Die SPD-Fraktion im Deutschen Bundestag. Sitzungsprotokolle 1972–1976 / The Social Democratic Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag. Minutes of the Proceedings 1972–1976
In the 1972 snap elections, Social Democrats for the first time emerged as the largest party of the German Bundestag. The social-liberal coalition commanded a broad parliamentary majority. However, the SPD parliamentary party could not rest on their laurels for long. Soon the chancellor’s increasingly weak leadership resulted in political stagnation and a smouldering government crisis. After the exposure of an East German spy in the Office of the Federal Chancellor and Willy Brandt’s resignation, internal differences over the political course of the parliamentary party grew. The second half of the parliamentary term under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was much influenced by the challenge posed by the economic crisis in the wake of the ‘oil price shock’. Against an opposition regaining strength and a very confident Liberal coalition partner, the entire parliamentary party from then on focused on carrying through Social Democratic reform projects such as the 1976 Codetermination Act and the Framework Act for Higher Education.
A large part of the minutes of proceedings are tape recordings. They provide an unfiltered view on everyday work, shedding light on conflicts and crises of the larger government party. The minutes portray a self-confident parliamentary party, whose members did not want to be mere majority providers of the government. Rather, they regarded themselves as independent and, if necessary, inconvenient political actors, who not always made life easy for their own government and the leader of the parliamentary party.
Minutes of proceedings that are mentioned but not included in the volume can be found under fraktionsprotokolle.de.