Free Democratic Party

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Free Democratic Party


(Freie Demokratische Partei; FDP), a liberal-bourgeois party, founded in 1948, in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).

The FDP reflects the interests of liberal circles in the big bourgeoisie, of small and medium businessmen, office workers, government officials, well-to-do peasants, and artisans. It was active in the establishment of the FRG, and its leader, T. Heuss, was the first president of the FRG, serving in that capacity from 1949 to 1959. The FDP has often entered government coalitions with the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union. It was in opposition in the periods 1956–61 and 1966–69.

Since 1969 the FDP has been a coalition partner of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). It holds four ministerial posts, including that of minister of foreign affairs, in the federal government. Since 1969 it has also held the position of deputy chancellor—W. Scheel was deputy chancellor from 1969 to 1974, and H.-D. Genscher has been deputy chancellor since 1974.

The FDP, together with the SDP, has taken steps toward detente in Europe; it has moved toward better relations with the USSR and other socialist countries, helping to conclude treaties, over the period 1970–73, between the FRG, on the one hand, and the USSR, the Polish People’s Republic, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and the German Democratic Republic, on the other. In 1974, Scheel, who was party chairman from 1968 to 1974, was elected president of the FRG. The FDP has 70,000 members (August 1974). H.-D. Genscher has been party chairman since October 1974.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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