The German Question: A Cultural, Historical, and Geopolitical Exploration

The German Question: A Cultural, Historical, and Geopolitical Exploration

The German Question: A Cultural, Historical, and Geopolitical Exploration

The German Question: A Cultural, Historical, and Geopolitical Exploration

Synopsis

Following Germany's defeat in two world wars, the Weimar failure and Nazi disaster, Cold War division, and reunification, this book explores the issue in terms of four dimensions: Germany's identity, national unity, power, and role in world politics.

Excerpt

The end of the sixteen-year chancellorship of Helmut Kohl after the Bundestag elections of September 27, 1998, leading to the advent of an unprecedented coalition of Social Democrats and Greens, has raised new questions about Germany's future direction in domestic politics as well as foreign policy. Even prior to this historic election, however, the turbulent aftermath of the country's reunification in 1990 had already raised many similar issues among German and non-German analysts and commentators alike.

In an attempt at providing a broader framework for an examination of Germany's contemporary condition and the country's possible future prospects, I have presented in this book an analysis of what has tended to be called the "German Question" from four different angles: German identity, German national unity, German power, and Germany's role in European and world affairs. Special emphasis is placed on a variety of cultural, ideological, psychological, as well as geopolitical factors.

While preparing the first edition of this book, I benefited tremendously from the advice, support, and hospitality of many. Kenneth N. Waltz, the late Paul Seabury, and Wolfgang Sauer at the University of California-Berkeley, and Alfred Grosser at the Sorbonne in Paris, provided valuable criticism and suggestions. Kenneth Jowitt introduced me to the concept of political culture and was a constant source of moral and intellectual support. Christian Søe not only provided excellent feedback on the manuscript but also has become a much-appreciated friend and scholarly collaborator.

During research visits to (West) Germany and (West) Berlin in the course of the 1980s and 1990s, I enjoyed the hospitality of, Werner Geisberg in Köln, Albrecht and Lore Tyrell in Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Rainer Zäck and Juergen Gebhard at the Akademie für Internationale Bildung in Bonn, and Abraham and Cathy Ashkenasi in (West) Berlin. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik in Bonn graciously agreed to host me as a visiting researcher in 1984 and enabled me to utilize its superb staff and library resources. Colette Myles and the late Serge Millan of U.C. Berkeley's Institute of International Studies Library were always a source of excellent assistance and cordial friendship.

At Loyola Marymount University, I have received generous research support, especially in the form of several summer grants from the University Research Committee . . .

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