chapter  1
8 Pages

Explaining support for multilateralism

Post-World War II (West) German foreign policy was distinctive in two ways. First, Germany showed great reluctance to use force abroad. In the 1990s this antimilitarist posture partially eroded, but only partially, as German military personnel participated in a variety of missions outside of the traditional NATO area. Furthermore, even though German pilots flew missions in the bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, German forces took part in a multilateral effort. This “reflexive support for an exaggerated multilateralism” is the second, and arguably most important, distinctive characteristic of German foreign policy and the focus of this book.1 More specifically, this book will analyze German policy toward Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic and Poland in a set of case studies involving the history of diplomatic negotiations between Germany and its two eastern neighbors from the 1960s until the 1990s, disputes over the compensation of Czech and Polish victims of Nazi crimes, the rights of ethnic Germans in Poland and the Czech Republic, and the German position in the EU enlargement negotiations.