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The external image of Germany’s foreign policy

This chapter builds on a constructivist reading of German foreign policy and reconstructs the political, historical and intellectual context in which Germany’s role concept as a ‘civilian power’ has evolved after the Second World War. Furthermore, it explores how Germany has modified its ‘civilian’ foreign policy in view of an increasingly complex international environment since the 1990s, and how Germany’s revised foreign policy is perceived from abroad. In more detail, it asks whether Germany is still seen as a ‘civilian power’ and reveals a marked dissonance between Germany’s self-perception and the perception of others. In particular, Germany’s transatlantic allies are increasingly generating unease and criticism, and this criticism may also undermine Germany’s credibility both at home and abroad.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
Abstract only
International Relations theory and Germany

In contrast to the preceding chapters, this concluding chapter explores the ways in which IR theory has shaped our image of Germany. It makes the case for an iterative feedback process among country images and theory. On the basis of a quantitative analysis of leading IR works from the 1940s to the present day, it shows that in the post-war era, Germany has been the most frequent national role model for theorists and that Germany has been used in diverse ways by different paradigms. Germany’s central but changing role in world and European affairs, and the disciplinary prestige of emigre scholars explain the high scholarly interest in the country. Conditions have changed and theoretical interest in Germany has begun to decline.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
Memory and identity in Cold War America

This chapter explores the complicated American discourses surrounding the rapid reversal of Germany from enemy to ally in the Cold War era. It shows that a diverse range of actors – both American and (West) German, state and non-state, and public and private – produced and debated conflicting images of Germany. One part of the story is how different groups fought over the shaping of American understanding of Deutschtum (or Germanness) through the mass media. Another, equally important, part is how the fruits of these efforts (articles, books, films, television programmes, etc.) were interpreted by those Americans who consumed them. When taken together, they illustrate how images of Germany were more about the American understanding of self than the American understanding of Germanness.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
The Weimar Republic in the eyes of American political science

This chapter explores competing American accounts of the Weimar Republic and their significance for IR during the interwar period. It focuses on two interpretations of the Weimar Republic in the context of German sovereignty and regime change. Hermann Mattern argued that the Weimar Constitution put an end to the legal debate about the location of sovereignty in the German polity. Rupert Emerson, on the other hand, regarded the revival of German Federalism as part of an international trend towards fragmented sovereignty and as a potentially positive step into the direction of a new, ‘post-sovereign’ international order. Both interpretations highlight the importance of the American experience of the state, of sovereignty and of the Civil War for shaping academic discourses on sovereignty, and the occurring rift between the ideal of legal sovereignty and its political reality prefigured realist theorising.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
The changing view of Germany in Anglo-American geopolitics

This chapter traces changing geopolitical views of Germany and their academic and political influence. The geopolitician Halford J. Mackinder remained impressed with Germany’s advances in geography and spatial literacy, while increasingly seeing that superior knowledge as part of the threat posed by an insurgent Wilhelmine Empire. By the 1940s, though, German geography, through the popular image of Karl Haushofer, had been re-interpreted as a pathological throwback. Anglo-American geopolitics that would greatly influence the post-1945 construction of a new global order relied heavily on both positive and negative images of Germany. In this sense, the vision of Germany and its geopolitics was the foil against which the post-war settlement was framed.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
Edwin Borchard between New Haven and Berlin

This chapter shows how Germany’s fight against the Versailles peace settlement was intertwined with the rise of realism in the US. It documents how realist accounts of the ever-conflictual nature of IR and the weakness of international law facilitated German revisionism. A case in point is the American international lawyer Edwin M. Borchard, one of the major advocates of US neutrality. In the 1930s Borchard was among the first American scholars to suggest a ‘realist’ approach to IR and law, arguing that international treaties and collective security schemes were unable to accommodate change. He used such arguments in a relentless political campaign against the Treaty of Versailles, the Kellogg-Briand Pact and concerted action against Nazi Germany. The chapter documents that German lawyers who were busy legitimating breaches of the Treaty of Versailles and trying to discredit American involvement in the Second World War happily cited Borchard’s ideas.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
Abstract only
Changing images of Germany

This chapter pursues three tasks. First, it reviews Germany’s impact on the history of the twentieth century and discusses influential examples of scholarly reflection upon Germany. Second, it explains the approach of the book by outlining the generation of images of nations in IR theory. Images are mental pictures of an entity that identify typical or even unique characteristics through audio-visual or narrative representations. Furthermore, the studied images of Germany are tainted by the interests and political projects of others. Hence, it suggests that not historical events themselves but their stylised representation in discourse affect academic theorising. Finally, it provides an overview of the following chapters.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks

This chapter seeks to reconstruct and contextualize liberal internationalism’s creation of an autocratic and militarist German adversary at the beginning of the twentieth century. Liberal internationalists used images of less civilized societies and of a militarist German state to accentuate their own virtues, both British and liberal, and to recollect liberal beliefs in progress. During the First World War, L. T. Hobhouse and other intellectuals considerably supported the official propaganda when they distinguished between a Western and, by definition, liberal civilisation, led by Britain on the one hand and a backward and militarist Germany on the other. Like later theorists of Germany’s Sonderweg, its ‘special path’ to modernity, they identified inflated nationalism as the cause of Germany’s departure from the Western model.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
A historical survey

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 them.

in Prussians, Nazis and Peaceniks
Changing images of Germany in International Relations

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.