Old Difficulties

So what happens if Germany’s neighbouring countries and allies once no longer support rearming the country? And how has the problem been dealt with so far?

Based on historical examples, especially from the 20th century, it is easy to see the dangers this would entail. Conceived within the pure limits of the nation-state, Germany, in order to achieve absolute security from attacks by an alliance of its neighbouring states, would need military capacities that are stronger than the forces of this alliance. Conversely, however, this strength would automatically be great enough to pose a formidable threat to each neighbouring state individually, which is why they would have to resort to a defensive alliance. This is the paradox of Germany’s middle position in Europe.

After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, it was initially the diplomatic genius of Bismarck that kept the peace on the continent through a complicated alliance policy. After his forced resignation, however, this fell apart and led to the First World War. After the war, attempts were made to ensure stability in Central Europe through the establishment of the League of Nations and in particular the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles. However, the League of Nations never achieved the importance that the UN did a few decades later, and after the economic crisis of 1929, the conditions of the victorious powers in Germany were finally discredited. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, attempts were made to create a situation in which this German paradox could not come to fruition by integrating the country into the institutions of the EU and NATO, and through the military presence and nuclear force of the USA.

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