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The Politics of German Defence and Security: Policy Leadership and Military Reform in the post-Cold War Era

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The Politics of German Defence and Security

Policy Leadership and Military Reform in the post-Cold War Era

Tom Dyson

230 pages, 7 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-392-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2008)

eISBN 978-0-85745-023-4 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"Taking the focus away from ideological considerations Dyson manages to add to the discussion a refined analysis of the domestic political network which influences the outcome of foreign and security policy to a great extend. The relations between the different political subsystems explain policy outcome far better than any ideological approach will ever do."   ·  German Politics

"Tom Dyson provides a well-researched overview of the German military in the post Cold War era...The analysis allows the reader not only to follow the evolution of German security and defense policy more broadly from after the Wende through the Schröder administration, but it also permits a rare look into internal party politics in this area. The book in this way interestingly crosses the domestic/foreign policy lines of most authors whose expertise is one or the other without the background to present the analysis undertaken in this exhaustive, to be recommended, book.”   ·  German Politics & Society


The post-Cold War era has witnessed a dramatic transformation in the German political consensus about the legitimacy of the use of force. However, in comparison with its EU and NATO partners, Germany has been reticent to transform its military to meet the challenges of the contemporary security environment. Until 2003 territorial defence rather than crisis-management remained the armed forces' core role and the Bundeswehr continues to retain conscription. The book argues that 'strategic culture' provides only a partial explanation of German military reform. It demonstrates how domestic material factors were of crucial importance in shaping the pace and outcome of reform, despite the impact of 'international structure' and adaptational pressures from the EU and NATO. The domestic politics of base closures, ramifications for social policy, financial restrictions consequent upon German unification and commitment to EMU's Stability and Growth Pact were critical in determining the outcome of reform. The study also draws out the important role of policy leaders in the political management of reform as entrepreneurs, brokers or veto players, shifting the focus in German leadership studies away from a preoccupation with the Chancellor to the role of ministerial and administrative leadership within the core executive. Finally, the book contributes to our understanding of the Europeanization of the German political system, arguing that policy leaders played a key role in 'uploading' and 'downloading' processes to and from the EU and that Defence Ministers used 'Atlanticization' and 'Europeanization' in the interests of their domestic political agendas.

Tom Dyson is a Lecturer at the University of Surrey, having previously worked as an ESRC Research Fellow at the International Relations Department, London School of Economics and as a Visiting Lecturer at the LSE's Department of Government. He has published articles on German foreign and security policy in European Security and the British Core Executive in the Second World War in Contemporary British History.

Subject: Postwar History
Area: Germany


Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1. Explaining the Paradox of German Defense Policy 1990–2005

  • Germany in Context: Military Reform in Britain and France
  • Explaining the Paradox: Leadership and Culture as a Political Resource
  • The Concept of Policy Leadership
  • Leadership and Policy Studies in Germany

Chapter 2. The Bundeswehr in its Historical and Structural Context: The Scope for Policy Leadership

  • The Bundeswehr Policy Subsystem
  • Interlocking and Nested Policy Subsystems: Defense, Security, Foreign, and Budgetary Policy
  • The Three Coalitions in Defense and Security Policy During the Cold War
  • The Post-Cold War World: Unification, New Security Threats, and Responding to U.S. Power
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3. Policy Leadership and Bundeswehr Reform During the Kohl Chancellorships: The Art of Varying and Sequencing Roles

  • From the Gulf War to Sarajevo: Helmut Kohl as Policy Leader
  • Developing the Crisis Intervention Role of the Bundeswehr: Volker Rühe as Policy Entrepreneur and Broker 1992–94
  • The Structure of the Bundeswehr and the Politics of Base Closures: Volker Rühe as Policy Broker and Veto Player 1994–98
  • Leadership within the Defense Ministry: Denkverbot and the Control of Policy Learning
  • Contenders for the Role of Policy Entrepreneur on Bundeswehr Reform: Klaus Kinkel, the Foreign Ministry, the FDP, and the Greens
  • Adapting to Rühe: The SPD and the Deferral of Bundeswehr Reform
  • Conclusions

Chapter 4. Policy Leadership on Bundeswehr Reform During First the Schröder Chancellorship 1998–2002: Managing "Government by Commission"

  • Fanning the Flames of Policy Learning: The Weizsäcker Commission
  • The Strategic Context of Bundeswehr Reform: Base Closures, Social Policy, and the CDU/CSU Opposition
  • Rudolf Scharping as Policy Leader: The Marginalisation of the Weizsäcker Commission and the Control of Policy Learning
  • Policy Leadership and the Unsuccessful Implementation of Reform
  • Conclusions

Chapter 5. Bundeswehr Reform During the Second Schröder Chancellorship 2002–05: The Art of Combining Leadership Roles

  • The Parameters of Reform: Domestic Politics and the "Need for New Think"
  • Struck and the Defense Policy Guidelines (VPR): "Germany Will be Defended on the Hindukush"
  • Combining Leadership Roles to Build Consensus at the Macropolitical Level
  • Struck as Policy Veto Player on Structural Reform: Political Timing and the Control of Policy Learning
  • Conclusions

Chapter 6. Military Reform, NATO, and The Common European Security and Defense Policy: Between Atlanticization and Europeanization

  • Theories of Europeanization and German Defense and Security Policy
  • The EU and German Defense and Security Policy During the Kohl Chancellorship
  • Fischer, Scharping, and Europeanization: The Legacy of Opposition
  • Europeanization versus Atlanticization in the Defense Ministry: The Problem of Institutional Credibility
  • Conclusion: A Disjointed Discourse

Chapter 7. A Laggard in Military Reform: The Arts of Policy Leadership and the Triumph of Domestic Constraints over International Opportunity

  • Leadership and the Triumph of Domestic Constraint
  • The Implications for German Leadership Studies
  • The Concept of Strategic Culture: Resource as Well as Constraint
  • Europeanization: Leadership and the Management of 'Fit'


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