Carolin Hilpert

Carolin Hilpert

Phone:           0049 (0) 151 2278 9560
Date of Birth:  2 October 1984, Munich


After my Abitur in Munich, I went to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree at an American institution, Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland. With a major in International Relations, I wrote my thesis on the International Law of the Outer Space. In 2007, I received my BA with highest distinction. Thereafter, I attended a small program at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH) in Zurich. The master in Comparative and International Studies was very academically oriented. During my studies I worked for a year at the Swiss Center for Security Studies and did an internship with the German Embassy in Vienna.
After receiving my Master of Arts, I went to work for a media analysis company in Cologne. My work focused on the energy sector and included writing reports for major companies in this field. When I decided to pursue a PhD at the Universität der Bundeswehr, I moved back to Munich. I am currently working at the Bavarian State Library while at the same time writing my PhD. Moreover, I continue to write articles and analyses for the Swiss International Relations and Security Network (ISN).

For examples of my work, please see

Germany’s Afghan Dilemma, 14 July 2009

The Relationship Between Energy Infrastructure Attacks and Crude Oil Prices, 27 October 2009 (together with Jennifer Giroux)

The topic of my PhD

German Strategic Culture and the Challenge at the Hindu Kusch

The question to be addressed within this doctoral thesis is how the Bundeswehr deployment in Afghanistan affects or changes Germany’s strategic culture. Germany currently finds itself in the crossfire between two competing imperatives: One the one hand, Germany's strategic culture is shaped by a reluctance to participate in genuine combat operations. On the other hand, the Taliban impose upon the German forces their war and make it impossible for the Bundeswehr to achieve their reconstruction aims.
The concept of “strategic culture” helps understand Germany’s current dilemma in Afghanistan. It was, among else, the legacy of two devastating world wars that has made Germany an antimilitarist, civilian power. In essence, the founders of the Federal Republic deleted, even maligned the concept of war-making in such a way that several generations after Germany’s values would still be shaped by an anti-militarist stance. Even though Germany does today participate in foreign military deployments, it still does so hesitantly, more willing to assist with civil reconstruction or foreign aid than with actual military means. Germany is a unique case because its armed forces are subject to parliamentary control. In no other state, the parliament has such a power over the military.
In Afghanistan, Germany’s current way of warfare, its emphasis on civil reconstruction rather than military means, its preference for multilateral rather than unilateral action, and its inclination towards finding diplomatic solutions rather than sending the Armed Forces, is challenged to an extent never seen before. Given the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the fact that German military camps are increasingly attacked means that Germany cannot continue its previous way of operation. It seems impossible for Bundeswehr forces to continue building bridges and schools in Afghanistan – instead they have to defend themselves resorting to the use of force. This research endeavor analyzes the impacts that this challenge has on Germany strategic culture. Does it make Germany more assertive regarding the use of force or does it not have an impact at all, will Germany continue to be an anti-militarist civilian power? A change in Germany’s strategic culture will have greater repercussions for its role in the international system, its future security policy and they way the Armed Forces are seen by society.