Kindleberger’s theory of hegemonic stability states that fixed exchange rate regimes require a leader that will provide it with disproportionate resources to ensure stability. Applying his theory to European monetary cooperation, we argue that, like the tools of Goethe’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” European Monetary Union was constructed as a “self-regulating system,” and it threatens to run amok without a hegemonic leader. Germany has exercised “soft hegemony” in Europe, providing the European Union with disproportionate resources to stabilize the single market. It has the capability to be the Eurozone’s leader. But, by 2017, blinded by its ordoliberal ideology, i t refused to do so, instead placing the burden of cooperation on the weak. If Germany continues to refuse to play the role of the hegemonic leader, European Monetary Union faces collapse.
A Cautionary Tale
Beverly Crawford Ames and Armon Rezai
Right-wing extremism in Germany has recently undergone considerable changes with a new right-wing party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) successfully entering several local state parliaments as well as the European Parliament, “Pegida” demonstrations representing a new type of public action in terms of social movements, and the emergence of institutions like the Library of Conservatism and magazine projects like Sezession. This article considers whether such developments could be seen as a renaissance of the “New Right”, representing a long-term success in its strategies. Since the 1970s, the strategy of the New Right has been based on promoting a culturally conservative metapolitics in the pursuit of “cultural hegemony”, meaning to influence public opinion in the Federal Republic of Germany and shift it to the right— which at first glance might seem to have succeeded in light of recent events. The developments seen in German far-right extremism, however, have been neither monocausal nor monolithic. Therefore, this article will take a closer look at various aspects of the idea that recent changes in Germany’s rightwing extremism might represent a successful implementation of this New Right strategy.
Austro-German Filmmaker, Bestselling Author and Journalist Colin Ross Discovers Australia
In 1929 prominent Austro-German filmmaker and author Colin Ross visited Australia with his family for several months. In his literary and cinematic work on Australia Ross establishes a perplexing argument: Australia’s “nordic myth” (the White Australia policy) exposes the continent to the peril of an Asian invasion. In accordance with concepts of cultural hegemony within the framework of the so-called German liberal imperialism and driven by Germany’s ambition to reestablish a presence in its former colonial realm, he advocates for the forced immigration of South European laborers to the continent to populate the vast “empty space” of Australia and guard against the menacing consequences of a British-Japanese pact. This article discusses the visual and literary strategies employed by Ross to popularize geo-political thinking in Germany, thereby inducing a shift in the travelogue genre from appealing to “colonial desire” to promoting the politics of an emerging imperialism.
The Federal Republic of Germany—both before and after 1989—has been influenced deeply by collective memories of the Nazi period and the Holocaust, a seemingly "unmasterable past." In a first phase after unification, memory trends, which had their origin in the mid 1980s, continued, but a second period, beginning around the 1999 move of the capital back to Berlin, however, witnessed the erosion of this older trend and the delayed rise of new memory dynamics. Substantively, there have been three vectors of memory concerning Nazi crimes, German suffering, and the period of division, especially regarding the German Democratic Republic. In this article, I outline the major collective memory dynamics and debates, first from a qualitative and then from a more quantitative perspective where I analyze the holdings of the German National Library. I conclude that an intense period of memory work characterized the postunification years, but the peak of concern was reached several years ago and the German future will be much less beholden to the past. Given inevitable normalizing trends and the unintended consequences of the hegemony of Holocaust memory, Germany's difficult historical legacy increasingly appears to be disappearing or even mastered.
In October 1998 the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens1
formed a coalition government, the first ever between these parties at
the federal level. In more ways than one, this new coalition marked a
watershed in Germany’s post-1945 development. Since 1945, Germany
had been a democracy in which political parties hold an especially
privileged position. This “party-state” has operated almost
exclusively through the three major “Bonn” parties, which for nearly
a half-century had governed through shifting coalitions. The Greens
arose as a social movement challenging this hegemony; yet, only fifteen
years after they first entered the Bundestag, they forged a federal
coalition with one of the established parties they had once attacked.
For the first time since 1957, a coalition had been formed that
involved not only a party other than the three “Bonn” parties but also
one not linked to the Federal Republic’s creation. It was, furthermore,
the first coalition ever to have resulted unambiguously from
the wishes of voters.
Before the series of 60th anniversary commemorations of the end of the Holocaust, Nazism and World War II in 2005, the big development regarding German collective memories and political culture was the resurgence of memories of German suffering. Contrary to the opinions of prominent observers like W.G. Sebald, this memory, linked to events from the end and immediate aftermath of World War II, is not a repressed or only recently discovered trauma. Rather, the current discussions signal the return of a memory that was culturally hegemonic in the early postwar decades. Nevertheless, the circumstances surrounding this return differ significantly from the postwar situation in which this memory first flourished in three main ways. The altered environment greatly affects both the reception and potential institutionalization of such memory, which could lead to deep political cultural changes.
While still vastly underrepresented and lagging behind political representation in several other European democracies, more ethnic minorities and immigrants have entered the German Bundestag in 2013 than ever before. This is one of several indicators of Germany's political departure from hegemonic ethnic self-understandings, signaling the nation's complicated, partly still-contested evolution towards political self-conceptions as a “country of immigration.” A significant unanswered question is how and how far this process, which can be conceived as cosmopolitanization, has transformed party politics. This article examines the scope and causes of cosmopolitanization in three dimensions of German party politics after the 2013 Bundestag election: political discourse and programmatic positions on immigration, citizenship, identity, and ethno-cultural diversity; the policy regime of mainstream parties on immigration and the inclusion of ethnic minorities; and the fielding of minority candidates for national public office. It is argued that a belated postethnic cosmopolitanization of German party politics is primarily caused by transformed demographic realities, value change, and new electoral demands. Mainstream political parties—including the center right—have been reluctant but ultimately rational strategic agents reacting to these transformations in the electoral market. Yet, the scope and character of cosmopolitanization also depends on external and internal supply side conditions that enable parties to make programmatic changes, depolarize key issues of the immigration and citizenship policy regime, and recruit ethnic minorities for political representation. In European comparative perspective, the German case may serve as a model for theorizing the cosmopolitanization of party politics.
This article looks critically at the widely held view that Germany has not done enough to help overcome the Eurozone crisis. According to this line of argument, Germany has refused to comprehensively bail out crisis countries, offer mutual support in order to counter speculative attacks or endorse demand-side growth policies. This is allegedly because of a more narrowly defined national self-interest, increased EU-skepticism, and hegemonic ambitions. This article takes the perspective that such criticisms are primarily rooted in a Keynesian reading of the Eurozone troubles, whereas German policies are informed by another rationale: the ideas of so-called ordoliberalism. Generally, this traditional German school emphasizes the importance of principles, rule-based behavior, and long-term goals—and it believes in the (microeconomic) functioning of markets. Consequently, ordoliberals perceive the crisis as resulting from unsustainable debt levels and a lack of competitiveness in southern Europe, concomitant with a failure of Eurozone institutions. Based on this diagnosis, policy proposals are primarily targeted at debt reduction, as well as structural and EU institutional reforms. While Germany's crisis policy thus appears rational from an ordoliberal perspective, it is considered to be at variance with, and inadequate from the viewpoint of a Keynesian approach.
There seems to be a wide consensus in the academic community that the Holocaust is gradually losing significance in the German public. This development is clearly reflected in public elite discourse on national identity, where “Holocaust-centered memory” has ceased to be hegemonic. In the literature, several interpretations and reasons have been presented to explain this development. This paper contributes to the debate by arguing that the declining presence of Holocaust-centered arguments in intellectual elite discourse on national identity is due to a new consensual idea of German nationhood. Based on an event-oriented discourse analysis of more than 800 articles in opinion-leading newspapers, journals and magazines covering a period of more than twenty years, I argue that in national identity discourse, the Holocaust has never been—as is usually assumed—a blockade to displays of national identity in general, but only to a specific interpretation of the German nation as a Volk and as an exclusionist culture nation. By contrast, the idea of nationhood that dominates in the German public sphere today, the civic nation model, has never invoked Holocaust-centered counter-arguments—not even in the Historikerstreit in the 1980s. Thus, over the past three decades, the way national identity discourse has operated might have changed less than had often been assumed. The central argument of this paper is that the Holocaust has become a “latent”—but not a less consequential—argumentative resource.
Germany’s Leadership Demand and Followership Inclusion, 2008-2018
Valerio A. Bruno and Giacomo Finzi
The decade following the great economic and financial crisis of 2008 saw the European Union demanding regional leadership. The EU has also suffered a number of other existential crises, such as the ongoing refugee crisis, the Ukraine-Russia military confrontation, the revival of nationalism and radical right-wing populism, alongside the “trade war” between the United States and the EU. The article develops a novel theoretical framework structuring leadership as a peculiar typology of power, characterized by the capacity of both including “followership” countries’ interests and providing crisis management. Our central argument is that Germany responded strategically to leadership demand in Europe through a positive power role, exhibiting the inclusion of followership and multilateral leadership rather than hegemonic, together with crisis management skills based on solid influence over regional outcomes. Conclusions are drawn from five key case studies drawn from different policy areas.