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German Language and Literature | Political Science


Scott Johnson; Wendy Sterba


Germany faces a "German Problem" because of history and ideology. Branded an aggressor nation because of its role in the two World Wars, Germany is still attempting to succeed in a competitive, anarchic world similar to that described by Hobbes' State of Nature. I illustrate this international environment through game theory's Prisoner's Dilemma. Viewed in this manner, Germany feared defection by neighboring states and its actions to protect itself helped cause the First World War. Contemporary Germany has learned from its past experiences and has a new anti-aggression stance which competes with an old Faustian German ethos. I shall argue in this work that while some of Germany's tactics may have changed this century, its fear of defection and its overall strategy to overcome this fear have not. Germany must continue to pursue power for its own self-interest and the European Union is a return to Mitteleuropa. The more things change, the more they stay the same.