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West Germany’s relations to Israel in the Conservative Era 1949-1969: re-appraising the reparations-, arms-, and diplomatic relationship

Bartos, H.; (2012) West Germany’s relations to Israel in the Conservative Era 1949-1969: re-appraising the reparations-, arms-, and diplomatic relationship. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

To date, the general hypothesis of understanding the Federal Republic’s relations to Israel has been to emphasise German policy towards Israel as having been guided by what is commonly referred as a ‘moral obligation’, thereby the Federal Republic has framed its policy towards Israel primarily in recognition of the mass murder committed by Nazi Germany against the Jews. Numerous writings on German-Israeli relations have readily ascribed a ‘moral’ dimension on almost all facets of German policy towards Israel, including reparations payments, the establishment of diplomatic relations and arms transfer, thereby having made this the commonplace historiographic notion to understand this relationship thus far. Analysing Germany’s relations to Israel from their inception to the establishment of diplomatic relations and thereafter, this study aims, through use of primary documents and by close focus on German government actions throughout this period, to step back from the ‘morality’ narrative and to illustrate the wider motives and reasons behind German foreign policy decisions, which are to reveal ‘morality’ to have been a concern on the sidelines, whereas the major thrust of German foreign policy decisions towards Israel suggests Germany’s relations with Israel to have followed the greater political, economic and strategic deliberations prevalent at the time. In doing so, this study seeks to reappraise the notion of interpreting German- Israeli relations as mainly a product of a nation ‘having come to terms with its past’ and instead to advocate a view acknowledging Germany’s relations to Israel as, at crucial moments in time, to have followed and embraced factors, arguments and decisions that were far more fluid than past historiography on the subject had us suggest. Thus, this study hopes to make a useful contribution to the wider field of studies dealing with German-Israeli/Jewish relations and more generally to the area of contemporary German history.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:West Germany’s relations to Israel in the Conservative Era 1949-1969: re-appraising the reparations-, arms-, and diplomatic relationship
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Hebrew and Jewish Studies

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