15 March 2019 – 10th Denk ich an Deutschland conference
Who Do We Think We Are?
German Self-Perception in a Tumultuous Europe
On March 15th, 2019, the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung are jointly organizing the tenth Denk ich an Deutschland conference. On this occasion, we will tackle the question of how the self-perception of the Federal Republic has changed due to historical developments and contemporary challenges. Among other things, we will discuss the ways in which Germany’s understanding of its international role is undergoing a process of transformation.
In 2019, Germany will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was this historical event that enabled the Federal Republic to become ‘independent’ one year later in the sense of attaining full national sovereignty, thus marking the end of a postwar era characterized by a foreign and defense policy of great restraint and close coordination with the victorious allies.
Now, one generation later, voices calling for a redefinition of Germany’s role in the world are becoming louder, both at home and abroad. The question implied by this demand – how should German interests be asserted on the international stage? – is bound up with the question of the Federal Republic’s Selbstbewusstsein, its self-consciousness and self-confidence. It was with good reason that the Oracle of Delphi exhorted those who sought her advice to “know thyself”.
Of course, true self-knowledge requires more than mere self-observation. It depends upon the input of others. For this reason, the conference guests will include not only Germans, but also international speakers who will formulate their perspectives on Germany. On the basis of this investigation, we will finally turn to the question of what Germany can and should have the confidence to undertake in the world: culturally, economically, militarily.