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Ahlen Programme

"The capitalist economic system has not served the vital interests of the German people in the public and social domain. After the country's dreadful political, economic and social collapse, a new order can only be built from the bottom up. The content and aim of this new social and economic order can no longer be the capitalistic pursuit of profit and power, but must be the welfare of our people."(1)

These are not the opening words of the German Communist Party's manifesto but the preface to the Christian Democrat's "Ahlener Wirtschaftsprogramm für Nordrhein-Westphalen"! The economic programme is drawn up by the Christian Democratic Union in NRW in February 1947.

Christian Socialists like bulletKarl Arnold strongly believe that, after the experience of National Socialism, the economy must be rebuilt to take full account of the interests of working people. It even calls for sections of bulletlarge-scale industry to be brought under public ownership, for - as the regional CDU leadership says - "the age of the unbridled power of private capitalism is over".

Although the details elaborated in the Ahlen Programme are far less revolutionary than the opening statement suggests, conservative national leader bulletKonrad Adenauer is personally livid but endorses the programme with gritted teeth. Two years later, having consolidated his leadership position, he can bury for ever what he calls the "follies of youth".

With the bulletcurrency reform completed and price controls abolished, the CDU is championing quite different political objectives: bulletfree market prices, freely negotiated wages and socially responsible business.

(1) Ahlener Wirtschaftsprogramm der CDU für Nordrhein-Westfalen of 3.2.1947. Quoted from: Flechtheim, Ossip K (ed.): "Dokumente zur parteipolitischen Entwicklung in Deutschland seit 1945", Vol.2: "Programmatik der deutschen Parteien", Part One, Berlin 1963, p.53

Walter Kamps

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