Jour Fixe: Felix Lange: Between Foreign Policy Advice and Systematization

Jour Fixe

  • Date: Jul 11, 2016
  • Time: 12:00 - 13:00
  • Speaker: Felix Lange
  • Topic: Between Foreign Policy Advice and Systematization – Hermann Mosler and Western German International Legal Scholarship after 1945
  • Location: MPIeR
  • Room: Z 01
Jour Fixe: Felix Lange: Between Foreign Policy Advice and Systematization

Between Foreign Policy Advice and Systematization
 – Hermann Mosler and Western German International Legal Scholarship after 1945

Abstract

While German international legal scholarship has today opened up for theoretical and social sciences approaches, until recently it has been celebrated and criticized for its practice-oriented, doctrinal take on international law. After 1945, German international lawyers focused on the legal interpretation of the Basic Law, the legal evaluation of the new European and international institution and the legal commentary of international court decisions. The philosophically informed debate of the 1920s and the sociological-oriented discussions of the 1930s came to an end.

Hermann Mosler, the “spiritual father of today’s German international law scholarship” (Martti Koskenniemi), followed the practice-oriented approach for three reasons. First, the head of the legal department of the Auswärtiges Amt (1951 – 1953) regarded formal international law as a promising vehicle to support Konrad Adenauer’s policy of Westintegration. Mosler integrated the legal expertise, which he provided to the government on the Schuman-Plan and the General Treaty, into his research program. Secondly, he took the view that the practice-oriented approach was not as discredited as the more theoretical approach of völkisch international law. According to him, many scholars had theoretically redefined public law in the light of the National Socialist ideology, while at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law one had tried to uphold the existing international law based on a strictly legal argumentation. Thirdly, the director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (1954 – 1976) tried to contribute to the rule of law at the international level by systematizing the existing international legal rules. In his Hague lecture in 1974, he interpreted the international legal practice as reflecting an “International Legal Community”, which was based on constitutional elements.

Picture: Paris, 23. Oktober 1954, NATO-Konferenz, Walter Hallstein, Bundeskanzler Dr. Konrad Adenauer und Botschafter Herbert Blankenhorn am Konferenztisch sitzend (v.l.n.r.). Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-27107-0001 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

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