The ‘German Problem’ Then and Now: from the Threat of <
peaceful behavior towards other peoples and the belief that every nationcan pursue its interest and achieve its security only within internationalcommunities united by similar values and objectives and permanentlyinteracting and maintaining friendly relationships with other similarcommunities.Using a socio-constructivist methodology, I intend to prove thatpostwar Germany became a respected member of international securityand economical-political organizations such as NATO or the EC (EU) onlyafter it redefined its identity by embedding it the larger European one andrenouncing the
, namely the idea that Germany must becomemodern using its own, unique path, different from the common directionused by the rest of the European countries. This process started andadvanced trough permanent interactions with other states and cultures, because every state, constructivists argue, extracts its identity from therelations it has with the international environment. Furthermore, political,social and cultural identities are not fixed; they redefine themselves byinteracting with the international environment which, on its turn, changesfor the same reason.
Following this argument, Bismarck’s, Wilhelm II’ andeven Hitler’s Germany were influenced in a great extent by the
international environment, but a consistent change in the way Germansperceive themselves and the others occurred only after the Second World
War. This represented the main premise of the Federal’s Republic and thanof reunited Germany’s firm adhesion to European institutions, norm and
values and to a broaden sense community in general.
Challenging the European order: the Prussian Germany
When writing about
the ‘German Problem’, John Ieuan
underlinesthree major factors that should be taken into account in the attempt tounderstand it. The first consists in the cou
ntry’s ‘geographical location in
Michael Barnett, ‘Social Constructivism’, in John Baylis; Steve Smith, Patricia Owens,
TheGlobalization of World Politics. An introduction to international relations
, New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 2008, pp. 160-173; Christian Reus-
Smit, ‘Constructivism’, in
Scott Burchill;Richard Devetak; Andrew Linklater; Matthew Paterson; Christian Reus-Smit; Jacqui True,
Theories of International Relations
, New York: Palgrave, 2001, pp. 209-230.