HS/PO 300 - Security in Europe: Actors and Challenges

This course examines the security challenges Europe is facing in the 21st century and its historical backdrop in the 20th century. Many of the actors are the same, but their roles, constellations, and challenges are changing: Germany and France, (former arch foes, now united in the European Union), Great Britain (leaving the European Union), the United States, and of course Russia. The course starts with the security constellation at the end of World War I, when Europe lost its world dominance, and when the political map of the continent was redrawn. World War II left Europe even more devastated: It resulted in a divided Europe and a Cold War with its front running through Germany and Berlin. This course shows the continuous impact of these historic constellations on today’s political situation. This course aims to explain how the European integration process started as an endeavor of Western European countries, supported by the US, to contain the security threat continuously perceived to be posed by Germany. At the same time, students will understand the changing role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was founded to contain communism and the Eastern Bloc after WWII, but which started to incorporate Eastern European member states after the fall of the Berlin Wall and throughout the 1990s. Finally, we will analyze the security challenges Europe is facing in the 21st century with a particular focus on the role of Russia regarding these challenges. The course will combine the critical discussion of assigned readings, group work, excursions and a film analysis. Students will develop an understanding of the complex security constellation of and within Europe, most notably the structure of the European Union and the role of NATO, of recent security challenges such as the war in Ukraine, and of the relevance of transatlantic relations for security in Europe.

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Political Science

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