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14 - Chancellor of the Allies? The Significance of the United States in Adenauer's Foreign Policy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2013

David E. Barclay
Affiliation:
Kalamazoo College, Michigan
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Summary

Foreign policy has played an exceptionally prominent role in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany since its founding. A central task of the young republic, in addition to forming a new government and rebuilding the economy, was to reestablish ties with other nations. The government of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer worked gradually and persistently to win back Germany's right to engage in foreign policy and its equal status in the international community of nations. On May 5, 1955, nearly ten years to the day after the total defeat of the Third Reich, the western part of Germany formally received its sovereignty. This victory was made possible for the most part by three interrelated elements of West German foreign policy: concentration on economic issues, even in the realm of foreign relations; a close association with the United States; and, as the central element of Germany's desired Western orientation, conciliation with its Western European neighbors, especially France. “Our stance is firm in the area of foreign policy,” stated Adenauer in a personal letter in August 1949. “It is oriented primarily toward establishing a close relationship with our neighbors in the Western world, particularly the United States. With all our energy, we will work toward the goal of having Germany admitted as soon as possible as a full member of the European federation, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof.”

Type
Chapter
Information
Transatlantic Images and Perceptions
Germany and America since 1776
, pp. 309 - 332
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1997

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