As this is being written, Bonn’s parliament is voting for German rearmament. This caps the policy of “restoration” pursued during recent years by the U.S. in Western Europe; at the same time it introduces additional elements of rigidity not merely into German society but into the complex of European relationships as well. The new army, by its very existence, will sharpen the parochial nationalisms of Western Europe, and thus accentuate its inner rivalries. It will exert strong pressures on domestic policies for it constitutes not so much a potential danger as a factor of immense power, hence a competitive challenge impossible to evade. This must clearly limit whatever elements of fluidity, whatever “elbow room” still remains in West European society and politics.
Though on the face of it the ratification of the Paris agreements by Bonn fulfills the conditions by which Germany is to regain full sovereignty, in actuality, Germany will be less, not more free. For its new army will not be the freely disposable instrument of Bonn used on behalf of an independent foreign policy; rather, it will be an adjunct to the U.S. military apparatus. It will be useful in policing Central and perhaps Western Europe and in denying to the Russians the great industrial resources of the area; useful also in supplementing the manpower of NATO—but it is not to be regarded as more than a junior partner in America’s military enterprise....
For just $19.95 a year, get access to new issues and decades' worth of archives on our site.
Print + Online
For $29.95 a year, get new issues delivered to your door and access to our full online archives.