Christian Democratic Union


May 22, 2022

Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands (IPA: [ˈkʁɪstlɪç ˌdemoˈkʁaːtɪʃə uˈni̯oːn ˈdɔʏtʃlants], "Germany's Christian Democratic Union"), usually just Christlich Demokratische Union (CDU), is a Christian Democratic and conservative political party in Germany, 1945. The purpose was to unite Catholics and Protestants in a common confessional party and form a larger bourgeois alliance. In the post-war period, the party has been at the forefront of German politics. The party has roots in political Catholicism, Catholic socialism, political Protestantism as well as neoliberalism, economic liberalism and national conservatism. The CDU is a supporter of a social market economy within the framework of a federal rule of law. In foreign policy, the party works for European integration and transatlantic cooperation, and is a supporter of EU and NATO membership. In domestic politics, the party wants tax cuts, simplification of rules, reduction of bureaucracy, strict justice policy, restrictive immigration policy and protection of cultural traditions. The party is found all over Germany, with the exception of the state of Bavaria, where the Christlich-Soziale Union (CSU) is the CDU's sister party. CDU and CSU have factional communities in the Bundestag and a joint youth organization, Junge Union. Friedrich Merz has been party leader since 2022.


A few weeks after the end of World War II, Christian-Democratic groups emerged throughout Germany, and were eventually united in today's party. The party's history is therefore not linked to an organization with historical roots from before World War II, as is the case for the SPD, for example.

From Christian socialism to social market economy (1945-1949)

The Cologne Guidelines (Kölner Leitsätze) were a political program written in connection with the establishment of the CDU in the British occupation zone, in July 1945. The basic tone was socialist: the property of society was to be expanded as much as the community needed. Post, railway and energy supply were basically a public matter. Banks and insurance companies were to be under state control. The authors of the program were Christian (Catholic) trade unionists and members of the Center Zentrum. The guidelines from Cologne were replaced by the Neheim-Hüsten program. The program was adopted during the meeting held from 26 February to 1 March 1946 in the convent of Neheim-Hüsten. This was the first time Konrad Adenauer came into the program work. In this program, previously explicit references to God the Father and Christ were removed. The same applied to the concept of Christian socialism, otherwise under strong opposition from, among others, Jacob Kaiser. This was in line with Adenauer's view that the dignity and freedom of the individual was inviolable, also with regard to the power of society. In 1947, the CDU adopted the Ahlen program named after the city of Ahlen where the meeting was held. The program turned again in a more socialist direction, and state ownership was adopted in Germany's key industry. Konrad Adenauer accepted the Ahlen program, probably for strategic reasons. He wanted to win the workers of the CDU. Furthermore, he wanted the socially minded Catholic members of the party to accept the ideas of the social market economy. The idea of ​​the social market economy was in practice developed by Ludwig Erhard. The currency reform in Germany on 20 June 1948 opened the door to a revival in the German economy. In July 1949, the CDU and the CSU jointly adopted the so-called Düsseldorf Guidelines (Düsseldorfer Leitsätze). In these guidelines, the social market economy was programmed.

Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard

In 1949, the leader of the CDU, Konrad Adenauer, became Germany's Chancellor as the first of the party. He has been regarded as a father of the country due to the Wirtschaftswunder of the 1950s and is often associated with Germany's rebuilding from the ruins after World War II. In 1963, Adenauer resigned and was succeeded by his party colleague Ludwig