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The Bundeswehr and Public Opinion

  • Hans Rattinger

Abstract

The concern of public opinion in the Federal Republic with national security affairs seems to have exhibited dramatic swings over the years. Up to the dual-track decision by NATO of December 1979 it had become a standard lament that the attentive sectors of public opinion were largely restricted to the military itself, to selected political decision-makers, and to a few academics and journalists, while the public at large did not care about these things a great deal.1 In the early 1980s, the rise of the peace movement and its activities caused the opposite lament that public opinion might pose a severe threat to the maintenance of a viable national security policy based upon the familiar combination of deterrence and defence.2 At the same time, these developments were hailed as indicative of a long overdue ‘democratization’ of defence policy.3 However, the rapid return of peace movement actions and media attention to more ‘normal’ levels following the onset of new INF deployment cast some shadow of doubt over both interpretations.

Keywords

Public Opinion Federal Republic National Security Nuclear Weapon Unpublished Material 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    For an overview, see Helga Haftendorn, Security and Detente: Conflicting Priorities in German Foreign Policy (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1985).Google Scholar
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    See the author’s, ‘Politics and the Peace Movement in West Germany’, International Security, Spring, 1983.Google Scholar
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    See especially, Gordon Smith, ‘The Changing West German Party System: Consequences of the 1987 Election’, Government and Opposition, Spring, 1987.Google Scholar
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    For an excellent analysis of German rearmament in the early 1950s, see Gerhard Wettig, Entmilitarisierung und Wiederbewaffnung in Deutschland 1943–1955 (Munich: Oldenbourg Verlag, 1967).Google Scholar
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    For CDU-CSU criticism of the report, see Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11 September 1985, p. 4.Google Scholar
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    For a general review of CDU-CSU security policy, see Wolfgang Pordzik, ‘Aspects of the West German Security Debate’, German Studies Newsletter (Center for European Studies, Harvard University, November, 1985).Google Scholar
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    Gordon Smith, ‘The Changing West German Party System: Consequences of the 1987 Election’, Government and Opposition, Spring, 1987.Google Scholar
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    The most prominent exponent of the need to find a third way between the superpowers is Peter Bender, Das Ende des ideologischen Zeitalters (Berlin: Severin & Siedler, 1981).Google Scholar
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    Fritz Stern, ‘Germany in a Semi-Gaullist Europe’, Foreign Affairs, Spring, 1980, p. 885.Google Scholar
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    See the author’s ‘The German Search for Security’, in Stephen J. Flanagan and Fen Osler Hampson, Securing Europe’s Future (London: Croom Helm, 1986).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen F. Szabo 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Rattinger

There are no affiliations available

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