Date of Award

Winter 2018

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Jeannie Sowers

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Carter

Third Advisor

Madhavi Devasher


Due to Germany’s militaristic past, anti-militarism and restraint are ingrained into German society and political discourse. For close to fifty years following WWII, Germany did not deploy its military in offensive missions. Why then, did Germany suddenly participate in a military intervention in Kosovo? Following Kosovo, why did Germany also participate in the military intervention in Afghanistan, but refuse to intervene in Iraq, just two years after the Afghanistan intervention began? Related to these questions are how did Germany intervene in Kosovo and Afghanistan and how did Germany oppose the Iraq war? And what were the consequences of the interventions/non-intervention? This paper argues that Germany only intervenes when an intervention is perceived as legitimate by German political elites and the German public. The idea of legitimate interventions is directly derived from Germany’s historical experience.