My dissertation sketches the development of what I call the military public sphere in order to be able to trace the development of discourses concerned with defence and security politics, broadly understood, in West-Germany. By military public sphere, I mean the intellectual, institutional, and physical spaces within which the former, current, and future military elite and interested civilians discussed topics broadly related to military issues and military thought. The focus on such spaces, and the networks which defined them and often date back to connections formed during the world wars, allows the project to bridge the chronological gap beyond the oft cited turning point of German history, the Stunde Null of 8 May 1945. After 1945, the military public sphere was re-established by networks based on old general staff connections and formalised within a number of associations which understood themselves to be forums for intellectual exchange on military and security matters. Into the early 1970s, these networks provided an explicit way for military elites to shape public opinion. However, official sponsorship of the military public sphere became more complicated after the middle of the 1950s, and as a result the organisations and structures which shaped this sphere became more diffuse and less centralised. More conservative voices, though they remained dominant, no longer had near complete control over debates, with nascent security elites contesting their intellectual and discursive hegemony, although military experience, especially on the Eastern Front, remained crucial. By the late 1970s, the military public sphere had become far more intellectually diverse, and far more public facing, in no small part due to the emergence of dissent, often by younger, more liberal networks, but also due to the establishment of a number of think tanks associated with peace and conflict studies.
A focus on these debates and networks leads me to broader questions concerning, for instance: the politics and legitimacy of thinking about war in the Federal Republic of Germany; the networks influencing the production of security policy in the FRG; the relationship between violence and political practice; the relationship between war and knowledge about war.
Beyond my thesis, I have an interest in war and remembrance, military identity (particularly with regards to national and gender identities), and the history of German/Prussian conservatism. More broadly, I am interested in the history, philosophy, and theory of war, and war/knowledge issues.
I hold an MA in War Studies from King’s College London and a BA in International Relations from the University of Sussex. My research at Oxford is funded by the AHRC and New College.
Tattenberg, Jan. 2019. 'The Fatherland Perished in the Frozen Wastes of Russia': West-Germans in Search of the European Soldier, 1940-1967. History of European Ideas. Link.
Tattenberg, Jan. 2019. At the Clausewitz Erinnerungsstätte Burg. Critical Military Studies, 5(4), pp. 378-382. Link.