Münkler, Herfried 1951-

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Münkler, Herfried 1951-


Born 1951, in Friedberg, Germany.




Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, professor of political theory; German Federal Academy of Security Issues, Berlin-Pankow, Germany, scientific consultant. Member, Academy of Sciences of Berlin-Brandenburg.


Machiavelli: Die Begrundung des politischen Denkens der Neuzeit aus der Krise der Republik Florenz, Europaische Verlagsanstalt (Frankfurt, Germany), 1982.

Das Blickfeld des Helden: Zur Darstellung des romischen Reiches in der germanisch-deutchen Heldendichtung, Kümmerle (Göppingen, Germany), 1983.

Machtzerfall: Die letzten Tage des Dritten Reiches dargestellt am Beispiel der hessischen Kreisstadt Friedberg, Siedler (Berlin, Germany), 1985.

(Editor, with Iring Fetscher) Pipers Handbuch der politischen Ideen, Piper (Munich, Germany), 1985.

Im Namen des Staates: Die Begrundung der Staatsraison in der frühen Neuzeit, S. Fischer (Frankfurt, Germany), 1987.

(With Wolfgang Storch) Siegfrieden: Politik mit einem deutschen Mythos, Rotbuch-Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1988.

Odysseus und Kassandra: Politik im Mythos, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag (Frankfurt, Germany), 1990.

(Editor, with Richard Saage) Kultur und Politik: Brechungen der Fortschrittsperspektive Heute: Für Iring Fetscher, Westdeutscher Verlag (Opladen, Germany), 1990.

(Editor) Der Partisan: Theorie, Strategie, Gestalt, Westdeutscher Verlag (Opladen, Germany), 1990.

(Editor, with Michael Keller) Die Wetterau: Landschaft zwischen Tradition und Fortschritt, Sparkasse Wetterau (Friedberg, Germany), 1990.

(Editor) Die Chancen der Freiheit: Grundprobleme der Demokratie, Piper (Munich, Germany), 1992.

Gewalt und Ordnung: Das Bild des Krieges im Politischen Denken, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag (Frankfurt, Germany), 1992.

(With Jürgen Gebhardt) Burgerschaft und Herrschaft: Zum Verhältnis von Macht und Demokratie im Antiken und neuzeitlichen politischen Denken, Nomos (Baden-Baden, Germany), 1993.

Thomas Hobbes, Campus Verlag (New York, NY), 1993.

(Editor and author of introduction) Max Weber, Der Sozialismus, Beltz Athenaum (Weinheim, Germany), 1995.

(Editor) Burgerreligion und Burgertugend: Debatten über die vorpolitischen Grundlagen politischer Ordnung, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft (Baden-Baden, Germany), 1996.

(Editor) Furcht und Faszination: Facetten der Fremdheit, Akademie Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1997.

(Editor) Die Herausforderung durch das Fremde, Akademie (Berlin, Germany), 1998.

(With Hans Grünberger and Kathrin Mayer) Nationenbildung: Die Nationalisierung Europas im Diskurs humanistischer Intellektueller: Italien und Deutschland, Akademie Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1998.

(Editor, with Michael Greven and Rainer Schmalz-Bruns) Burgersinn und Kritik: Festschrift für Udo Bermbach zum 60. Geburtstag, Nomos (Baden-Baden, Germany), 1998.

(Editor, with Johannes Kunisch) Die Wiedergeburt des Krieges aus dem Geist der Revolution: Studien zum bellizistischen Diskurs des ausgehenden 18. und beginnenden 19. Jahrhunderts, Duncker & Humblot (Berlin, Germany), 1999.

(Editor, with Marcus Llanque) Konzeptionen der Gerechtigkeit: Kulturvergleich, Ideengeschichte, moderne Debatte, Nomos (Baden-Baden, Germany), 1999.

(With Marina Münkler) Lexikon der Renaissance, Beck (Munich, Germany), 2000.

(Editor, with Hermann Danhauser) Deutsche Meister, böse Geister? Nationale Selbstfindung in der Musik, Edition Argus (Schliengen, Germany), 2001.

(Editor, with Manfred Agethen, Eckhard Jesse, and Ehrhard Neubert) Der missbrauchte Antifaschismus: DDR-Staatsdoktrin und Lebenslage der deutschen Linken, Herder (Freiburg, Germany), 2002.

(Editor, with Markus Llanque and Clemens K. Stepina) Der demokratische Nationalstaat in den Zeiten der Globalisierung: Politische Leitideen für das 21. Jahrhundert: Festschrift zum 80. Geburtstag von Iring Fetscher, Akademie Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 2002.

(Editor, with Hermann Danhauser) Zukunftsbilder: Richard Wagners Revolution und ihre Folgen in Kunst und Politik, Edition Argus (Schliengen, Germany), 2002.

Die neuen Kriege, Rowohlt (Reinbek bei Hamburg, Germany), 2002, translation by Patrick Camiller published as The New Wars, Polity (Cambridge, England), 2005.

(Editor, with Hermann Danhauser) Kunst, Fest, Kanon: Inklusion und Exklusion in Gesellschaft und Kultur, Edition Argus (Schliengen, Germany), 2004.

Imperien: Die Logik der Weltherrschaft: Vom alten Rom bis zu den Vereinigten Staaten, Rowohlt (Berlin, Germany), 2005, translated as Empires: The Logic of World Domination from Ancient Rome to the United States, Polity (Malden, MA), 2007.

(Editor, with Grit Strassenberger and Matthias Bohlender) Deutschlands Eliten im Wandel, Campus (Frankfurt, Germany), 2006.

Der Wandel des Krieges: Von der Symmetrie zur Asymmetrie, Velbrück Wissenschaft (Weilerswist, Germany), 2006.


Herfried Münkler was born in 1951 in Friedberg, Germany. A professor of political theory, he has also worked as a scientific consultant for the German Federal Academy of Security Issues. He is the author of numerous books, a number of which have also received attention in their English translations.

Die neuen Kriege ("The New Wars") addresses what Münkler defines as the incorrect assessment of the difference between a true war and a battle based on com- merce, the latter of which he notes is a more accurate label for the wars taking place in the Middle East during the latter part of the twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first. He goes on to claim that various agencies, whether or not they are actual branches of the government, are responsible for this behavior. As a result, members of the military no longer make up the greatest percentage of the casualties created by these wars, with civilians bearing the brunt of attempts to whip other nations into a common way of thinking. Poor living conditions follow rapidly, including insufficient food and medical supplies, and rampant disease is a result. Catherine Holst, writing for Dictum, commented that "the fact that states no longer have a monopoly on war violence has to be understood as a deciding turn point in history of war: this alone, if nothing else, justifies Münkler's talk about the new wars versus the old."

In Empires: The Logic of World Domination from Ancient Rome to the United States, Münkler revisits a subject that has not been addressed in a major work for many years. He analyzes and compares the various empires of the world throughout history in order to determine not just what made each of these ruling powers great, but what led to their downfall. In doing so, he hopes to apply each set of circumstances as a sort of template for comparison against the strengths and weaknesses of the United States. This serves as a means of not only determining at what stage of power and global domination the United States might currently be in, but how current global issues reflect on the potential for the United States to maintain its position as a dominant world power, despite its apparent slippage with regard to foreign relations and economic security. Likewise, Münkler attempts to determine whether a world power such as the United States is indeed necessary to ensure security on a global scale, or whether, alternatively, the existence of such a stronghold manifested behind a single set of borders actually causes unrest and imbalance in the global community. It might be suggested that there is a Machiavellian versus Kantian perspective at stake, determined by whether one holds with the allowance of a single guiding superpower, or whether one believes that countries can coexist peacefully if power is distributed equally between them. Empires, however, does not immediately hold with either of these two theories, as Münkler attempts to approach the question from a fair and neutral perspective.

Unfortunately, Münkler has only history and the successful empires it left behind to use as examples for his analysis. In Europe, following the fall of the Roman Empire, no lasting and successful empire was able to develop as a replacement and take over the continent; the European model has moved more and more steadily toward the coexistence of a set of countries, each of which has its own ruling body, but none of which, periods of war aside, holds major sway over any of the others. He also notes that for the most part, all of the major empires that were focused in Europe concentrated their expansions outside the European confines, taking on colonies in North America, Africa, India, and so on. However, over the course of the book, he provides definitions of what he means by an empire, and the terms that apply to different types of empires that have been most notable throughout history. He then analyzes these empires, including not just Rome, but also ancient Greece, the Mongols, China, Spain, and of course Great Britain. Applying the definition of an empire to the modern-day United States, he discusses the way in which American troops are stationed in a number of nations, and the attitude of the American government toward the promotion of democracy and capitalism around the globe. Heike Friesel, in a review for Litrix, remarked that "Münkler's work is exemplary in its consideration of the present state of research, consulting all substantial sources on the subject of empire, theories of imperialism, and the role of hegemonic powers." Friesel went on to conclude that the book "offers the European situation a number of new approaches and ideas through which to position the European Union within the global power play."



Foreign Affairs, January-February, 2008, G. John Ikenberry, review of Empires: The Logic of World Domination from Ancient Rome to the United States, p. 175.

Political Science Quarterly, March 22, 2006, Jack S. Levy, review of The New Wars, p. 177.

Theoria, December 1, 2006, Roger Deacon, review of Die neuen Kriege, p. 156.


Dictum,http://www.dictum.no/ (April 23, 2008), Catherine Holst, review of Die neuen Kriege.

Goethe Institute Web site,http://www.goethe.de/ (April 23, 2008), profile of Herfried Münkler.

H-Net Reviews,http://www.h-net.org/ (April 23, 2008), Catherine Plum, review of Der missbrauchte Antifaschismus: DDR-Staatsdoktrin und Lebenslage der deutschen Linken.

Litrix,http://www.litrix.de/ (April 23, 2008), Heike Friesel, review of Empires.

Open Democracy,http://www.opendemocracy.net/ (April 23, 2008), author profile.

Single Generation Web site,http://www.single-generation.de/ (April 23, 2008), review of Der missbrauchte Antifaschismus.

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