Politics and Government in Germany, 1944-1994: Basic Documents

By Carl-Christoph Schweitzer; Detlev Karsten et al. | Go to book overview

5
Foreign Policy

Robert Spencer

I n many respects, for its first forty years, until the tumultuous events of 1989-90, the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany has been unique. More dependent than most other states on the international system which gave birth to it, the Republic in its earlier years had to endure a long period of apprenticeship. 1* It had no foreign ministry until 1951, no foreign minister separate from the chancellor until 1955, the year in which sovereignty was regained in most essentials. Even after that date, however, the Federal Republic remained, as Willy Brandt described it in the 1964 election campaign, 'an economic giant, but a political dwarf'2. Just why this pattern should have prevailed after 1949 is explained in part by the Republic's origins. The government established in 1949 was endowed with only a limited and revocable degree of sovereignty, and only gradually were the reins of the occupying powers relaxed (Docs. I and 2). From the very start, the goal of political recovery by the Federal Republic meant, as it could only mean, the right to have a foreign policy and to bring about conditions in which it could be exercised.3

Other factors also circumscribed Bonn's foreign policy from the start. In the first place, the Federal Republic comprised not all, but only a part of the territory of the former German Reich. The importance of this consideration is suggested by the fact that the central goal of foreign policy was laid down in the preamble to the Basic Law: 'The entire German people are called upon to achieve in free self-determination the unity and freedom of Germany.' The Basic Law also committed the Federal Republic to 'serve the peace of the world as an equal partner in a united Europe'. Not only, that is, was the Republic committed to the causes of unification and of peace but, as was the case in a number of other countries such as Italy, the goal of European unity was enshrined in its constitution. The regaining of sovereignty was also coupled with the constitutional authority to 'transfer sovereign powers to inter-governmental institutions' and to enter 'a system of mutual collective security' (Art. 24). Active par-

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*
Notes for this chapter begin on p. 146.

-108-

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Politics and Government in Germany, 1944-1994: Basic Documents
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the First Edition xv
  • Preface to the Second Edition xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • 1 - The Origins of The Federal Republic Of Germany, 1944-1949 1
  • 2 - Berlin 29
  • 3 - The Two Germanies 48
  • 4 - Germany Reunited 1989--Her First Successful Revolution, And a Peaceful One 76
  • 5 - Foreign Policy 108
  • 6 - Defence Policy and the Armed Forces 150
  • 7 - Parliamentary Democracy: The Bundestag 175
  • 8 - Political Parties 201
  • 9 - Chancellor, Cabinet, and President 239
  • 10 - The Judiciary 272
  • 11 - Basic Rights And Constitutional Review 297
  • 12 - Federalism: Bund and Länder 325
  • 13 - Public Opinion: Interest Groups and the Media 371
  • 14 - Economic and Social Policy 401
  • Statistical Tables 432
  • Glossary 446
  • Select Bibliography 449
  • Notes on the Editors 458
  • Index 460
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