Mobilising the concept of strategic culture, this study develops a framework for understanding developments in German security policy between 1990 and 2003. Germany's contemporary security policies are characterised by a peculiar mix of continuity and change. From abstention in the first Gulf war, to early peacekeeping missions in Bosnia in the early 1990s and a full combat role in Kosovo in 1999, the pace of change in German security policy since the end of the Cold War has been breathtaking. The extent of this change has recently, however, been questioned, as seen most vividly in Berlin's response to ‘9/11’ and its subsequent stalwart opposition to the US-led war on terrorism in Iraq in 2003. Beginning with a consideration of the notion of strategic culture, the study refines and adapts the concept to the case of Germany through a consideration of aspects of the rearmament of West Germany. It then critically evaluates the transformation of the role of the Bundeswehr up to and including the war on terrorism, together with Germany's troubled efforts to enact defence reforms, as well as the complex politics surrounding the policy of conscription. By focusing on both the ‘domestics’ of security policy decision making as well as the changing and often contradictory expectations of Germany's allies, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of the role played by Germany's particular strategic culture in shaping policy choices. It concludes by pointing to the vibrancy of Germany's strategic culture.

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The past as prologue

This introductory chapter discusses Germany's security policy and strategic culture. It shows that strategic culture is concerned with the domestic sources of security policy and tries to determine how the past affects and shapes modern policy behaviour. It also addresses the idea of German strategic culture and German policy-makers. The final part of this chapter presents a brief outline of the succeeding chapters.

in Germany and the use of force
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This chapter takes a look at the theme of strategic culture and uses it as an approach to security studies. It first examines several existing studies and conceptions of strategic culture, before it discusses a new definition of strategic culture. It then creates a conceptual framework that can be adapted to the case of Germany. This chapter reveals that strategic culture now presents a practical alternative to the more traditional rationalist approaches in security studies.

in Germany and the use of force

This chapter is concerned with the formation of West German strategic culture. It examines several aspects of the rearmament process during the 1950s and estimates the external and internal factors in the rearmament of West Germany. It then tries to draw out the antecedents of (West) German strategic culture, before it presents an account of the creation of the Bundeswehr, which uses the lens of strategic culture. This chapter concludes that the creation of a new strategic culture in West Germany happened through two principal channels, namely the post-war domestic conditions in West Germany and the burden of the demands and will of the allies with regards to the kind of role the Federal Republic should play.

in Germany and the use of force
Adjusting to life after the Cold War

This chapter studies the events that occurred during the late 1980s up to 1999. These include the legal-political out-of-area debate, the development of the Bundeswehr and Germany's engagement in a full combat mission in Kosovo. It then maps the developments made in German security policy after 1989 to 1990, which reveal a clear route of changes in perspectives on the use of armed forces.

in Germany and the use of force
From Afghanistan to Iraq

This chapter centres on the German responses to September 11 2001 and the ‘War on Terror’. It examines the post-Cold War transformation of the role of the Bundeswehr in the 1990s and tries to assess the nature and extent of change in German strategic culture. It also shows how strategic culture affects policy behaviour. This chapter determines that in the aftermath of the war in Iraq, the Iraq German security policy became focused on three interconnected matters, namely: the reform of the Bundeswehr, the creation of a practical European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), and the re-building of relations between Germany and the US.

in Germany and the use of force

This chapter examines the reform of the German armed forces. It appraises several attempts during the 1990s to change the Bundeswehr from its Cold War organisation into a modern military equipped for a wider range of missions. It shows that these attempts have been surrounded by controversy and slowed down by financial uncertainties. This chapter also emphasises the external and internal impulses for defence reform and discusses the different factors that have slowed down policy change.

in Germany and the use of force

This chapter studies the practice of conscription, which is a different aspect of security policy that is characterised by non-change. It demonstrates the power of strategic culture to prevent policy change and studies the continuation of compulsory military service in Germany. It also presents evidence on the obvious mis-match between the arguments that support conscription and the changed strategic environment in Germany. This chapter reveals that conscription is considered as an important factor in maintaining aspects of the previous security policy of the Federal Republic.

in Germany and the use of force
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Germany, the use of force and the power of strategic culture

This chapter addresses the issues and debates that were presented in the previous chapters and studies them in relation to the three main questions posed in the Introduction. The first question is on identification, the second question is on change, and the third question is about behaviour. This chapter concludes that while Germany's strategic culture has not changed since its creation after the Second World War, a more self-assured Germany, in terms of security issues, seems to be emerging.

in Germany and the use of force