The "Militant" Democracy
West Germany came out of the Three Years War a deeply scarred society in the aftermath of the 1957 Hanover massacre. No nation was as rhetorically dedicated to the cause of "democracy", as West German propaganda regularly contrasted "democratic Germany" with the "totalitarian Communist occupied east." Moreover, unlike Portugal or Spain, where integralist regimes did not permit free elections, West German authorities generally celebrated its free elections. However, West German elections had severe deficiencies., heavily linked to an official state ideology where a "nonideological watchman" was required to snuff out "threats" to democracy.
The West German state explicitly cited Karl Popper's "paradox of tolerance" and Hannah Arendt's "Origin of Totalitarianism" to essentially suppress dissidents. For example, the government banned expression of "totalitarian ideologies", which in theory meant both Communism and Nazism, but was essentially selectively only applied to Marxists and other socialists. Short of outright defending and celebrating the Holocaust, few far-right ideas were condemned under Germany's "democracy protection" regime (for example, in one court case, a scholar downplaying the death toll of the Holocaust was acquitted, while another expressing support for the Tanganyikan Mapinduzi rebels was convicted). Ironically, neither Popper nor Arendt were fans of West Germany's "constitutional protection regime."
The Gehlen Organization, under former head of Nazi military intelligence in the Eastern Front, Richard Gehlen, was transformed into Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution), which was given a broad mandate to "root out anti-democratic elements." Opposition elements quickly referred to them as the neo-Gestapo due to the prominence of many ex-Gestapo members (that being said, a majority of members were Abwehr veterans). The election system was also predictably rigged. Under West German election laws, each state sent MPs to the Bundestag based on proportional representation with the caveat that if any one electoral party alliance cleared 50% of valid votes in a state, they would receive 100% of the seats from that state. The ruling coalition would always get over 50% in enough states to guarantee 100% of the seats in those states - and no opposition alliance would ever manage that feat themselves because threatening candidates were often banned from the ballot (for "sympathy to totalitarianism"). Moreover, the opposition, deeply infiltrated by the BfV, was generally unable to ever unite.
In many ways, West Germany had constructed what many American liberals had desribed as the "perfect democracy." Angered by New Left student radicals during the 1964 elections, luminary American historian Richard Hofstadter penned an article describing West Germany as the "perfect democracy." To many American liberals, finally, "men of high virtue" with a belief in "human progress, technocratic rule, democratic rule, and high culture" (West German elites regularly cited Kant to justify their supposed "constitutional rule by law" state) would rule instead of "Marxist student activists, primitive Christian fanatics, and other deranged populists". The obvious fact that many of the judges in the so-called "rule-by-law" state were hanging judges for Nazi Germany was glossed over because pointing this out was quickly condemned as "Communist propaganda" sponsored by the "butchers of Stockholm." The most famous proponent of "militant German democracy" in America was German-born political scientist Karl Loewenstein, who argued that the West German legal system was actually reliable (most prosecutions of electoral candidates actually failed, though too late for their votes to actually be counted) and the system was unlike the Imperial and Nazi past because the government was 1) parliamentary, 2) restrained by courts, and 3) not run by any one autocrat in particular. All of those points were technically true, but this did not convince anyone skeptical of the system.
The West German secret services were heavily supported by France (as West Germany was a dutiful member of the EU) as well as the United States (as a dutiful member of NATO). Moreover, West German universities and political scientists were typically on the forefront of any analysis justifying Western intervention wherever they went (especially in anticolonial struggles, where most nations were actually quite embarrassed to do so). Moreover, West Germany once again became an intellectual center in Europe, at least for a certain type of European. The West German government gleefully sponsored free education for any anti-Communist Eastern European, where they would impress upon their own narrative of history - chief among the official state narrative in West Germany was that "international Marxists" tricked the West and Nazi Germany into a war together, that Operation Barbarossa was a "defensive war" launched to liberate the ethnicities of Eastern Europe, that the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities were real but their death toll was "overexaggerated" by "Marxist propaganda", and that anticolonial revolts abroad were part of an ancient "Bolshevik war against Western civilization." Their first eager students were Swedes, but they were quickly joined by Hungarians and Yugoslav anti-Communists, as well as Polish refugees. German intellectuals who detested the new regime typically either moved to East Germany - or more popularly, the Saarland, which quickly became a hotbed of anti-regime extremism and academic freedom.
At least between 1957 and 1963, the regime saw skyrocketing incomes, which quieted domestic discontent. However, the oil crash of 1963 and political chaos in neighboring France would also spark remarkable disorder in West Germany, which would only be compounded by the chaos in the Soviet Union. The "Spirit of 64" would soon be on its way to West Germany...