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.

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