​​A German Millennial Looks at a New — Or, at Least, Different — World

Aug 5, 2021

For all practical purposes, the 20th century ended when the Berlin Wall fell, followed by, rather quickly and relatively quietly, the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Dr. Ulrike Franke is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). She leads ECFR’s Technology and European Power initiative. Her areas of focus include German and European security and defence, the future of warfare, and the impact of new technologies such as drones and artificial intelligence on geopolitics and warfare.

Franke has published widely on these and other topics, among others in Die Zeit, FAZ, RUSI Whitehall Papers, Comparative Strategy, War on the Rocks, Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik, and regularly appears as commentator in the media. She co-hosts the Sicherheitshalber Podcast, a German-language podcast on security and defence.

She holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Oxford – in her PhD thesis, she studied the use of drones by western armed forces. She also holds a BA from Sciences Po Paris and a double summa cum laude MA degree from Sciences Po Paris (Affaires internationales/Sécurité internationale) and the University of St. Gallen (International Affairs and Governance).

Franke is a policy affiliate at the Governance of AI project at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute. She was also part of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism Ben Emmerson’s research team, examining drone use in counterterrorism contexts. Prior to this she worked as a part-time research assistant at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.


For all practical purposes, the 20th century ended when the Berlin Wall fell, followed by, rather quickly and relatively quietly, the collapse of the Soviet Union. If you’ve come of age since then, the struggles of The Cold War, including the very real possibility of nuclear Armageddon, are the stuff of history books, not memory. That is particularly true for Germany, which was transformed by reunification, and for German millennials who are starting to come to power in politics and in broader society. Inevitably, they look at the world differently than their predecessors, with different assumptions, different expectations.

How will this change the country? What does it mean for Europe and more broadly, for Germany and Europe’s role in the world? The guest in this episode of the New Thinking for a New World podcast is both German and a millennial, and she has thought about these questions. Ulrike Franke, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations who recently published an article titled, “A Millennial Considers the New German Problem After 30 years of Peace.”

Let us know what you think and comment below.

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