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Vote of No Confidence (April 1972)

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That is a broad field, as they say. But there is one thing I just don’t understand. If petitioners received approval from representatives who are not from the same party, then why don’t these representatives at least stand up?

Why don’t they show themselves to the German people?

What do they have to fear? What are they afraid of? Or what do they want to hide?

Let me add a word to the numerous people who expressed their support in recent days, for which I offer my heartfelt thanks.

Yesterday I explained – and I think it was understood – what can only be decided here in the Bundestag and what nevertheless is the opinion of the people on this occasion. What I do not understand is when someone speaks of the street from an authoritarian way of thinking, or if someone – as was done in a party announcement – implies that the women and men who support their government in a different way than just sitting in front of their televisions have a “fried potatoes relationship”* to democracy – that is how it was worded in a party announcement; I think it is a disgrace.

Those who have spoken up in the last few days are politically mature citizens and active young people, without whom this country would be a lot poorer.

The CDU/CSU resolution to topple the government corresponds to an option offered by the constitution, and it is not hard to understand, both psychologically and as regards power politics. If you would allow me one final judgment: This is an attempt to take the bull by the horns, to break out of the irresponsibility of a sterile “No” to the fateful questions of our people, but it carries the risk of breaking into a responsibility whose bitterness will be felt. Dr. Barzel and his friends would only end up with this responsibility if they were to receive a “Yes” from a couple members of this High House** about whom it could be said that they have strained their conscientiousness beyond recognition.

[ . . . ]

I have expressly made sure that the Transit Agreement will not be initialed at this time. But the negotiators are already at a point where they can present the results of their talks to both governments.*** The applicability of the Transit Agreement also to West Berlin is no longer disputed.

* “Bratkartoffelverhältnis” is an expression used to refer to a superficial relationship (in this case, to democracy) that someone enters into for what they can get out of it – trans.
** Reference to the Bundestag – eds.
*** Reference to negotiations between the two German states – eds.

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