Soon after the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the East German legislature passed a law to reconstitute the Ministry of State Security as the Office for National Security (Amt für Nationale Sicherheit). However, because of public outcry, the office was never established, and the Stasi was formally disbanded in February 1990. Concerned that Stasi officials were destroying the organization’s files, East German citizens occupied its main headquarters in Berlin on January 15, 1990. In 1991, after considerable debate, the unified German parliament ( Bundestag ) passed the Stasi Records Law , which granted to Germans and foreigners the right to view their Stasi files. By the early 21st century, nearly two million people had done so.
Although the Nazis won the greatest share of the popular vote in the two Reichstag general elections of 1932, they did not have a majority and therefore Hitler led a short-lived coalition government formed with the German National People's Party .  Under pressure from politicians, industrialists, and the business community, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933. This event is known as the Machtergreifung ("seizure of power").  In the following months, the NSDAP used a process termed Gleichschaltung ("co-ordination") to bring all aspects of life under control of the party.  All civilian organisations, including agricultural groups, volunteer organisations, and sports clubs, had their leadership replaced with Nazi sympathisers or party members; these civic organizations either merged with the Nazi Party or faced dissolution.  By June 1933, the only organisations not in the control of the NSDAP were the army and the churches. 
Matters of national importance, such as defense and foreign affairs, are reserved to the federal government. At both the state and federal levels, parliamentary democracy prevails. The Federal Republic has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community ( see European Union ). During the four decades of partition, the Federal Republic concluded a number of agreements with the Soviet Union and East Germany, which it supported to some extent economically in return for various concessions with regard to humanitarian matters and access to Berlin. West Germany’s rapid economic recovery in the 1950s ( Wirtschaftswunder , or “economic miracle”) brought it into a leading position among the world’s economic powers, a position that it has maintained.