Talk:West Germany

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Only ever an informal name[edit]

If this were 1988, I would still be advocating that we don't mislead our readers into thinking that there was a country called West Germany, with capital letters, when this was never so. Bankster's preferred text is misleading and erroneous and perpetuates the myth that there was an actual country called West Germany, and that it was legally a different country to modern reunited Germany. Paul Benjamin Austin 01:17, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

The legal status of Germany is a different article; and your major points are (I think) dealt with there. 'Germany' now may be the legal continuation of 'West Germany' then, but it is a very different (and much bigger) country. It is now moreover a country identified with a unified German people, where West Germany never was; and in recognition of which its two uniting former components signed up by treaty to a radical transformation of its constitution. The article is about that country that existed in a particular form from 1949 to 1990, and which was then almost universally referred to by English speakers as 'West Germany' - and labelled so in maps, publications and academic works. That country was always understood as not being 'Germany as a whole', and it was never then referred to as the 'Bonn Republic' , a retrospective (and technical) term which I do not think has any business being in the lede of this article. The official name for West Germany was indeed then the 'Federal Republic of Germany'; but that cannot stand as the title of this article, as that is now the official name for the united 'Germany'. Similar considerations apply in the case of the article title, 'East Germany'. Whether Bankster's wording is ideal, is a moot point; this opening sentence has taken a number of different forms. But I do not support your proposed alternative as it stands. TomHennell (talk) 15:22, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
not sure about this edit "The Cold War era West Germany is sometimes retrospectively called the "Bonn Republic" as it is seen as a reconstituted continuation of the Weimar Republic." Do you have a citation for it? Not so much for the usage "Bonn Republic", but the assertion that West Germany 'was seen as a reconstituted continuation of the Weimar Republic'. Certainly the Federal Republic saw itself as a continuation of the 'overall state' that was organised as the German Reich; but in its early decades it took great pains to distinguish itself both from Nazi Germany and the Weimar Republic; such that in 1949, Germany was a constitutional tabula rasa. The Nazi Regime was characterised a 'criminal state' (hence never a true state at all); while the Weimar Republic was characterised as a 'failed state' whose irremediably flawed institutions and constitution had made possible the emergence of its Nazi successors. The 'Civil Servant Case' rested on the legal principle that neither previous regime had continued in the Federal Republic. TomHennell (talk) 16:45, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

@TomHennell: I found a newspaper in 1949 that uses the term "Bonn Republic" in reference to the young FRG, so it's not only a retrospective term - https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1978&dat=19491126&id=jZE0AAAAIBAJ&sjid=MaoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1501,6882758 Paul Benjamin Austin (talk) 03:22, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

Good find; though a 1949 usage should be regarded more as prospective that contemporary; and very much, journalese. A parallel - Bonn Republic/Weimar Republic - is clearly intended yo be understood there; and that was something the new FRG was very keen to avoid. 'West Germany' was a much safer and more acceptable descriptor. TomHennell (talk) 09:50, 20 November 2019 (UTC)
@TomHennell: has "Bonn Republic" become much more common since 1990? Adam Carr/Psephos didn't like using 'West Germany' in Wikipedia infoboxes for Germans under Bonn's jurisdiction who were born or who died between 1949 and 1990. Yes, there was no country called 'West Germany' with capital letters, but using "Federal Republic of Germany" to disambiguate from the GDR does not work because 'Federal Republic of Germany' is also the name of "reunited Germany". Paul Benjamin Austin (talk) 09:56, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
My reading suggests that 'Bonn Republic" is sometimes used where the writer wants to distinguish the Federal Republic before 1990; from the "Berlin Republic", the Federal Republic since 1990. TomHennell (talk) 10:56, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
"there was no country called 'West Germany' with capital letters" There certainly was on the maps and globes I used in school back then. --Khajidha (talk) 17:37, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
@Khajidha:, Dr. Carr's issue is that at no time was the FRG's official legal name 'West Germany', it was only ever just 'Germany' PAustin4thApril1980 (talk) 23:16, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
As we write using the common name, the fact that West Germany was not an official name is irrelevant. --Khajidha (talk) 00:36, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

Agree with Khajidha. Per WP:COMMONNAME, Wikipedia should use commonly known name. Whether "West Germany" being official or not is totally irrelevant in Wikipedia. The same goes to other countries such as South Korea (not "Republic of Korea"); Taiwan (not "Republic of China"); South Vietnam (not "Republic of Vietnam); etc. Bluesatellite (talk) 11:24, 25 April 2020 (UTC)