Is Germany Approaching Superpower Status?

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Simon Winder of the United Kingdom’s The Telegraph argues that the recent events in the euro zone and the threat of imminent collapse without German intervention has placed the country in the position as an emergent, yet reluctant, superpower. Does Germany’s preeminence in the European Union qualify it for such lofty status? Simon Winder argues that in many ways Germany is Europe’s last great hope. German exceptionality in Europe must stem from,


“the tradition of ‘craft.’ When the region was a mass of hundreds of mini-states under the Holy Roman Empire, each tended to specialize. …But, unlike Britain, there was an absolute lack of a London, or even a Manchester or a Glasgow. Instead, hundreds of places competed with each other, many with their own royal courts encouraging the sort of precision-work musical instruments or high-quality weapons that in turn naturally led to upgrades right up to the present. Each place defended its own, and ludicrous levels of red tape paralyzed movement across Germany. Trade on the Rhine was made almost profitless by tolls exacted every few miles by another daft microstate with a little piece of riverbank.”


Without ever really coming around to explaining what exactly the rest of Europe can take from Germany, Simon Winder continues his culturally based argument for German economic prowess, emphasizing their history of disunity then emergence as a troubled world power as the story of the 20th century. In many ways, the German story from the era of the Holy Roman Empire is continuing in its position within the euro zone. As to whether Germany, or the European Union insofar as Germany represents that organization, is an emergent superpower remains to be determined by the amount of control Germany has over the course of developments within the euro zone currency bloc of countries.


[The Telegraph]