets controlled the East and the other powers the West. In 1949 two republics were set up the Democratic Republic of East Germany and the Federal Republic of West Germany. The Federal Republic of Germany was proclaimed May 23 rd, 1949 in Bonn, after a constitution had been drawn up by a consultative assembly formed by representatives of the eleven states in French. British, and American zones. The government of the French Republic of Western Germany follows the democratic pattern and provides specially for such basic rights as freedom of speech, of faith, and of assembly. The parliament consists of two chambers.

The upper chamber is the Bundesrat, whose delegates are appointed by the various autonomous state governments. The lower chamber is the Bundestag, whose members are chosen every four years by direct popular vote. The Bundestag passes the laws and chooses the head of government. Some laws passed by the Bundestag require approval of the Bundesrat They include laws that relate directly to the states responsibilities, such as matters dealing with education and local government. The executive Bundestag elects a member of the strongest political party in that house to br federal chancellor, the head of government. The chancellor selects the ministries who make up the cabinet and heads the government departments.

West Germany state governments has a legislature. Members of most of the legislature are elected to four-year terms. The legislature elects a minister president to head state government. The Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party are West Germany largest political parties.

The Democratic Republic of East Germany is a Communist state. Berlin was split and the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 because after World War II East Germany migrants started coming into West Germany by the thousands. Between 1953 and 1961 about three million East Germans fled to the west. Furthermore with each passing year the tidal wave of emigration kept accelerating.

In July of 1961 alone 30, 000 people crossed over into the West Germany. In the twenty-eight years that the Berlin Wall was in existence about 5, 000 East Germans tunneled, leaped, flew, or dynamited their way out. Just in 1989 the Berlin Wall was torn down.