Foreign and Security Policy

  • William E. Paterson


The creators of the Federal Republic were determined to fashion a set of institutions and policies which would not be subject to the process of internal collapse that had brought down the Weimar Republic. They were also aware that both the Imperial and Nazi regimes had collapsed because of foreign policy failures which had united overwhelming forces against them. There was widespread consensus on the institutions and policies of the internal policy agenda. Dissensus, unusually for Western Europe, was concentrated on the external policy agenda. The key division was between those who stressed that priority must lie in complete integration with the West and those who wanted to assign priority to the achievement of reunification. Consensus on foreign policy goals has been much harder to achieve than on domestic policy, and the old question of the degree to which West Germany’s foreign and security interests are identical with those of the Western alliance is once again an area of impassioned debate. The debate itself is now a more complex one. At issue now is not only the degree to which resolution of the German question — whether in the form of reunification or, more usually, closer German-German relations — should take precedence over wider Western goals, but divergent responses to the Gorbachev agenda on arms reduction.


Federal Government Foreign Policy Federal Republic Nuclear Weapon Security Policy 
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© William E. Paterson 1989

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  • William E. Paterson

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