chapter  1
22 Pages

Foreign Troops in a Changing Europe and Germany: A Structural View

WithHelga Haftendorn

Foreign troops in Central Europe served multiple political functions. They were at one and the same time guardians of the German Question, guarantors of the security of divided Germany, and, in their respective alliances, counterweights to the opposing military bloc. The process of German unification, set in motion with the "peaceful revolution" in East Germany and the collapse of the Wall in November 1989, was subsequently legitimized by the Volkskammer elections of 18 March 1990. The agreements that were designed to make Germany's unification acceptable to its neighbors have become a cornerstone of an emerging new European security system. The French have indicated that they will withdraw all their forces from Germany, except their component of the German-French brigade, and the Dutch might also return their troops to the Netherlands. A special responsibility will rest with the new Germany because of its historical legacies and its economic potential.