The Berlin Republic, Iraq, and the use of force

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Series Details Vol.13, No.3, Autumn 2004, p215-245
Publication Date September 2004
ISSN 0966-2839
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This article holds that German security policy and attitudes towards the use of force remain framed by the distinct strategic culture that emerged during West Germany's rearmament and international rehabilitation in the 1950s. This strategic culture, characterised by strong anti-military sentiment and a commitment to multilateral diplomacy and international law, determined Germany's position over Iraq and its ongoing opposition to the US-led invasion of the country. However, the strength and highly vociferous nature of Germany's opposition to US policy also indicated that German strategic culture is itself evolving, as both elites and society reconsider aspects of German national history and the role of collective memory. Much of this new discourse relates to the notion of the 'Berlin Republic', which in foreign and security policy terms is synonymous with the emergence of greater self confidence, the introduction of more 'national' vocabulary into foreign policy statements and a less reflexive attitude to transatlantic security.

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