Purdue University Graduate School
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"For Training Purposes Only": West German Military Aid to Nigeria and Tanzania, 1962-1968

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posted on 2020-04-17, 01:46 authored by Erich Wilhelm DrollingerErich Wilhelm Drollinger
Amidst the confrontation between the East and the West Bloc during the Cold War, the decolonization of Africa created an entirely new ideological battlefield for these two sides to compete with one another for power and influence. The Federal Republic of Germany, having been allowed to rearm its military less than a decade prior, sought to gain influence in Nigeria and Tanzania by providing them with military aid. However, in both cases it failed to fulfill its promises of aid. Through the examination of these case studies, this study argues that the Federal Republic’s ability to provide effective military aid to non-NATO countries was limited due to the combination of its cautious foreign policy and the dynamic political landscape of the countries to which it offered aid. Formerly classified government documents and newspaper articles constitute the majority of this study’s source material. While current historiography focuses on the impact of the Cold War superpowers in regions outside of Europe, less attention has been given to the important roles that smaller powers such as the Federal Republic have played. By analyzing a smaller global player, the goal of this study is to complicate the notion of the Cold War being binary in nature. Furthermore, it aims to illustrate the political tightrope that the Federal Republic walked when conducting military aid which stemmed from the legacy of its violent past and its status as a divided nation.


Wolfe Scholarship- United States Air Force Academy


Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • History

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

William Gray

Additional Committee Member 2

Kim Gallon

Additional Committee Member 3

Whitney Walton