The U.S. Response to German Reunification

4 April 2015
A look at liberal internationalist elements in the U.S. response to German reunification.

This paper illustrates the American tendency to insinuate itself and its ideals in the foreign policy it adopted towards the newly reunited German state. The author explores the relationship between International Relations theory and actual policy, critiquing the American approach in light of the Liberal Internationalist, Political Realist, Cognitive Psychological and Domestic Determinant theories.
“Conflict, competition and cooperation mark the history between Germany and the United States. Over the past century, these two storied nations have endured eras of intense hostility, painful rebuilding and peaceful economic collaboration. Twice during the twentieth century these two nations opposed one another in world wars and following successive German defeats the United States sought a voice in how the European continent would be rebuilt. The most significant post-war development in this relationship came on November 9, 1989. That day the Berlin Wall, a notorious symbol of Cold War tension, toppled to the ground. This occurrence served to mark the transition between Allied occupation and German autonomy. Many believed it to be the culmination of decades of hard work and tenacity by diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic. Others claimed it was the result of regional grassroots social reform. To most Americans the wall’s collapse seemed to personify the triumph of Western democracy over Soviet communism once and for all. In this sense, many western prognosticators heralded German reunification as the first step in realizing Emmanuel Kant’s vision of “perpetual peace.”
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