German Executive Institutions:Chancellor, Cabinet and President

Essay by MarkUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, November 1996

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Executive Institutions: Chancellor, Cabinet, & President


German Politics


The current German Executive institution differs from that of the Weimar

Republic in that the chancellor does not share executive power with the president of the

Republic. I found this fact rather confusing in the beginning of the section, however,

after reading the section on the president of the Republic, things strarted to come

together. Interestingly enough, it is not uncommon for a chancellor, through top aids, to

leak criticisms to the media of the ministers in his cabinate. On the other hand, the

president seems to pose as a non-partisan check, simply implimenting the will of


Focusing now on the stronger of the two heads of the executive Republic,

the chancellor enjoys greater national control. I was surprised to find out that the

chancellor becomes commander-in-chief of the military during wartime. In addition,

throughout the chapter, I got the feeling that although the chancellor has a cabinet with

ministers, the chancellor ultimately makes the decisions-the cabinet merely approves

them. The chancellor's ministers make up a non-'working cabinet,' or simply put, is not

a policy making body.

Switching topics for a moment, one part of the reading I found particularly

interesting had to do with the military a couple years before and after unification.

Strangely enough, prior to unification in 1982, only 32% of all adult German citizens

stated that they were willing to fight for their country, compared to 70% in the U.S., and

60% in Britian. Evidently, a powerful surge of a nationwide peace movement claied

responsibility for this percentage. The military after unification was a fascinating dilema

in its own right. As a former East German communist swaps uniforms for a German

Republic uniform, what is going through his or her mind? Is there displaced loyalty-a...