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Publication Date

Summer 2017

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Mary Pickering


Cold War, Development Aid, Foreign Affairs, Humanitarian Aid, Tuebingen, West Germany

Subject Areas

History; European history; Modern history


This study examines how West Germany engaged in humanitarian and development aid strategy in partnership with the Third World during the Cold War. It is structured by the global humanitarian regime concept crafted by Young-sun Hong, although, unlike the latter, it emphasizes locating examples of civilizational similarity instead of difference. The study uses previously unpublished archive materials from the University of Tuebingen to examine development aid policy at the government, institutional, and individual levels. Also presented is a case study of the Foreign Affairs Committee on the University of Tuebingen campus, 1960-1963, which brought high-profile speakers on the topic of development in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, to speak to the Tuebingen audience. The development work of the University of Tuebingen largely supports Hong’s view that forms of North-South power asymmetry were replicated based upon discourses of civilizational difference. However, there were instances at the governmental, institutional, and individual levels wherein human agency moved beyond the politicized limits of the global humanitarian regime to enact moments and fill out a discourse of civilizational similarity. This study concludes that finding “voice” is a necessary component for human agency to impact the humanitarian regime and, specifically, to allow space for egalitarian partnerships to form.