This work examines the role of private elites in addition to public actors in West German-American relations in the post-World War II era and thus joins the ranks of the “new diplomatic history” field. It studies the Atlantik Brücke and the American Council on Germany (ACG) from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s – a history that has hitherto been neglected. The focus on private elites and their contributions to fledgling public-private networks within each country and across the Atlantic helps to shed light on the ways hostilities between West Germany and the US were addressed. Based on original archival research and applying tools of Social Network Analysis (SNA), this thesis starts from the assumption that international relations are conducted by elites. These elites are not only composed of democratically legitimized politicians and diplomats. Private actors representing business, industry, media, and academia are also involved, albeit hidden from public scrutiny. Private actors are enabled to do so because they are integral parts of dense state-private networks. The state-private network concept is innovatively transferred to the transnational level. The network term emphasises the fact that those connections are neither limited in quantitative terms nor are they confined to national boundaries. The analysis illuminates three sustainable achievements of the ACG and Atlantik-Brücke. Firstly, they contributed to forging a bipartisan foreign policy consensus at whose core has been a strong West-German-American relationship. Key in achieving this was the redirection of West German Social Democracy away from anti-militarism, neutralism, and socialism. Secondly, in fulfilling an elite coordination function, the organisations helped to secure the transatlantic partnership consensus by conveying it into business, trade and 2 industry circles in the US as well as in West Germany. Thirdly, by utilizing their manifold links to media and academia they assisted in manifesting this consensus in public discourse.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - Aug 2016|