Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


After German dictator Adolf Hitler presumably committed suicide in 1945, his authoritarian regime fell, the Allies won World War II, and democracy reemerged in the form of the Federal Republic of Germany (F.R.G.). The transition to democracy was made possible by the intervention of international actors (the western Allies), the discontinuity of the Nazi party and its elites, and the formation of new, democratic parties (the Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union, and Social Democratic Party). Each of these factors combined to result in a high-functioning democracy by 1960 in which democratic participation was encouraged. This case is unique in its smooth transition and successful outcome.