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Title: Taking up arms in the fight for human rights : the development of German strategic culture since the end of the Cold War
Author: Mohn, Augustinus
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 0058
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2018
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The thesis analyses the development of German strategic culture since the end of the Cold War. Since the end of the Cold War, Germany has participated in several international military interventions, for example in Kosovo and Afghanistan. This marked a departure from Germany's strategic behaviour during the Cold War, when the country pursued a foreign policy of military restraint. The dominant view in Germany at the time was that the gross human rights violations committed by the Nazi regime during the Second World War stipulated the need for the country to be a responsible international player. Responsibility was interpreted as a moral imperative to refrain from any military action abroad, and it formed an essential part of German strategic culture. The change in German strategic behaviour after the end of the Cold War thus poses the question as to why Germany changed its behaviour, and how this change has been facilitated in German strategic culture. To understand the post-Cold War change in Germany's strategic behaviour, it is necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms of change. The thesis sheds lights on these mechanisms by utilising a strategic culture approach. It argues that German executive decision-makers have incrementally modified German strategic culture in response to a changing strategic environment by utilising a human rights narrative. Instead of interpreting responsibility as an imperative for military restraint, the notion of responsibility was reframed as an imperative for protecting human rights abroad. Thus, the reconfiguration of German strategic culture rendered military intervention a justifiable instrument of German foreign policy. German Federal President Joachim Gauck epitomised this reconfiguration when, in 2014, he demanded that in the 'fight for human rights or the survival of innocent human beings, it is sometimes necessary to take up arms'.
Supervisor: Bódig, Mátyás ; Wyllie, James H. Sponsor: Centre for Citizenship ; Civil Society and Rule of Law ; CB Davidson Bequest Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology, Military ; National security ; Germany