West Germany: Besser ist der Ludwig

Everybody was wrong, including Ludwig Erhard. For weeks, the pollsters had been predicting a virtual tie between Erhard's Christian Democratic Union and the opposition Social Democrats in West Germany's national elections. Watching the returns trickling in on TV with his wife Luise, the Chancellor confided, "I always counted on having a jump on the opposition of about 5% . I felt it in my fingertips."

His Fingerspitzengefühl was a little off. When all the votes were counted, Erhard's Christian Democrats had won by more than 8% over their rivals. The C.D.U. polled 47.6% of the vote, up from 45.3% in...

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