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Germany Needs to Become a Great Power Again
The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, Germany, Feb. 26.
Photo by Uli Deck/picture alliance via Getty Images

Germany Needs to Become a Great Power Again

Walter Russell Mead

Thirty years after unification, history is knocking at Germany’s door. To answer the call, Germany will have to break some of its deepest taboos, and begin to think and act like a great power again.

Power politics has a bad reputation in Germany, and it is not hard to see why. Otto von Bismarck and his successors made Germany a great power, but the effort ended in the shipwreck of World War I. Adolf Hitler’s fever dreams of empire led to an even worse outcome. Divided and impoverished, Germany lost millions of citizens, saw centuries of cultural treasures annihilated by Allied bombs, and was saddled with a burden of shame and guilt that still haunts its conscience.

Postwar German leaders took another path, integrating themselves into the West. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which protected Western Europe from the Soviet Union, also reassured Europeans who feared another German bid for supremacy by creating large American bases in Germany. NATO made the European Union possible and still underwrites its security.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

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