German Defence Politics: A View From Abroad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter contextualises German defence politics by drawing comparisons with the defence politics of Western Europe’s other Great Powers: Britain and France. In so doing, it sheds new light on the dynamics of German defence policy and politics. The majority of scholarship on post-Cold War German defence policy and politics emphasises the impact of Germany’s anti-militaristic ‘strategic culture’ on the willingness and ability of actors within the defence and security policy-making community to sanction an expanded role for the Bundeswehr and develop the military structures, capabilities and doctrine necessary to permit full-spectrum operations. However, this chapter will argue that Germany’s laggard defence reform is, to a great extent, a result of the institutional structures of German defence politics, which create incentives amongst both the political elite and the military to manage the temporality of reform. It posits that poor civilian control over management of military input to defence planning and a federal system that incentivises the prioritisation of domestic political interests over convergence with international security imperatives, have left Germany at risk of remaining a relative consumer of security and of playing a backseat role in multinational deployments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding German Defence
Place of PublicationBaden Baden
PublisherNomos Verlagsgesellschaft
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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