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Modernizing Bavaria: The Politics of Franz Josef Strauss and the CSU, 1949-1969

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Volume 15

Monographs in German History

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Modernizing Bavaria

The Politics of Franz Josef Strauss and the CSU, 1949-1969

Mark Milosch

216 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-123-3 $135.00/£99.00 hb Published (March 2006)

eISBN 978-1-78920-604-3 eBook

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“Milosch has written a well-researched monograph that places a crucial period of recent history into its proper political and economic context. This work should be required reading for anyone interested in late twentieth-century German and European history.”  ·  German Studies Review

“…provides a very helpful interpretation of the Christian Social Union’s role in general, and Franz Josef Strauß’s role in particular, in Bavaria’s political and economic modernization up to 1969…Underlying Milosch’s narrative account of Bavaria’s technical, scientific, and economic modernization…lay an important contribution to our theoretical understanding of the modernization process itself.”  ·  Central European History


In 1949 Bavaria was not only the largest and best known but also the poorest, most agricultural, and most industrially backward region of Germany. It was further its most politically conservative region. The largest political party in Bavaria was the Christian Social Union (CSU), an extremely conservative, even reactionary, regional party. In the ensuing twenty years, the leaders of the CSU's small liberal wing (in particular Franz Josef Strauss, long-time party chair and the most colorful and polarizing politician in postwar Germany) broke with the anti-industrial traditions of Bavarian Catholic politics and made themselves useful to industry. With tactical brilliance the politicians pursued their individual political ambitions, rather than a coherent modernization strategy, which, by 1969, had turned Bavaria into a prosperous Land, the center of Germany's new aerospace, defense, and energy industries, with a disproportionate share of its research institutes.

Mark Milosch currently works as a Special Advisor to the U.S. Congress.

Subject: History (General) History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Germany


List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Bavaria, 1949

  • The Question
  • Bavaria and Germany
  • Postwar Climate of Opinion
  • CSU and CDU
  • Industrial Modernization in CSU-Dominated Bavaria

Chapter 1. Industrial Modernization Just Below the Horizon, 1949–1954

  • In a Tight Corner
  • Sealing the Deal with Industry
  • Strauß Pushes Forward
  • Turning the Economic Ministry to Account
  • Seeing Industry in Science
  • Between Interest-Group Politics and Industrial Modernization

Chapter 2. Inventing a Politics of Modernization, 1954–1957

  • Liberalizing the CSU
  • Challenge: the Social Democrats Make Science and Technology a Political Issue
  • Response: Strauß Gains the Upper Hand
  • Connecting Defense-Industrial Ideas and Interests
  • Turning the Defense Ministry to Account
  • Turning Point

Chapter 3. The Great Leap Forward, 1957–1962

  • A Window of Opportunity
  • Black Politics and Red Oil
  • Big Science
  • NATO Nuclear Strategy and Bavarian Interest Solidarity
  • Starfighter, Space Flight, and Military R & D
  • Strauß’s Fall

Chapter 4. New Tactics in a Time of Transition, 1963–1969

  • Changing Times
  • Liberalism and Interventionism in Bavaria
  • The National Scene
  • The Western Alliance
  • The American Challenge and Airbus
  • Bavaria and the Big World

Conclusion: Bavaria, 1969

  • Circumstances and Their Masters
  • Results
  • A New CSU and a New Bavaria


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