France, Germany, and the Yugoslavian Wars
Edwina S. Campbell and Jack M. Seymour Jr.
Only one possible war in Europe figured in the foreign policy calculations of the Federal Republic of Germany before 1989, and it wasn't in Yugoslavia. Bonn looked to its border with the German Democratic Republic (GDR) as the likely flashpoint and to the Soviet Union as the potential aggressor in a war between the members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. In the 1960s and 1970s, Allied planners had feared that Soviet attempts to exploit a succession crisis in Belgrade following the death of President Tito could lead to such a war. Neither Bonn nor its allies were prepared for what happened in the early 1990s, when Yugoslavia, as a potential source of conflict, had all but faded from the east-west agenda. 1
Contrary to all expectations, the story of German-Yugoslav relations since 1989 has turned out to be -- as it was earlier in this century -- critical to the future of Europe. In 1991, the Federal Republic responded to crisis and war in the Balkans as a country unwilling, perhaps even unable, to accept the continuing relevance of power and force in the international system, while in Belgrade, Zagreb, and Sarajevo, their importance was all too clearly understood. Bonn's response to the crisis will have a long-lasting impact on the former Yugoslavia, as well as on Germany itself, France, and the European Union (EU). 2 After forty years of a foreign policy based on very different assumptions, the Federal Republic could not come to grips with the fact that war as an instrument of national policy had returned to Europe.