Germany Approach

1308 words | 5 page(s)

Germany today is one of the main global players that works to keep the world running peacefully in a collaborative manner. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, is seen as one of the most stabilizing forces behind the world order and, perhaps more specifically, the European Union. However, Germany was not always like this and were seen as one of the most disruptive forces in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century (Patel, 2011). Furthermore, the Germans, before the Modern Era, were seen as very expansive and disruptive within Europe. Moreover, the Nazis only worked to expand the country and radicalize the foreign policy of invasion and power (Patel, 2011). However, things seemed to change after World War II; the world realized that excessively harsh treaties that were sometimes meant to humiliate the enemy and overindulge the victor only left behind harsh feelings that were planted like seeds waiting to sprout the next war. The U.S., and most of Europe, realized that the world needed international collaboration and institutions that worked to ensure a peaceful balance of power and unity in European states (Ash, 1994).

Without the United States, Germany’s integration into the free world would not have happened. After the war, during 1945, France still wanted to absorb most of Germany. However, it realized that it would face staunch pushback from the United States and decided to abandon this strategy (Patel, 2011). Then began a process of integration and international institutions ushering Germany into becoming a Western Democracy. Germany’s economic power was always apparent; while it was crippled at the end of World War II, other countries realized the potential of Germany’s economy and understood that if Germany was to become Democratic, it would be a staunch ally in the fight against authoritarianism. Obviously, this outlook proved right, as Germany is one of the most stable countries today.

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After the U.S. drove the policy objectives more countries started to get on board and want Germany’s alliance with them for economic means. Furthermore, the U.S. was able to unify much of Europe and supported the formation of the European Union and the United Nations. The European Union was able to bind together the states of Europe and ensure that the potential of conflict between the nations was kept at a minimum (Patel, 2011). After 1945, Germany became part of numerous organizations of Europe and international. During the Cold War, Germany was still trying to discover its own identity but it ended up being able to by the end of the 20th century (Patel, 2011). By now, it seemed as if Germany was a fully Democratic state that was ready for the start of a more peaceful generation. Today, it seems like we are less likely to go to war with our European neighbors.

While there are still rifts between European countries, mostly regarding immigration and customs, the level of animosity is not really existent. Furthermore, the European Model that Germany has adopted has ultimately succeeded in partnering them with other European nations as well as the United States. The U.S. is a very close ally to Germany and it will continue to be a close ally as we move into the future. The EU is having a bit of trouble economically, and a lot of populist movements have erupted in individual countries. Germany, however, has remained stable and elusive to this populist uprising. While Merkel is set to retire at the end of her term, she will most likely hand her position off to another leader who stays in-line with neoliberal values and the international order.

Germany’s eagerness to adopt the European Model compared to other countries is very interesting. First, remember that Germany used to have the exact opposite approach where it wanted Europe to be Germany, not Germany to be Europe (Patel, 2011). Furthermore, Germany has ultimately been able to adopt the European Model while satisfying its own citizens. A lot of this is due to the economy; Germany’s economy is set up in a way that it benefits the most from free, unrestricted trade. Additionally, Germany’s economy benefits greatly from the European Union’s trade customs rules, more so than other nations which have found themselves at the short end of the stick. That’s not to say that free trade hurts these nations, which it does not. In fact, it actually helps them; unfortunately, due to the 2008 global recession, many politicians have taken advantage of the fact that not many have fully recovered from this recession.

These politicians have blamed the problems of the middle class on both immigrants and unelected bureaucrats of the European Union. Furthermore, even some in Germany have ultimately turned to these figures which scapegoat immigrants. Still, many German citizens understand and are very sensitive of the country’s history of scapegoating Jews. This has, quite likely, allowed much of the citizenry to resist the demagoguery that some politicians utilize the gain support. Therefore, a lot of Germany’s embrace of the EU has come down to their economy, as their industries and businesses greatly benefit when Europe is unified and trade is not restricted.

Furthermore, if one looks at the UK, they will see a big contract. In the UK, a lot of the citizenry is more inclined to feel loyal to the nation state than to Europe as a whole. Furthermore, if push comes to shove, these people would side with Britain, an independent country, over Europe, the entire continent (Stephen, 2010). This can be seen when we recall what happened during the Brexit Referendum where citizens voted to leave the European Union. This vote has major implications for the future of the EU (Wellings, 2014). Furthermore, this can create a snowball effect where other countries stricken with economic chaos – such as France and Greece – vote to leave the EU. If more and more countries leave, the EU will ultimately be dissolved. Additionally, if France alone leaves the European Union, the EU will most certainly come to an end. Britain may only be the first domino to fall. Additionally, most of the countries who want to leave the EU have been hit with economic uncertainty, and much of the blame that the citizens assign is to the European Union, which has become an easy target for politicians.

In France, we are seeing widespread yellow jacket protests which has caused social chaos. This has also caused Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, to hit record low approval ratings. Macron is undoubtedly an EU backer, and if he loses the next election it may be to someone who does not support the EU and will hold a referendum on staying or leaving, much like what Britain did. The big three countries in, or that were, in the EU are the UK, France, and Germany. If a referendum was held today, only one of these countries would vote to stay. Furthermore, Germany’s model of European integration seems to be the most stable and successful. Additionally, there is no doubt that economics have played a role, as Germany’s economy is healthier than the other two. We see this trend popping up through Europe, as countries with bad economies would feel more inclined to leave the EU. In order for the EU to survive, Germany needs to make reforms; if this does not happen, it seems like Europe will be back to square one (Vertovec, 2010).

  • Ash, T. G. (1994). Germany’s choice. Foreign Aff., 73, 65.
  • Patel, K. K. (2011). Germany and European integration since 1945. In The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History.
  • Stephen, W. A. L. L. (2010). Making the Single Market. JEIH Journal of European Integration History, 16(1), 57-65.
  • Vertovec, S., & Wessendorf, S. (Eds.). (2010). Multiculturalism backlash: European discourses, policies and practices. Routledge.
  • Wellings, B. (2014). European integration and the end of an imperial consciousness in Britain. Australian Journal of Politics & History, 60(1), 93-109.

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