West Germany: A Bit of a Jolt

Ever since Ludwig Erhard became Chancellor a year ago, his Christian Democrats have been confident that his familiar bulky form—the very symbol of peacetime prosperity—would carry the party to an easy victory in next year's nationwide elections. Last week, in municipal elections involving 45% of the voters, their confidence got a bit of a jolt.

Even with Der Dicke's face on the posters, the voters gave Willy Brandt's rival Social Democrats an overall gain of nearly 5%. In West Germany's populous industrial Rhine River heartland, the Socialists won absolute majorities in 24 of the 38 major cities—including Konrad Adenauer's traditionally...

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