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Why is Germany a Civilian Power?

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Part of the New Perspectives in German Studies book series (NPG)

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to explain why Germany can be categorized as a Civilian Power. This will be no comprehensive history of German foreign policy. All we can offer is a set of brief sketches, emphasizing only the most important elements of continuity and change. We will start with a few observations about German foreign policy after the establishment of the empire in 1871, and link these to the tentative democratization of foreign policy in the Weimar Republic. Identifying 1945 as the key rupture in German history, we will see that before 1945 the exercise of Civilian Power was difficult, if not impossible, because no functioning democracy had come into being. Although German foreign policy before 1945 also contained non-military elements, these lacked the normative basis required of a Civilian Power and were subjected to aggression and military power at the critical junctures of German history. The failure of a civilian foreign policy is thus connected to a much larger failure in German political history, namely that of liberalism and democracy. German society never established the preconditions for the exercise of a Civilian Power foreign policy because it had not established civilianized politics at home. The emergence of Civilian Power in the Federal Republic after 1945 was made possible by the emancipation of civil society from the state, and by the practices of Western integration and Ostpolitik.

Keywords

Foreign Policy Federal Republic Role Conflict Normative Commitment Military Power 
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.
    Lothar Gall, ‘The Deutsche Bank from its foundation to the Great War, 1870— 1914’, in Lothar Gall et al. (eds), The Deutsche Bank, 1870–1995 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995), p. 70.Google Scholar
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    Fritz Fischer, Griff nach der Weltrnacht: Die Kriegszielpolitik des kaiserlichen Deutschland 1914/18 (Düsseldorf: Droste, 1961), pp. 107–13.Google Scholar
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    Jonathan Wright, ‘Gustav Stresemann: liberal or realist?’, in T. G. Otte and Constantine A. Pagedas (eds), Personalities, War and Diplomacy (London: Frank Cass, 1998), p. 87–8.Google Scholar
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    Peter Kruger, Die Außenpolitik von Weimar (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1985).Google Scholar
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    Michael Sturmer, Das Ruhelose Reich, Deutschland 1866–1918, special edn (Berlin: Siedler, 1994), p. 14.Google Scholar
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    See Peter Pulzer, Germany 1871–1945. Politics, State Formation, and War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 7.Google Scholar
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    Volker Berghahn, ‘West German reconstruction and American industrial culture 1945–1960’, in Reiner Pommerin (ed.), The American Impact on Postwar Germany (Providence, RI and Oxford: Berghahn, 1995), p. 72.Google Scholar
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    Peter Pulzer, German Politics 1945–1995 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 64.Google Scholar
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    Peter Katzenstein, Policy and Politics in West Germany: The Growth of a Semi-Sovereign State (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987).Google Scholar
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    Richard Rosecrance, The Rise of the Trading State (New York: Basic Books, 1986).Google Scholar
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    Wolfram Hanrieder, Germany, America, Europe (New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1989), p. ix.Google Scholar
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    Andrei S. Markovits and Simon Reich, The German Predicament. Memory and Power in the New Europe (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1997), p. 2.Google Scholar
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    A key argument in Timothy Garton Ash, In Europes Name: Germany and the Divided Continent (London: Vintage, 1993).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Henning Tewes 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Konrad-Adenauer FoundationWarsawPoland

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