On April 25 1952, the founding fathers of the new federal state signed the unification treaty
Did you know that Baden-Württemberg is the only state in Germany created by a referendum?
"Very honorable members of parliament. In accordance with § 14, paragraph 4, sentence 2, the time of formation of the provisional government is hereby established at the present moment, namely on Friday the 25th of April, 1952 at 12 o'clock 30 minutes. With this declaration, corresponding to § 11 of the second reorganization act, the states of Baden, Wuerttemberg-Baden and Wuerttemberg-Hohenzollern are unified into one federal state. Ladies and gentlemen: God bless the new federal state. God bless the German Federal Republic.... "
It was with these words that the then Prime Minister Reinhold Maier (FDP/DVP) proclaimed the Southwestern state on April 25, 1952.
Although many "Old Badeners" fought against the unification over many years, since they feared "Swabian imperialism" and wanted to preserve the independence of Baden, the people of Northern and Southern Wuerttemburg were able to prevail against the resistance. The possibility of having more influence on the federal government as one big federal state rather than as three separate, small states stood out above all as an argument here. This convinced the people of Baden as well. 69.7% thus voted for a unified Baden-Württemberg in the election.
The question of who should become prime minister of the new federal state now arose. On 25 April 1952, the day that went down as "Black Friday" in CDU history, Reinhold Maier formed the new state government from the FDP and the DVP and relegated his colleagues from the SPD and BHE to the opposition. They reacted by vigorously protesting to the then Federal Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. Without success. Although Reinhold Maier was voted out of office again after parliamentary elections for the Bundestag in 1953, he nevertheless passed his seat in the Villa Reitzenstein on to another CDU representative. Gebhard Müller formed an all-party coalition for the creation of the Constitution, which was successfully adopted on November 11, 1953.
Creative thinkers were asked to get involved in the naming process. Newspapers thus organized surveys, honored professors gave suggestions and everywhere citizens discussed the question. Names such as "Swabia", "Staufen", "Rhine Swabia" and "Alemannia" were considered. Ultimately the double name of Baden-Württemberg was decided on, in order to satisfy everyone. The fact that their name comes first was likely meant as a small consolation to the people of Baden.
The "Old Badeners" fought on impulsively for their independence. They felt neglected because "the distinctive political and historical development" due to the separation of state of Baden after 1945 had been "glossed over" in this way.
It was not until June 7, 1970 that another referendum was held. The commitment of the people of Baden to Baden-Württemberg could not have been more unequivocal. With a voter turnout of 62.5%, 81.9% voted to continue with the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.
One of the leading federal states in Germany today, it is regarded as an exemplary "model of European possibilities" (Lothar Späth). One admittedly still looks in vain for people who refer to themselves as Baden-Württemberger, since one mostly comes upon "Swabians" and "Badeners". Perhaps we will still succeed in taking this small hurdle in time for our 100th anniversary.