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Professionals behind the scenes. Bureaucratic Regimes in the Process of German Unification

Research Group on German Affairs

13.09.2004 · C·A·P

Was the international consensus leading to the German unification exclusively the success of some heads of state and foreign ministers? One could easily have this impression from looking at the academic literature and the memoirs of the heads of government in charge in 1989/90. In contrast, this study promoted by the "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" and implemented at the Munich Center for Applied Policy Research (C·A·P) shows that the civil servants of the involved countries actively contributed to negotiating the external aspects of German unification. This effective border-crossing work was, moreover, no extraordinary burden but every-day routine to the "Professionals behind the scenes".

The functions and effects of international bureaucratic networks have been designated as "bureaucratic regimes" following the theories of bureaucratic interaction and regime analysis. One result of this research project was that, consequently, international regimes also always comprise a bureaucratic regime, which only then gives the cooperation network its actual regime-specific effects. Therefore, institutionalized bureaucratic interactions between states are an important prerequisite for co-operation in international relations. They influence political outputs and international processes of problem-solving.

In order to investigate the role of international bureaucratic actions in the "German Unification Process" case study it is essential to know the points of view of the persons involved. For this reason the research team conducted interviews with all politicians and civil servants directly involved in the international negotiations of German Unification. These were officials from seven countries - the Federal Republic of Germany, the former German Democratic Republic, the United States, the former Soviet Union, Great Britain, France and Poland.


Lars C. Colschen, Daniel von Hoyer, Michael Weigl:
Profis hinter den Kulissen
Bürokratische Regime im internationalen Prozess zur deutschen Einheit, Schriftenreihe der Forschungsgruppe Deutschland: Band 13, München 2002.

Werner Weidenfeld mit Peter M. Wagner und Elke Bruck, Außenpolitik für die deutsche Einheit: Die Entscheidungsjahre 1989/90, Stuttgart 1998.

Peter M. Wagner, Außenpolitik in der "Koalitionsdemokratie". Entscheidungsprozesse in Deutschland, in: Internationale Politik Nr. 4/1998, S. 31-36.

Elke Bruck / Peter M. Wagner (Hrsg.), Wege zum „2+4“-Vertrag. Die äußeren Aspekte der deutschen Einheit, Schriftenreihe der Forschungsgruppe Deutschland: Band 6, München 1996.

Thomas Paulsen / Lars C. Colschen / Peter M. Wagner: Bürokratische Regime in den internationalen Beziehungen, in: Zeitschrift für Politik, 1/2000, S. 54-72

Related Information

Profis hinter den Kulissen: Bürokratische Regime im internationalen Prozess zur deutschen Einheit
Forschungsgruppe Deutschland: Schriftenreihe, Band 13
01.10.2002 · Forschungsgruppe Deutschland

Außenpolitik für die deutsche Einheit: Die Entscheidungsjahre 1989/90
Geschichte der deutschen Einheit, Band 4
05.12.1998 · Forschungsgruppe Deutschland

Wege zum "2+4"-Vertrag. Die äußeren Aspekte der Einheit.
Forschungsgruppe Deutschland: Schriftenreihe, Band 6
01.10.1996 · Forschungsgruppe Deutschland