Historically, Germany seems to have or have had a ‘problem’ with power. This
was undoubtedly true of the Nazi regime, but there is a body of opinion that
sees a tradition of German power being mishandled reaching further back, to
the 1871 Empire or even beyond. This chapter seeks to put this issue into a
historical perspective that is longer still, beginning with the founding of
the German kingdom in the tenth century and then taking the story to the
early twentieth century. Necessarily, such an approach entails discussing
what ‘Germany’ actually was at different stages of its historical
trajectory. Its successive iterations involved much change that necessarily
also meant that power played a different and variable role for each of
This volume traces changing images of Germany in the field of International
Relations (IR). Images of countries are mental representations with audio-visual
and narrative dimensions that identify typical or even unique characteristics.
This book focuses on perceptions of Germany from the English-speaking world and
on the role they played in the development of twentieth-century IR theory. When
the discipline originated, liberal internationalists contrasted cooperative
foreign policies with inherently aggressive Prussianism. Early realists
developed their ideas with reference to the German fight against the Treaty of
Versailles. Geopoliticians and German emigre scholars relied on German history
when they translated historical experiences into social-scientific vocabularies.
The book demonstrates that few states have seen their image change as
drastically as Germany during the century. After the Second World War, liberals,
lawyers, and constructivists developed new theories and concepts in view of the
Nuremberg trials, the transformation of the former enemy into an ally of the
West, and Germany’s new commitment to multilateralism. Today, IR theorists
discuss the perplexing nature of ‘civilian power’ Germany – an economic giant
but a military dwarf. Yet the chapters in this volume also show that there has
never been just one image of Germany, but always several standing next to each
other in a sometimes compatible and sometimes contradictory manner.
Germany in American post-war International Relations
After the Second World War, the German roots of scholars who were forced to
leave Germany during the 1930s and found refuge in the US became forgotten.
Their scholarship was no longer situated in the liberal democratic milieu of
Weimar Germany that upheld humanistic educational ideals and was
sympathetically critical to Marxist thought, but was connected to an
American liberalism turned idealism that lacked the intellectual modesty and
self-reflexivity that the Weimar version argued for. In other words, emigres
had turned into ‘hyper-Americans’ for their peers and IR at large. The
intention of this chapter is to investigate the processes that led to this
‘silencing’. How was it possible that their German intellectual
socialisation that continued to inform their political thought became
overlooked and indeed no longer even realised? It is argued that German
emigres and American IR constitute a case of successful integration.
Twentieth-century Germany in the debates of Anglo-American international
lawyers and transitional justice experts
Since the 1990s transitional justice scholars have taken the case of
contemporary German history as a universal model for dealing with
perpetrators and victims of state-sponsored violence. This chapter, in
contrast, calls into question that there has been only one, definitive image
of Germany. It adopts a historical perspective to show that transatlantic
twentieth-century debates about transitional justice and human rights
entailed a dualistic image of ‘two Germanies’: one peaceful and civilised,
the other militaristic and expansionist. The chapter delineates these
debates in a longue durée perspective and analyses their underlying
political, ideological, and historical assumptions. Punitive international
legalism is deeply coloured by a dichotomous view of twentieth-century
German history, and this view influenced the human rights regime that was
set up immediately after the end of the Cold War.
German Responses to the June 2019 Mission of the Sea-Watch 3
The European responses to irregularised migrants in the second decade of the twenty-first century have been qualitatively new not so much because of the often-celebrated cultures of hospitality in countries such as Germany and Sweden, but because of acts of solidarity that have challenged the prerogative of nation-states to control access to their territory. I discuss elements of the public response in Germany to the criminalisation of one such act, the search and rescue (SAR) operation of the Sea-Watch 3 in the Central Mediterranean in June 2019, which led to the arrest of the ship’s captain, Carola Rackete, by Italian authorities. I argue that while the response to Rackete’s arrest was unprecedented, it built upon a year-long campaign in support of private SAR missions in the Mediterranean, which drew on the discourse of rights and was therefore not reliant on a short-term outpouring of compassion. Rackete’s supporters have also been energised by alternative visions of Europe, and by the vitriol reserved for her by followers of the populist far right.
A Framework for Measuring Effectiveness in Humanitarian Response
In most of today’s crises, humanitarian organisations operate in the same environment as a range of military and non-state armed actors. The effective engagement between militaries and humanitarian aid agencies can be beneficial for the timely delivery of aid and is also often unavoidable when trying to gain access to areas controlled by military or non-state armed actors. However, such engagement also comes with risks. Previous literature on the subject has described some of the benefits and potential risks of different types of engagement between military and humanitarian actors. To date, however, quantifiable data on how civil–military engagement unfolds and which factors influence the effectiveness of coordination is lacking. This paper proposes an indicator framework for measuring the effectiveness of civil–military coordination in humanitarian response. It provides nineteen descriptive level and twenty perception and effectiveness indicators that may be used at any stage of a response to a humanitarian emergency, from mission planning and assessment through the various stages of a response and post-response assessment. The full set of questions, or a more targeted subset of these questions, may also be used as periodic polls to actively monitor developments in theatre.
The Law and Politics of Responding to Attacks against Aid Workers
Violence against aid workers seeking to bring assistance and protection to vulnerable people amid ongoing armed conflicts, disasters or other crises has fuelled growing concern over how to protect the humanitarian mission. Based on semi-structured interviews conducted with 118 practitioners involved in humanitarian operations and security management, this article considers three under-analysed prongs of grappling with humanitarian insecurity. The first three sections, in turn, examine the pursuit of accountability at both the domestic and international levels, public advocacy efforts and confidential negotiation. The fourth section links the article’s assessment of these three modes of responding to humanitarian insecurity to the broader discourse on security management in the humanitarian sector. Specifically, this section revisits and reimagines the security triangle, a framework that has played an influential role in shaping discourse on security management in humanitarian operations. The final section offers concluding remarks.
Why Building Back Better Means More than Structural Safety
This paper explores the importance of house and home for survivors of natural disaster: it protects from hazards and contributes to health, well-being and economic security. It examines the reconstruction of homes after a disaster as an opportunity to Build Back Better, re-defining ‘better’ as an holistic and people-centred improvement in housing. It questions the humanitarian shelter sector’s emphasis on structural safety while poor sanitation, inadequate vector control and smoke inhalation are responsible for many more deaths worldwide than earthquakes and storms. The paper extends this discussion by arguing that promoting ‘safer’ for a substantial number of families is better than insisting on ‘safe’ for fewer. The overall benefit in terms of lives saved, injuries avoided and reduced economic loss is greater when safer is prioritised over safe, and it frees resources for wider consideration of a ‘good home’ and the pursuance of ‘self-recovery’. The paper is informed by field research conducted in 2017 and 2018. Finally, implications for humanitarian shelter practice are outlined, with particular reference to self-recovery. It highlights a need for adaptive programming, knowledge exchange and close accompaniment so that families and communities can make informed choices with respect to their own recovery pathways.