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2014 | 1-2 | 134-166

Article title

Od nezištné kulturní výměny k prosazování národních zájmů. Koncepční proměny zahraniční kulturní politiky SRN a česko(slovensko)-německé kulturní vztahy


Title variants

From Disinterested Cultural Exchange to the Pursuit of National Interests: Czech(oslovak)-German Cultural Relations and Changing Conceptions of the Cultural Diplomacy of the Federal Republic of Germany

Languages of publication



This article analyses and assesses changes in the basic principles and priorities of the cultural diplomacy of the Federal Republic of Germany from the post-war period to the present. It does so by comparing three central documents related to general conceptions, from 1977, 2000, and 2011, and considering them into the broader context of German political and social developments. The article seeks to explain what these changes say about the overall development of German foreign policy and German society, its perceptions of itself, and coming to terms with its complicated past. The interpretation of the individual conceptions is accompanied by a brief outline and an assessment of their consequences or the development of Czech(oslovak)-German cultural relations. The article draws on approaches taken in political science, while considering the topic from the position of an historian. It can reasonably be said to be part of the trend sometimes called ‘modern’ or ‘new’ political history. In her analysis, the author seeks to demonstrate that the principles which were promoted in West German cultural diplomacy during the 1960s and 1970s (namely, an expanded conception of culture, culture as ‘something for everyone’, and emphasis on equal mutual exchange), were to a considerable extent till part of the conception of 2000. In recent years, however, Germany has somewhat retreated from them or interprets hem differently, which is distinctly reflected in the conception of German cultural diplomacy from 2011. Mainly the emphasis on German national interests has increased, whereby the German approach has begun to resemble those of the French and the British. The article thus supports the thesis about the ‘normalization’ of German foreign policy in the twenty-first century. The historical development of international relations and also the growing influence of economic interests on the area of cultural diplomacy are reflected in, among other things, the change in regional priorities from a straightforward orientation to the West, then to attention to central and Eastern Europe in transformation, and eventually o an increased interest in economically developing non-European countries.


  • Soudobé dějiny, redakce, Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR, v.v.i., Vlašská 9, 118 40 Praha 1, Czech Republic


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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