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Author: Kerry Longhurst

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.

Open Access (free)
The past as prologue
Kerry Longhurst

Longhurst, Germany and the use of force.qxd 30/06/2004 16:25 Page 1 Introduction: the past as prologue This book is inspired by the often puzzling array of continuities and changes that has characterised German security policy since unification in 1990. Change has been manifest most profoundly in the lifting of the legal and political barriers which had formerly curtailed the use of the West German armed forces, a transformation which arguably reached its zenith in Germany’s military contribution to the war in Kosovo in 1999. Since then, German perspectives

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

-orientated, away from the orthodoxy of the previous forty years, to ensure Germany’s standing as a credible and important ally equipped to deal with unprecedented risks and challenges in line with the pervading strategic culture. The steep learning curve and incremental policy adjustment that occurred during the 1990s are examined in this chapter through the prism of the changing role of the Bundeswehr during the period between the wars in the Gulf and Kosovo of 1990 and 1999. In this time-frame the pace of change was relatively swift, as German security policy exhibited an

in Germany and the use of force
From Afghanistan to Iraq
Kerry Longhurst

Longhurst, Germany and the use of force.qxd 30/06/2004 16:25 Page 77 4 The momentum of change. Germany and the use of force II: from Afghanistan to Iraq Germany’s engagement in Kosovo in a combat capacity appeared to have shifted the parameters of German security policy and perspectives on the use of force, apparently to ‘solidify the new consensus’ over foreign and security policy.1 Indeed, Kosovo did seem to confirm that the trajectory of change already apparent in the 1990s was leading to a normalising of Germany’s relationship with the use of force

in Germany and the use of force
Open Access (free)
Kerry Longhurst

structure of that nation’s history and experience – its strategic culture, if you will.2 Key issues and developments in German security policy since 1989 form the overall focus of this book, while the more specific question to be dealt with relates to the evolution of German perspectives on the use of military force in international politics in the post-Cold War period, using the concept of strategic culture to interpret the subject matter. As argued in the Introduction, that concept is useful in yielding insights on both theoretical and empirical issues relating to

in Germany and the use of force
Open Access (free)
Germany, the use of force and the power of strategic culture
Kerry Longhurst

, moreover, actually sought to further them. An important aspect of this was the consolidation of security policy through a strong consensus among the main parties as to the basic substance, organisation and direction of West German security policy. Strategic culture, change and the ending of the Cold War The second question, relating to change after 1989–90, considered that if the existing (West) German strategic culture was the product of the Cold War – ‘a settled period’ – during which the foundational elements, security policy standpoints and, subsequently, the

in Germany and the use of force
Kerry Longhurst

generally seen that the endurance of the practice is best explained by socio-historical reasons, or ideational factors, relating to ‘the weight of the past’, an entrenched political–military culture informed by Germany’s past and culture – features, it has been argued, that ensure the policy’s path-dependence and obstruct the way to change.3 Even the most ardently realist prognoses of German security policy have acknowledged conscription’s special status. Geoffrey van Orden, for example, commented: ‘The debate over conscription goes to the heart of the contemporary German

in Germany and the use of force
Kerry Longhurst

Framework for Military Policy and Strategy). This document challenged the existing tenets of (West) German security policy, conceiving as of ‘vital’ interest to Germany any conflict in the world, but especially in the Middle East or North Africa, and in global trade and access to resources. Unsurprisingly, the paper met with expressions of disquiet and was seen by many to herald a dangerous new era of Germany ‘going it alone’.2 Such thinking was clearly too much too soon, bearing in mind the Longhurst, Germany and the use of force.qxd 100 30/06/2004 16:25 Page 100

in Germany and the use of force
Kerry Longhurst

passed by Parliament in July 1956, it was not until the following April that the first conscripts were inducted. Such delays meant that rearmament fully in line with initial plans did not transpire until 1965, when twelve West German divisions were assigned to SACEUR (Supreme Allied Command Europe). Institutional frameworks: embedding West German security policy The institutional embedding of West German security policy was comprised of political, strategic and spatial elements. As a direct reflex to the past, rearmament took place in a setting of multilateralism

in Germany and the use of force