I am bit shocked to see that Germany joined United Nations - UN in 1973, what was political reason for postponing membership in that important organisation, if we see that for example Italy joined UN in 1955 and Japan joined UN in 1956?

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    The Cold War and division of Germany.
    – Semaphore
    Mar 10, 2016 at 18:23
  • 3
    NATO is a Western organisation. The UN includes the Eastern Bloc too.
    – Semaphore
    Mar 10, 2016 at 18:26
  • 8
    "The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was admitted to the UN as an observer in 1955. " - from wikipedia. The German Government has a separate site that explains the history - in summary, the UN is about foreign policy and Germany concentrated on domestic policy until 1955.
    – MCW
    Mar 10, 2016 at 18:27
  • 8
    That's a bit misleading. Germany was under Allied occupation until 1955.
    – Semaphore
    Mar 10, 2016 at 19:04
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    @DusanSukovic: You mean West Germany. Germany did not become a NATO member until the german unification in 1990. Mar 11, 2016 at 13:27

3 Answers 3


The reason was very simple. There were two Germanies. Soviet Union would veto the Federal Republic joining. (From the Soviet point of view it was illegitimate). For exactly the same reasons US, England and France would veto the German Democratic republic.

They could only join when they (and all others) recognized each other as independent states. (Moscow treaty, 1970).

Somewhat similar situation existed with PRC and Republic of China (Taiwan) for some time. (Until 1971 RC represented the whole China in UN, but now it is PRC, and RC is not a member).

  • 11
    Also, the two Koreas didn't become full UN members until 1991.
    – dan04
    Mar 11, 2016 at 4:06
  • @Alex Why will Soviet Union cast veto against membership of Federal German Republic in UN?
    – user45467
    Mar 11, 2016 at 13:35
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    @DusanSukovic West Germany claimed to be the exclusive representative for the entirety of Germany. The USSR preferred its communist satellite (East Germany) for obvious reasons.
    – Semaphore
    Mar 11, 2016 at 13:57
  • Thanks. Bit I've read somewhere that Stalin was not initially opposed against idea of united Germany, can't remember where.
    – user45467
    Mar 11, 2016 at 14:03
  • 2
    The last sentence is wrong: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-China_policy is still in force.
    – sds
    Mar 11, 2016 at 16:27

The difference between Germany and Italy & Japan was that at that time Germany was divided into two separate countries - FRG & GDR.

In 1969 West Germany switched from Hallstein Doctrine ("exclusivity" -similar to One-China policy) to Neue Ostpolitik ("detente" - normalization with East Germany et al) which led to UN membership by removing objection from the USSR (which had veto power).

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    Why it led to UN membership, is described in Alex's answer. Mar 11, 2016 at 9:52

In addition to the comments by sds and Mark, let me note that at the time West Germany was extremely reluctant to do anything which would give the appearance of accepting or legitimizing the division of Germany into the FRG and GDR. The price of admitting the FRG to the UN would likely have been to admit the GDR as a separate nation. West Germany was not willing to pay that price.

  • 5
    that's exactly what Hallstein Doctrine was about.
    – sds
    Mar 10, 2016 at 20:04
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    @sds, in your post you characterized it as "exclusivity", but the refusal to give up claims to the East was just as important. Some dreamed of getting Kaliningrad and eastern Prussia back, others wanted to preserve it as a bargaining chip for the peace treaty.
    – o.m.
    Mar 11, 2016 at 6:15

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