1st Edition

Discussing Pax Germanica The Rise and Limits of German Hegemony in European Integration

Edited By Emmanuel Comte, Fernando Guirao Copyright 2025
    280 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Discussing Pax Germanica: The Rise and Limits of German Hegemony in European Integration examines and reconsiders Germany’s paramount role in shaping European integration from the aftermath of World War II to the present.

    This volume meticulously explores the ascendancy of Germany to a dominant position in European politics and economics. It critically engages with the concept of hegemony, delineating Germany’s influence on the development of the European Union and its resemblance to historical precedents in German history like the Holy Roman Empire. Methodologically, the book integrates archival research with contemporary literature to craft a narrative that is both historically grounded and relevant to current European affairs. The work stands out for its exploration of Germany’s strategic use of economic power and political diplomacy to shape the European Union according to its interests while facing inherent limitations and challenges, such as the eurozone crisis, migration policies, energy dependency, and foreign policy towards Russia.

    Targeting a diverse audience of both scholars and non-specialists, this book is particularly relevant for those interested in European politics, German history, and international relations. 


    Emmanuel Comte and Fernando Guirao

    Part 1: Pax Germanica through the ages

    1. The European Union of the German nation

    Emmanuel Comte and Brendan Simms

    2. The Habsburg peace and its lessons for today’s Europe

    Caroline de Gruyter

    3. Economics and power in German national identity

    Harold James

    Part 2: The rise of German hegemony in European integration

    4. The sources and effects of German hegemony on European integration

    Emmanuel Comte

    5. Germany and France – The elusiveness of a joint hegemony

    Wolf Lepenies

    6. How Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl made Europe

    Kristina Spohr

    Testimony: German pre-eminence in Europe

    Herman Van Rompuy

    Part 3: The constraints and limitations of German hegemony

    7. Spectres of German dominance: Anxieties aroused and averted since 1950

    Charles S. Maier

    8. Solving the German question through European integration

    Wilfried Loth

    9. European integration history revisited around German leadership in the European Monetary System

    Fernando Guirao

    Part 4: The difficulties of German hegemony in a new century

    10. The failure of German hegemony in European energy policy

    Stephen Gross

    11. German hegemony in the European Union? Evaluating the ‘crisis years’ from 2010

    Simon Bulmer and William Paterson

    12. Hegemony and Germany – An odd couple

    Joachim Schild


    Emmanuel Comte and Fernando Guirao


    Emmanuel Comte is a senior research fellow of the European Programme at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy in Athens (ELIAMEP) and a professorial lecturer at the Vienna School of International Studies. He is the author of The History of the European Migration Regime (2018).

    Fernando Guirao is Jean Monnet History Professor at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and deputy director of the Barcelona Center for European Studies (BACES). His most recent book, The European Rescue of the Franco Regime, 1950-1975 (2021) has merited the 2021 Joan Sardà prize.

    "Finally a book that answers Europe's most vexing question: how to fit Germany onto the map without endangering the continent's peace and prosperity. The authors, a superb mix of specialists across fields, treat politics as inseparable from economics and culture. What the wartime alliance ultimately enabled was not the destruction of German hegemony but its transformation: now enacted not by German force, but through European consensus."

    Professor John ConnellyUniversity of California, Berkeley, USA

    “In … Discussing Pax Germanica: The Rise and Limits of German Hegemony in European Integration, Herman Van Rompuy ... writes matter-of-factly, ‘In the years of my mandate, there was only one time when the position of the European Council did not correspond to the position of Germany…’ So which way Germany goes matters more to Europe than the future course of any other European country.”

    Timothy Garton Ashauthor of "Big Germany, What Now?" in The New York Review of Books, May 23, 2024