Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 April 2022
Chapter 13 reappraises the difficult attempts made by those who sought to break with Wilhelminian power politics and develop both a western-orientated peace agenda and a new, progressive foreign policy on behalf of the defeated German state and, eventually, the fledgling Weimar Republic. It argues that while the core aim of the new protagonists, the social democratic leaders Friedrich Ebert and Philipp Scheidemann and the new republic’s first foreign minister Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, was to negotiate a lenient Wilsonian “peace of justice” they also came to develop forward-looking Atlanticist policies designed to integrate a republican Germany into a reconfigured Atlantic order – and the League of Nations. It elucidates the prevalent maxims and assumptions of the new German peace agenda that was elaborated after the armistice. And it examines how far the new German key actors had drawn more far-reaching lessons from the war and Germany’s catastrophic yet only partially acknowledged defeat – and how far the new priorities and conceptions they advanced went beyond tactical considerations and could actually contribute to the creation of a peace-enforcing Atlantic order after the Great War.