The history of the Federal Republic of Germany is closely connected with economic achievement. Enjoying a striking economic recovery in the 1950s, the FRG became the home of the “economic miracle.” Maturing into one of the most powerful economies in the world, it became known as the “German model” by the 1970s. Now, however, the chief metaphor for the German economy is “Standort Deutschland,” and therein lies the tale of the new German problem.
John S. Brady
Riva Kastoryano, Negotiating Identities: States and Immigrants in France and Germany, trans. Barbara Harshav (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002)
Zafer Senocak, Atlas of a Tropical Germany: Essays on Politics and Culture, 1990-1998, trans. and ed. Leslie Adelson (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000)
John S. Brady and Sarah Elise Wiliarty
In December 1995, the Center for German and European Studies at
the University of California at Berkeley hosted the conference, “The
Postwar Transformation of Germany: Prosperity, Democracy, and
Nationhood.” During the proceedings and in the edited volume that
resulted, conference contributors explored the reasons for Germany’s
success in making the transition to a liberal democratic polity
supported by a rationalized national identity and a modern, dynamic
capitalist economy. In charting postwar Germany’s success, the contributors
weighed the relative contribution institutional, cultural, and
international variables made to the country’s transformation.
Since the 1960s, Germany’s historical culture has continually reprocessed
the Nazi past and later the Holocaust for the purposes of education,
remembrance, and entertainment. The objective of this process,
Vergangenheitsbewältigung, is the self-centered and self-designed
therapeutic treatment of the descendants of the perpetrators and
bystanders of Nazism. It seems that Germans, who were better fascists
than other Europeans, are also determined to excel at the task of
working through Nazism and the World War II era. Therefore,
attempts at mastering the past have given rise to hectic cultural activity
as the field of contemporary history illustrates: “[I]ncessantly the
German business for contemporary history generates fast-food products.
It is based on a perpetual mobile of commissions, projects and
mini-grants, temporary employment and welfare-to-work subsidies,
conferences and lecture series—a perpetual mobile of pedagogical historiography
and history obsessed pedagogy.”
Andrei S. Markovits and Joseph Klaver
The Greens' impact on German politics and public life has been enormous and massively disproportional to the size of their electoral support and political presence in the country's legislative and executive bodies on the federal, state, and local levels. After substantiating the Greens' proliferating presence on all levels of German politics with numbers; the article focuses on demonstrating how the Greens' key values of ecology, peace and pacifism, feminism and women's rights, and grass roots democracy—the signifiers of their very identity—have come to shape the existence of all other German parties bar none. If imitation is one of the most defining characteristics of success, the Greens can be immensely proud of their tally over the past thirty plus years.
Charles S. Maier
This essay looks at postunification Germany through the pages of German Politics and Society. The articles published during this period reveal the evolution of intellectuals' understanding of the unified country—concerns that mirrored changes in social, political, and cultural reality. Of course, academics are beholden to their own histories and Weltanschauung, a fact that produced, at times, prescient, sometimes fragmentary, and sometimes alarmist interpretations and analyses of the country in an attempt to provide orientation. Nevertheless, this review shows how German watchers have slowly up-dated their paradigms and are now not worrying as much about a mellowed, less German country that has fascinated them over the decades.
The article draws upon the formal coalition literature to demonstrate that party system change over the last thirty years means that the Volksparteien enjoy more coalition options and greater ideological leverage within coalitions that form than was the case in the past. The Free Democrats have lost their kingmaker status and the distribution of party weights over recent elections allows no other small party to act in this manner. By contrast, the numerical and ideological resources possessed by the two Volksparteien means that they remain the only parties within the German party system that can act as formateur in the coalition game and are less vulnerable to threats of a decisive defection by small parties to alternative coalitions than they were in the past.
The year 2011 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the bilateral recruitment
agreement that the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) signed with
the Republic of Turkey in 1961. According to official figures, the immigrant
group with roots in Turkey and its offspring make the second largest
group currently after ethnic German emigrants (resettlers) in Germany.
Understanding this migration experience and the broader issues of immigration
in Germany is the motivation behind this special issue.
Micha Brumlik, Hajo Funke and Lars Rensmann, Umkämpftes Vergessen: Walser-Debatte, Holocaust-Mahnmal und neuere deutsche Geschichtspolitik (Berlin: Verlag Das Arabische Buch, 2000)
Robert G. Moeller, War Stories: The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001)
Klaus Naumann, Der Krieg als Text: Das Jahr 1945 im kulturellen Gedächtnis der Presse (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1998) Klaus Neumann, Shifting Memories: The Nazi Past in the New Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000)
Germany's growing weight on the world stage is indisputable, and its foreign policy is exceptional among powerful states. This article argues that while the original vision of cooperative security and multilateralism guiding German policy was shaped by occupation, division, and weakness, it has shown astonishing resilience, even as Germany has regained sovereignty, unity, and power. For a weak and divided Federal Republic, a vision that eschewed the exercise of power ensured survival; for a strong united Germany, a vision that minimizes the role of power is revolutionary and controversial. I argue that this revolutionary policy is now the most effective one to meet the challenges of a transformed world marked by new and unconventional threats and risks—a world in which traditional measures of power have lost much of their usefulness in securing the national interest. Ironically, however, while the policy vision that downplays the role of power persists, Germany's material power has grown. Germany's renewed power position makes it an influential actor in an international system where perceptions of power still matter. And the old policy vision makes German foreign policy the most appropriate for solving new global problems whose solution defies power politics. This paradoxical combination of power and vision in Germany's postunification foreign policy has introduced a new and effective form of "normative power" in global politics.