On February 27, 2022, the German government announced a sea change in its security and foreign policy in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Chancellor Olaf Scholz referred to as a Zeitenwende. Although the government’s official translation for that term is “watershed,” the original German is a bit more nuanced, signifying a turn of the times and a historical geopolitical shift.

But what does the new era proclaimed by the German government mean in practice, especially when the war that spurred it is ongoing and could lead to multiple outcomes? While the measures announced so far entail considerable changes to Germany’s defense, finance, and energy policies, it is not yet clear which strategic goals they should achieve or how they can be put into operation.

This situation provides DGAP with a unique opportunity to actively shape Germany’s foreign policy. The aim is to stimulate a necessary discussion of the basic features of a new Euro-Atlantic security order beyond day-to-day political developments: Germany and Europe must jointly develop a vision of a new global order.

This dossier provides an overview of DGAP’s expertise and activities that are helping German policy-makers set a course to successfully shape its strategic rethink. Our goal is also to provide impetus for a more unified European security order as the success of Germany’s Zeitenwende will have to be measured by how self-determinedly Europe can shape its security in the coming years.

In our new podcast BerlinsideOut, Ben Tallis and Aaron Gush Burnett explore how the German "Zeitenwende" is developing and is perceived at home and abroad. Subscribe now here dgap.org/en/BerlinsideOut

Recent publications

Frankreichs Armee in der Zeitenwende

Während die Bundeswehr seit der russischen Invasion der Ukraine zu ihrer ursprünglichen Identität zurückfindet, stellt die Zeitenwende die deutsche Gesellschaft vor große Herausforderungen. In Frankreich ist es umgekehrt: Politik und Gesellschaft sind besser auf die neue Zeit vorbereitet als in Deutschland, doch den Streitkräften steht ein schwieriger Paradigmenwechsel bevor.

Jacob Ross
Externe Publikationen

Germany Needs a Strategy—Grand and Democratic

German leaders have long been reluctant to discuss, let alone set, grand strategy. Now, with the world in flux and the old ways no longer working, Berlin needs to step up and clearly lay out what it wants—and how it plans to get it.

Dr. Roderick Parkes
Florence Schimmel
Dr. Benjamin Tallis
Creation date


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Past events

19:00 - 21:30 | 20 Mar 2024

19. Außenpolitischer Salon

Internationale Ordnung im Wandel – Sicherheitspolitische Anforderungen an ein geeintes Europa
DGAP Regionalforum Hansestädte

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