Germany’s relationship with the European integration process has been of central importance to European politics over the last sixty years. The relationship itself has been transformed over this period. In the aftermath of the Second World War Germany was a defeated state. Moreover, it was a divided state, reflected in the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, or West Germany) and of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) in 1949. The FRG was occupied as well, so overall it had pre-sovereign status, hedged in by discriminatory provisions (Paterson 2005: 261–2). The international organisation of European politics at this time was centred on two challenges: resolving the ‘German problem’, which had been a major source of conflict on the European continent; and addressing the new challenges posed by the Cold War division of Europe into two blocs. The division of Germany was one of the clearest illustrations of the Cold War, and it became even more vivid with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. European integration, together with transatlantic defence cooperation, was therefore an attempt to bring solutions to problems at which the epicentre was Germany. Germany in the early 1950s was largely a passive player in bringing about these solutions, overshadowed by, and subject to, the victor powers, lacking the full trappings of a sovereign state. However, even as a passive player Germany’s potential and geographic location allowed it to influence the response to these challenges.
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- Introduction: Analysing Germany and the EU
William E. Paterson
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