War and Peace

“The peoples of the world want peace. They want the rule of law, which is the foundation of freedom. That is what we are working toward. Germany – this I have ensured – will not take part in the Iraq War.”

Gerhard Schröder, television address to the German people, 20 March 2003


Major international challenges, including the fight against terrorism, conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, the Iraq War, and European unification, framed the foreign and security policy of Gerhard Schröder’s chancellorship. During this time, Germany was a key voice in European and transatlantic politics. It assumed more international responsibility, helping to bring peaceful resolution to conflicts abroad, yet it also contributed military forces to secure peace when necessary. Schröder was guided by the principle that Germany must make its own foreign policy decisions. Therefore, when the arguments for invading Iraq put forward by the U.S. and its allies left Schröder unconvinced, he ruled out Germany’s involvement. In other areas of international politics, Germany pushed for a stronger United Nations, championed more fair and sustainable forms of globalization, and worked to fortify and expand the European Union.