Courtesy Reuters

Germany's Dual Aim: Unity and Integration

WHEN the Government and Parliament of the German Federal Republic commenced their labors in September 1949 they set as their goal the achievement of freedom, welfare and security for all of Germany. In normal times this very general objective would not have seemed anything out of the ordinary; but in view of Germany's special position after the collapse of 1945 it acquired a very special and concrete meaning, and it became the basic principle governing all the measures of the Federal Government, domestic and foreign.

If such an objective were to be realized, the causes of Germany's downfall had to be correctly understood. It is clear that the attempts to carry out an exclusively nationalistic policy, both before 1914 as well as before 1939, ended in crushing defeat. In both cases Germany chose to manœuvre herself into isolation, after which spreading tensions led to war. Each time Germany paid for this policy with a complete collapse, involving heavy losses, human and material. Indeed, under the totalitarian régime of the National Socialists the catastrophe reached such proportions that the German people seemed on the brink of total destruction. The National Socialist attempt to overbalance the surrounding political and economic forces required greater resources than Germany possessed, and ended in terrible failure.

History's lesson was clear; and we were ready to take it to heart. The demand that Germany join in a community of nations whose ideals she shared and whose interests she approximated was accepted by the general public in Germany soon after it was explained by a few farseeing statesmen. Later the decision found concrete expression in Article 24 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic, which envisages a transfer of sovereign rights to international or supranational bodies, as follows:

(1)~ The Federation may, by legislation, transfer sovereign powers to international institutions.

(2)~ In order to preserve peace, the Federation may join a system of mutual collective security; in doing so it will consent to those limitations of its sovereign powers which will bring about

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