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Western Societies and New Wars after 1990

Foto: Thomas Roese

Application Deadline: May 11th, 2018

Dr. Neitzel

Prof. Dr. Sönke Neitzel, Lehrstuhl für Militärgeschichte / Kulturgeschichte der Gewalt

"This course will enable students to understand how western governments and societies confronted challenges of the ‘new wars’ and how this influences today’s foreign and security policy."

The end of the Cold War was neither the end of history nor the end of war. Since then, the character of war confronting Western societies has changed dramatically. Where once the West concentrated on a war of attrition against the Warsaw Pact, it now faced small wars and expeditionary operations abroad. In most Western countries, neither the armed forces nor the public was prepared for, or willing to wage, such wars.

The reactions to post-1990 military challenges differed significantly between countries. The armed forces of the United States had been deployed in ´out-of-area´ operations and in counter insurgency missions during the Cold War. The soldiers of other nations had not fought since 1945. In 1994 the High Court of Germany gave permission for the Bundeswehr to deploy in world-wide operations under NATO or UN command.  Since then, Germany has deployed its troops in out-of-area missions. However, the German public has not formed a clear view on war in general or the use of military power in particular circumstances.

The US and Germany are two examples of the very different ways in which Western states have dealt with the so-called New Wars. Other countries such as Britain, France, Spain or Italy had their own specific definitions of their duties in the post-Cold-War world and how they should use military power.

This course will explore the different attitudes, perceptions and discourses of Western countries on war since 1990. The course will briefly review the history of the conflicts in Iraq, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya. It will then concentrate on the analysis of the relationship between politics, society and the armed forces. The course will analyse different national military and political traditions. It will examine remembrance and public discourse in the media. Primary sources will include newspapers, books, TV-documentaries, historical monuments and comics. These sources will unearth if and how the discourse about war and the military has changed since 1990 on a transnational level. We will explore the extent to which value shifts in contemporary society have changed the approach to modern wars.

Dr. Neitzel

Prof. Dr. Sönke Neitzel, Lehrstuhl für Militärgeschichte / Kulturgeschichte der Gewalt

"This course will enable students to understand how western governments and societies confronted challenges of the ‘new wars’ and how this influences today’s foreign and security policy."

Timeframe: 30 July -3 August 2018

Fees: 180.00 Euros

Application Western Societies and New Wars after 1990

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