Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

All days
Go back

Wednesday 12 April 2023 11.00 - 13.00
I-2 THE01 Historical Peace Research as Social Science History: Theories and Categories, Peace Movements and International Diplomacy
B33
Network: Theory Chair: Anne Heyer
Organizers: - Discussants: -
Moderators: -
Norbert Fabian : „Steps to Peace“ – Social Democrats and Christians in the Peace Movement of the Early 1980s. Arguments against the International Arms Race and Discussions on Gradualism
This paper and presentation begin with an analysis of the text of the ‘Steps to Peace’ platform of Christians and Social Democrats from 1982/83 as a historical source. Retrospective and socio-historical discussions on platform proposals and on the causes that ended the Cold War are intended. Central considerations and aims ... (Show more)
This paper and presentation begin with an analysis of the text of the ‘Steps to Peace’ platform of Christians and Social Democrats from 1982/83 as a historical source. Retrospective and socio-historical discussions on platform proposals and on the causes that ended the Cold War are intended. Central considerations and aims of the platform were also supported by Egon Bahr, together with the former chancellor Willy Brandt the leading German détente politicians. The complete platform was published as documentation in the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau.
This platform was a contribution to German and international discussions on nuclear rearmament in the early 1980s and it influenced these discussions. The intention of the German chancellor Helmut Schmidt and his London speech of 1977 may have been originally and primarily to stimulate negotiation on disarmament of the soviet SS 20, but also on further nuclear arms control and on general disarmament steps in East and West. But the new Conservative British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, the new U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and their advisors, from 1979/81 onwards focused primarily on a nuclear rearmament of NATO in Europe through Pershing II and new cruise missiles.
‘Steps to Peace’ combined Christian and social democratic ethical values and arguments for peace with results of international peace research. It referred to documents of the EKD and Pax-Christi, to the American peace movement with Senator Edward Kennedy and to the Christian peace movement in the GDR with their biblical slogan ‘Swords to Plowshares’. The issue was to stop the deployment of the Pershing II and the cruise missiles in Europe, but also to disarm the SS 20. The main political arguments of the platform were that the prevailing system of deterrence was instable. The very short warning times of the Pershing II in Europe, together with a possible error in the Soviet computer warning systems, could lead to a devastating nuclear strike and war by accident. Moreover, the system and ideology of deterrence created and stabilized enemy images, promoted the arms race between East and West, jeopardized the policy of détente and made steps toward international disarmament more difficult. The platform proposed initial, first steps by one side towards nuclear and conventional disarmament to encourage the other side to take similar steps, thus initiating and setting in motion a disarmament spiral and dynamics instead of an arms race. Another suggested step was the declaration and installation of regional nuclear-weapons-free zones. In this and other points the platform was inspired by the 1982 ‘Olof Palme Report’ of the ‘Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues’. A new formula of security policy was brought into discussion: “security = détente + disarmament steps + defensive defense + reduction of international causes of conflict”.
With the support of Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr, members who had demonstrated together with German trade unionists and Christians against nuclear rearmament prevailed in the SPD. With a more than overwhelming majority the 1983 party conference of the SPD, now the opposition party, voted against the deployment of Pershing II and cruise missiles in Germany and Europe. Egon Bahr pleaded in the discussions for a system of “common security”, because a nuclear war would totally destroy Germany and large parts of Europe and unite East and West in doom. German Historian Georg Schild and authors in the U.S. and U.K. argue that 1983, the year of the beginning of deployment of Pershing II in Western Europe, was the “most dangerous year of the cold war” and the world was “at the brink” because among others of a malfunction of the Soviet early warning system. Further sociohistorical research and also counterfactual considerations on this are indispensable.
A central historical controversy remains which factors and who caused and brought about the end of the Cold War: The economic weakness of the East, the military strength of the West and an intensified arms race, or peace movements in the West and also in the East? A possible and alternative thesis might be that there was some interaction between the influence of peace movements in the West, exerting pressure to negotiate disarmament, and the decision of Michel Gorbachev to gain a truce in the arms race by peace diplomacy and to use that pause for a restructuring of the Soviet Union (cf. Gustav Schmidt, ed., Ost-West-Beziehungen. Konfrontation und Détente 1945-1989, vol. 3, Bochum 1995). In the negotiations on nuclear arms control and international disarmament, Gorbachev employed key elements of gradualism as a successful strategy beginning in 1986. Originally, this strategy and theory was already developed in the 1960s by the social psychologist Charles Osgood and the sociologist Amitai Etzioni in the USA and then also discussed by the peace researcher Dieter Senghaas in Western Germany. Historical peace research and social science history can and should contribute to the historical controversies about the end of the Cold War by taking up and historicizing categories and theories of political and social science peace research. And methods of social science history can promote further studies, analyses and discussions on peace movements as social movements, on their intentions, including ethical ones, and on their failures as well as successes in a global, political and social context (Show less)

Lukas Mengelkamp : Why the History of Theories and Methods Matters
The aim of this paper is to emphasize why scholars interested in “explaining historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences” should keep in mind the history of the theories and methods they want to apply. Using West German peace research as an example, it highlights what contribution a ... (Show more)
The aim of this paper is to emphasize why scholars interested in “explaining historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences” should keep in mind the history of the theories and methods they want to apply. Using West German peace research as an example, it highlights what contribution a social history of ideas can add to this approach.
Peace research in West Germany was institutionalized as a Cold War Science. However, the peace research institutes were staffed with young researchers, socialized in the 1960s and thus extremely critical of the Cold War. They applied progressive and neo-Marxist theories to explain phenomena like the nuclear arms race. The concept of the “Military-Industrial-Complex” was central, which they tried to theorize but also to prove empirically using political economy approaches.
A conservative campaign led by Franz Josef Strauß during the 1970s against this strand of peace research was successful in dissolving of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (German Association for Peace and Conflict Research) in 1983. Already before that, pressures to apply less controversial theories and methods increased in the field, after the economic crisis of the 1970s had led to shrinking budgets. The evolving “competitive science regime” — the incentives to economize and compete for additional funding from foundations — nudged peace researchers towards policy research. Finally, critical approaches to peace research have been undermined on the fundamental epistemological level as well. In the “Age of Fracture” (Daniel T. Rodgers), as “imagined collectivities shrank; notions of structure and power thinned out”, concepts like the “Military-Industrial-Complex” became much more difficult to imagine. Today, the radical beginnings of West German peace research are almost completely forgotten.
An interpretation of the history of peace research as a social history of ideas has important implications. It helps us understand why research on the disintegration of the arms control regime using approaches towards a political economy of armament dynamics is almost nonexistent nowadays. Furthermore, historians who study nuclear history are discovering nuclear armament dynamics in the US in the 1970s, which they cannot reconcile with the established frameworks of “strategic stability” and “mutual assured destruction”. At the same time, they do not notice that there were scholars in the 1970s for whom these armament dynamics were by no means a surprise. Instead of testing these older theories against the new evidence, many discard the established theories of “strategic stability” and just propose the exact opposite, “strategic superiority”. One does not need to be overly critical to see a certain degree of affirmative follow-up to current developments in nuclear arms politics.
The example of West German peace research therefore reminds us that our current memory of useful and applicable theories and methods is shaped by the historical political, economic, and social contexts of the social sciences. Especially historians should keep that in mind when they look for promising theories and methods of the social sciences.
(Show less)

Christoph Weller : A Reconstruction of the Development of German Peace and Conflict Studies from a Social Science Perspective
tba



Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer