Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Geopolitical strategies – American Bases in Germany: An Example

Geopolitical strategies – American Bases in Germany: An Example

National Geography Standards

Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information
Standard 13: How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth’s surface

The student will be able to:
A) Understand the changing locational importance of Germany in American strategies.
B) Examine spatial patterns within a geopolitical framework

1) The teacher provides an interactive map of the Eastern Hemisphere – possibly Google Maps or Google Earth. The students should focus on the country of Germany. The teacher can start the discussion on Germany’s location.
A) Please describe the relative location of Germany
B) What countries are to the North, East, West, South, etc.?
C) Describe the coastal access of Germany, etc.

2) Students should watch Dr. Sarah Kreps’s Deterrence and Forward Presence in Europe: From Cold War to Present video and answer the following questions: (Stop at 8:45)
A) According to Schelling, what is Deterrence?
B) Define Compellence
C) Define Mutual Deterrence
D) Define External Deterrence
E) If possible, ask the students to please provide examples..

3) The teacher then provides the students the following maps – American Military Bases in Germany – Blue and American Military Bases in Germany – Red (See Appendix). Then students compare the two maps and discuss the following:
A) Compare the Number of Bases
B) Compare the Locations of Bases
C) Which map is more recent? Why?

4) The teacher then presents the following information:
A) Red is the most recent map
B) There are 170 less bases between the two maps (Due to the map scale this may be difficult to visualize).

5) With this new information, ask the students the following questions:
A) Why has there been a reduction in American Military Bases in Germany?
B) What is significant about the current location of bases in Germany?

6) Students should now watch more of Dr. Sarah Kreps’s video and then the discuss the changes to Europe and the world after the Cold War: (Start at 8:45 and end at 41:20)

7) Now divide the students into groups and assign them an United States Unified Command Region ( For example, the United States Indo-Pacific Command and ask them to research America Military bases in this region.
A) How many are located in their assigned region? Historically or presently?
B) Are there any patterns to these locations?
C) Finally each group will present their results.

1) Ask students to only investigate countries possessing nuclear weapons and American Military Bases (Re-watch Dr. Kreps video 19:00 to about 28:00)
A) The suspected amount of weapons before Cold War and after Cold War
B) Is there a relationship between American Military bases and nuclear weapons?

1) The teacher can ask the students to examine all Western Power military bases in non-western countries

Kreps, Sarah, 2018. Deterrence and Forward Presence in Europe: From Cold War to Present – Foreign Policy Research Institute

List of United States Army installations in Germany –

Vandiver, John. 2015. RAF Mildenhall to close amid other Europe consolidations. Stars and Stripes.

Unified Command Plan Map

  • Tom Mueller
  • California University of Pennsylvania
Grade Level
  • Collage: Freshman
Time Frame
  • Two class periods

If you have any questions about this lesson plan, or if you wish to contact the author, please email us at [email protected]