Wolfram F. Hanrieder. Deutschland, Europa, Amerika: Die AuÖŸenpolitik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1949-1994. Paderborn: Ferdinand SchÖ¶ningh Verlag, 1995. xxii + 600 pp. DM 88,- (cloth), ISBN 978-3-506-73691-8.
Reviewed by Diethelm Prowe (Department of History, Carleton College)
Published on H-German (November, 1996)
This is the second, fully updated edition of Hanrieder's well-known historical analysis of (West) German foreign policy since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. Since the appearance of the American and first German editions in 1989 and 1991, this volume, which focuses primarily on relations with the United States and secondarily with European states, has been widely used in this country and in German universities.
In its fundamentals the new edition follows the 1989/91 volumes. Since the earlier edition is widely known, I will summarize only its salient overall features. It is, first of all, a straight historical analysis of the international relations structures and actions of the period, based on printed sources rather than primary archival research and without the pretense of formalized international relations theory with its specialized jargon and methodology. But from the particular post-World War II international reality, Hanrieder derives a three-tiered concept of foreign relations operating on the levels of territorial geopolitics, nuclear-strategic security, and economic interdependence. Following an overview of the opportunities and restraints of post-World War II German foreign policy, he thus examines the specific relations in three successive analyses of security policy, the diplomacy of the East-West confrontation, and economic reconstruction and integration. Even though this three-layered approach necessitates some repetition of particular events, Hanrieder's remarkable mastery of the technical issues in each of these subject areas lends an impressive comprehensive depth to the analysis. In a shorter fourth section he reflects on the interplay of foreign and domestic policy. Chronologically he divides German foreign policy also into three parts: the formative years through the 1950s, the period of the "interim solutions" in the 1960s until the East-West agreements of the early 1970s, and the Schmidt-Kohl years when (West) Germany emerged as a middle-level power.
The central concept of the book is the "double containment." Hanrieder regards the Western goal of containing both German aggression and Soviet-Communist expansionism as the overarching framework that shaped and limited all German foreign policy, as well as Western policy toward Germany until the end of the Cold War. The double containment secured West German recovery, freedom, and prosperity, but blocked the other key foreign policy goal, reunification. Even as West Germans were profiting from Western integration and East-West stabilization, their foreign policy-makers constantly feared a settlement on the basis of American-Soviet co-hegemony, which threatened to freeze German partition and subjection. While West Germany increasingly asserted its economic power toward the West and the East, it remained dependent on and severely constrained by the United States and on the partners in the European Community.
The thrust of this interpretation has not changed in the new edition. The old text has been modified in light of the reunification. The major change is the addition of four new chapters at the end of each of the major sections. To make room for them, the old chapters and notes have been abridged somewhat and two pairs of the former chapters combined. Of the new chapters, those at the end of the first and third sections -- security policy and international economic interaction -- are largely routine surveys of events since 1989. Conceptually the most interesting addition is the new concluding chapter of Part Two on the Cold War partition. Hanrieder returns here to his central premise of the double containment, as it was indeed rediscovered by commentators at the time and found its clearest expression in the initial opposition to reunification by the French and British. In 1989, he argues, the Germans were able to overcome the fetters of double containment not simply because one element, namely the Soviet containment, was becoming irrelevant, but primarily owing to Kohl's skill in repairing the tensions within the alliance -- especially in the German-American relationship -- inherited from the Schmidt government, and to Genscher's steady trust-building efforts. Even though reunification became possible only with the end of the European partition, Hanrieder does not believe that this was a sufficient condition. Instead he credits the Kohl government's policy of integration, self-limitation, and support for the European Community and the American alliance, even in the face of Reagan's reassertion of a demanding America-first economic policy. More generally, Hanrieder argues, it was the fact that West German foreign policy had been embedded in the European and Atlantic alliance systems that made reunification possible once the Iron Curtain fell (p. 240). Like Timothy Garton Ash, Konrad Jarausch, Stephen Szabo, and the other leading analysts of German reunification, Hanrieder confirms Kohl's personal skill in the unification process and dismisses once more the myths that still lurk among critics on the left that Kohl rushed unification to "conquer" helpless East Germans for political gain.
In light of his argument that Germans overcame the "double containment" in 1989/90, it is surprising that Hanrieder does not view the post-reunification era as a new, fourth phase of German foreign policy. Most scholars have seen this as a fundamental shift to, as many have put it, the "Berlin Republic." Hanrieder cites important reasons for his position. With Helmut Kohl continuing as Chancellor, the basic principles of his policy of national affirmation within European integration, trans-Atlantic cooperation, and trust-building with Eastern Europe and other regions still guide German foreign policy. In contrast to Arnulf Baring's assertion that Germany has become a fundamentally different country from the old Federal Republic because it is once again located in "the middle" of the European state system, Hanrieder argues that the lasting integration of the new Germany in NATO and the European Union and the asymmetry in wealth and stability between Western and Eastern Europe has "relativized this return of Germany to its position in the middle" (p. 246). The Mittellage no longer poses either the danger of being overrun or the temptation of aggrandizement for the new Germany. Yet with this argument Hanrieder appears to undermine his own assertion that the post-reunification foreign policy is simply a continuation of the 1970s/80s rise to a middle-level power status. In fact, he even asserts that the "double containment," which had been the central reality for West German foreign policy until 1989, has been replaced by European and NATO integration since reunification (pp. 357-58).
Hanrieder does not deal with this paradox explicitly, but his argument for continuity ultimately seems to be that Germany remains a middle power, whose position is based on economic, not military, strength. This is the central point of his final reflections on the interaction of domestic and foreign policy. Much of the new last chapter deals with the recent difficulties of the German economy since reunification and the parallel structural problems of the United States economy and European integration. The central assertion takes the increasingly popular argument of leading diplomatic historians like Paul Kennedy and Paul W. Schroeder a bit further by arguing that economic power has become more important than military power because it is "more flexible and usable than military power" (p. 417). A state with a strong social-economic consensus, like the Germany of "Modell Deutschland" has had a natural advantage here. In 1995 Hanrieder could not yet foresee that the Kohl government's competitiveness campaign in the race to the common currency union would turn this social consensus to an increasingly heated confrontation in the emerging "Berlin Republic."
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Diethelm Prowe. Review of Hanrieder, Wolfram F., Deutschland, Europa, Amerika: Die AuÖŸenpolitik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1949-1994.
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