Germany and European Peace - Through Reconciliation to Unification
Project Leader: Benedikt Schoenborn, PhD, Senior Research Fellow
Over the past 100 years, German foreign policy has had a decisive influence on war and peace in Europe. The status and role of Germany, which in recent years has re-emerged as the leading European power, have been profoundly transformed since the end of World War II. As Lily Gardner Feldman (2012) has argued, the crucial element in this transformation process may be defined as Germany’s foreign policy of reconciliation. Taking methodological inspiration from Feldman’s analysis, and from the reconciliation concepts developed by John Paul Lederach (1997), Andrew Schaap (2005) and others, the present research project takes a special interest in Willy Brandt’s views on reconciliation and his contribution to European peace. A study of Brandt’s view is relevant because of his significant and lasting influence on the shaping of a conciliatory foreign policy seeking to make Germany a power for peace. Among the various primary sources used, special attention is paid to Brandt’s personal papers, to which the author has been granted access. The study will show that Brandt did indeed attach paramount importance to reconciliation, which from his perspective included two different aspects; societal reconciliation as a result of Germany’s Nazi past, and political reconciliation between Eastern and Western Europe. At the same time, the study intends to demonstrate that Brandt also applied reconciliation policies to further German interests, for example by deliberately depriving the Eastern European camp of its unifying (West German) enemy, thereby paving the way for German reunification.
Relevant Publications (selected):
- Schoenborn, Benedikt and Gottfried Niedhart, (2016), Erfurt and Kassel, 1970, in Kristina Spohr and David Reynolds (eds.), Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970-1990. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 15-42.
- Schoenborn, Benedikt (forthcoming), The German Question in the Eastern policies of France and Germany in the 1960s, in Frédéric Bozo and Christian Wenkel (eds.), France and the German Question, 1945-1990.
- Schoenborn, Benedikt (2015), L’Allemagne et de Gaulle: l’approche de Willy Brandt, in Mathieu Dubois and Renaud Meltz (eds.), De part et d’autre du Danube: l’Allemagne, l’Autriche et les Balkans de 1815 à nos jours. Paris: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 243-256.
- Schoenborn, Benedikt (2014), ‘Chancellor Erhard’s silent rejection of de Gaulle’s plans: the example of monetary union’, Cold War History 14:3, 377-402.
- Schoenborn, Benedikt (2014), La mésentente apprivoisee: de Gaulle et les Allemands (new electronic edition). Geneva and Paris: OpenEdition Books.
- Jussi M. Hanhimäki, Benedikt Schoenborn and Barbara Zanchetta (2012), Transatlantic Relations since 1945: An Introduction. London and New York: Routledge.
- Schoenborn, Benedikt (2012), ‘Druck auf Deutschland: US-Präsident John F. Kennedy und der Elysée-Vertrag’, Dokumente - Zeitschrift für den deutsch-französischen Dialog, no. 4, 39-44.
- Schoenborn, Benedikt (2010), ‘Pelkkää romantiikkaa? Willy Brandtin vaihtoehtoinen näkemys Natosta ja Euroopan turvallisuudesta’, Historiallinen Aikakauskirja, no. 4, 408-422.
- Schoenborn, Benedikt (2010), NATO Forever? Willy Brandt’s Heretical Thoughts on an Alternative Future, in Jussi M. Hanhimäki, Georges-Henri Soutou and Basil Germond (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Transatlantic Security. London and New York: Routledge, 74-88.
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