Geography and Overall Strategy - German Foreign and Security Policy since 1990 in Contemporary Historical Perspective

Foreign policy is the sum of history, geography and the experiences of a country. The geographical position in the center of Europe as a prominent characteristic of the country's strategic location connects today's reunified Germany with the old Federal Republic. The year 1990 brought Germany a "second chance". With the stroke of luck of reunification, Germany's geographical and political situation improved decisively. The central geopolitical result of the power shift triggered by this is that the historical center position has fully become the determining basic condition of German foreign policy; the center has been occupied, as it were, by the West. The reunification of Europe made possible by the European revolutions of 1989, the inclusion of a large part of the East-Central European, East-European and Southeast European reform states in the Euro-Atlantic structures, the struggle for a relationship with Russia that fluctuates between cooperation and vigilant prevention the tendencies toward a stronger security policy union of the Europeans in the form of a common foreign and security policy that have continued since the early 1990s and the associated questions about the division of labor and future cohesion in the Atlantic community took their starting point in the events that led to the collapse of the Yalta and Potsdam order in 1989.

Against this background, the research project "Geography and Overall Strategy - German Foreign and Security Policy since 1990 in Contemporary Historical Perspective" asks about the new tasks for German foreign policy, in particular Germany's priorities and its claim to shape them. The perception of German foreign policy by its neighbors and partners, the imprints of history and geography, the structural issues of German foreign and security policy, and the question of the realization of an overall strategic approach, the unity of diplomacy and military strategy, are central to the project. In particular, the project will expand the source base on German foreign policy through interviews and by developing new sources, conduct public eyewitness interviews with key players in German foreign and security policy in events at the University of Bonn, and launch several dissertation projects on partial aspects of the research project. The final goal of the project is to present a comprehensive monograph and an electronic source database on the history of German foreign policy since 1990 by the year 2023.


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Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schlie

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