Historical Social Research

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Franz Urban Pappi: Die konfessionell-religiöse Konfliktlinie in der deutschen Wählerschaft: Entstehung, Stabilität und Wandel [Abstract]

The German religious cleavage developed during a political conflict concerning the rights of the Catholic Church in the early 1870s of the just-founded German Empire. The Christian Democratic Party was successful in transforming this cleavage into a denominational-religious cleavage after WWII. Within the electorate, this cleavage is manifested by the CDU/CSU party identification of both religious Catholics and Protestants, the former delineated by frequency of church attendance, and the latter by religious belief systems. Communal social relationships among these groups support the stability of this cleavage. In addition, the CDU affiliation of Protestants varies by region. It is strongest within the overwhelmingly Protestant northern regions of Germany where the CDU was founded after WWII without “help” of former members of the Catholic Zentrum party. This cleavage between the Christian Democrats on the one side and all other parties on the other side still existed in 1982 as shown with Allbus data of that year.

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