The Political Economy of German Unification

By Thomas Lange; J. R. Shackleton | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
THE GERMANY EUROPE DESERVES

Margaret Blunden


Introduction

In the years following the Second World War, West Germany centred itself in the Western alliance, formed with France the hard core of the European Community and adopted the Enlightenment values of democracy, tolerance and pluralism. Commitment to the European project helped to protect the fragile West German democracy, as it was later to strengthen the emergent Spanish, Portuguese and Greek democracies, and may similarly, many hope, guarantee the freedoms of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. In the 1990s Chancellor Kohl's government in Germany, still a front-line state, is trying to reconcile existing ties to the West with stabilising weak states in the East. It believes that the European Union has to be both widened and deepened, if its effectiveness is not to be dissipated. Without strong European institutions, internal and external peace are at risk.

The German world-view is little understood in Great Britain. Other Europeans fear the strength of the new Germany. Many Germans themselves worry about German weakness and seek to embed their tenuous national identity within a European identity. Historical disasters brought on by an obsession with dominance have warned Germans off crude definitions of national self-interest and balance- of-power politics. The German government takes a distinctive

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