France is Germany’s most important partner in the process of European integration. The United States was long Germany’s protector but now is the power balancing Germany’s in Europe. And the Franco-American relationship, though less prominent than the other two, has a great impact on both of them.

Taking the perspective of each country by turns, this book discusses a series of economic and diplomatic episodes and asks how they affected the countries’ relations with each other, with countries outside this triangle, and with international institutions such as the EU and NATO. It concentrates on the period 1965–95, examining the NATO crisis of 1966–67, the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, Ostpolitik, détente, and the end of the Cold War. The book also discusses the origins of the triangle after the Second World War and devotes an epilogue to the triangle after 9/11.

The Strategic Triangle is based on a conference held in Potsdam, Germany, and a workshop at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

The contributors to The Strategic Triangle are historians and political scientists from all three countries. Helga Haftendorn is university professor emerita of International Relations at the Free University of Berlin and former director of its Center on Transatlantic Foreign and Security Policy Studies. Georges-Henri Soutou is professor of contemporary history at the University of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). Stephen F. Szabo is professor of European studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Samuel F. Wells, Jr., is associate director and director of West European Studies of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


Introduction: Relations in a Strategic Triangle—Bonn/Berlin, Paris, and Washington

Part I: The European Community at the Crossroads
1. Building Europe: The European Community and the Bonn-Paris-Washington Relationship, 1958–1963
Desmond Dinan
2. Germany and the Discord of Its Allies: The Case of the European Political Union
Martin Koopmann

Part II: The NATO Crisis of the 1960s and the Maturation of the Strategic Triangle
3 The NATO Crisis of 1966–1967: Confronting Germany with a Conflict of Priorities
Helga Haftendorn
4. The NATO Crisis of 1966–1967: A French Point of View
Frédéric Bozo
5. The De Gaulle Challenge: The Johnson Administration and the NATO Crisis of 1966–1967
Thomas A. Schwartz

Part III: Dealing with the Collapse of Bretton Woods
6. The Search for a New Monetary System: Germany’s Balancing Act
Michael Kreile
7. France, European Monetary Cooperation, and the International Monetary System Crisis, 1968–1973
Eric Bussière
8. The United States and the Search for a New Economic and Monetary System in the 1970s
William H. Becker

Part IV: Ostpolitik and Détente
9. German Ostpolitik in a Multilateral Setting
Helga Haftendorn
10. President Pompidou, Ostpolitik, and the Strategy of Détente
Georges-Henri Soutou

Part V: Testing Détente and Relaunching Europe
11. The United States Tests Détente
Gale A. Mattox
12. From Euromissiles to Maastricht: The Policies of Reagan-Bush and Mitterrand
Samuel F. Wells Jr.
13. Germany and Relaunching Europe
Markus Jachtenfuchs

Part VI: NATO and Post–Cold War Challenges
14. Enlarging NATO: The German-American Design for a New Alliance
Stephen F. Szabo
15. NATO and the Balkan Challenge: An American Perspective
Kori Schake

Epilogue: A New Geometry?


“This will be a welcome addition, because of the way the book is framed, its comprehensiveness, and the reputation and expertise of the authors.”—James Goldgeier, George Washington University

“A fine overview… A good example of how to approach major themes in contemporary international history.”—Thomas W. Maulucci, Jr., H-France

“This collection boasts an impressive variety of well-written essays.”—William Glenn Gray, H-Diplo

“This book makes an interesting and highly readable contribution to the literature on transatlantic relations.”—Andrew Barron, Modern and Contemporary France