Not to be confused with The Atlantic Bridge, a similar British association
Atlantik-Brücke (English: Atlantic Bridge) is the most powerful US-German socio-political influence network, an association that include leading personalities from business, politics, the armed forces, science, the media and culture.
In addition to decision-makers from these areas, who find a framework for confidential discussions at Atlantik-Brücke, the association also includes young executives who forge networks at the “Young Leaders” conferences.
It was designed from the start to tie Germany to the US leadership, especially by strenghtening support for NATO, and to further the interests of big corporations.
Atlantik-Brücke was founded in Hamburg in 1952. Eric M. Warburg (founder of the firm currently known as Warburg Pincus) was one of the founders of Atlantik-Brücke, together with editor Marion Gräfin Dönhoff, Chancellor of Germany Helmut Schmidt and other Hamburg citizens. In those Cold War times, the U.S. was looking for influence on Germany. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) may have given the idea for founding the Atlantik-Brücke; Eric M. Warburg was a friend and consultant for John J. McCloy, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and President of the World Bank. The Atlantik-Brücke is the German counterpart for the U.S. based American Council on Germany.
The group had its headquarters in the old capital Bonn between 1983 and 1999, and is now located in Berlin. The association organizes invitation-only conferences, seminars and colloquia. Through various programs for "Young Leaders", military officers, leading journalists, central politicians and promising students, Atlantik-Brücke fosters strong social networks among current and future pro-US German leaders in business, media and politics.
The powerful network, in no way democratically legitimized, consist of people who only see the world from one perspective, from above; and who only know one type of appreciation, that of money and power. If someone wants to be part of the ruling establishment, they have to share this view. If the want to personally benefit from this network, be it an aspiring politician, journalist, civil servant or academic, they must be at the service of those to whom the world belongs.
The number of members is limited in order to preserve the exclusivity of the association, and is only partially public The list of members (see above) is members or associates collected from their own publications.
A large percentage of the members are journalists. This is certainly not a coincidence. The Atlantic Bridge is about who gets to control money an power, and it is important to sell this policy smoothly to the outside world.
It is particularly noticeable that a large number of correspondents who have been sent to the USA by their broadcasters and newspapers are on the list of members. Pretty much all of the correspondents are invited to join the Atlantic Bridge before starting their job in the United States. This networking effort makes sense; the AB's connections, especially to conservative politicians and think tanks in the states, are excellent.
String pullers such as Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzeziński and John Kornblum can open many doors in Washington. The reporting is influenced accordingly, and shows a picture of the United States as these elite politicians want European audiences to see it. Figuratively (and probably often literally), the CIA is at the table every time these journalists meet with American politicians, scientists or the military.
The largest group of members is politicians, While the number of representatives of the individual parties roughly corresponds to the representation in the German parliament, the Left party (Die Linke) is noticeably absent. The representatives that are members belong exclusively to the economic liberal wings of their parties, with strong pro-NATO views.
On the American side, the membership is a pleasant experience in empire mangagement.
Whose interests are to be furthered, is clearly illustrated by another big group of members: managers, many of them from the financial industry, consultants from predatory consultancy companies that often operate worldwide, bankers, PR-companies and lobbyists; they all have only one interest, to defend and expand their privileges and their already huge possessions. Cite error: Closing
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<ref> tag. Since 2005, the two organizations have each held their own Young Leaders conference.
- There are strategic partnerships with institutions such as the Munich Security Conference or the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany.
- An annual expert meeting has been held in Berlin since 1990 with the US Army High Command in Europe, the US European Command.
Award named after CIA-director
The two Atlantik-Brücke Young Leaders conferences receive more than 500 applications per year, from which 120 Young Leaders are chosen by the steering commitee. Sixty young leaders are chosen for the German-American Conference (30 Americans and 30 Germans) and sixty are chosen for the European Conference. As of 2011, the German-American Young Leaders Conference has been running for 33 years.
The Young Leaders Program initiated by Atlantik-Brücke represents the oldest and largest program dedicated to identifying and nurturing relationships among the future custodians of the transatlantic partnership. Since the first Young Leaders Conference was held in 1973, over 1,500 Europeans and Americans have attended one of thirty-two German-American Young Leaders Conferences or ten European Young Leaders Conferences, a 10-day international young leader exchange.
Alumni of these prestigious gatherings remain in contact with each other both informally and through regional discussion groups and biennial alumni conferences that had been held under the auspices of Atlantik-Brücke. On January 1, 2011 Atlantik-Brücke established the independent organization "Atlantik Forum e.V. – the Young Leaders Alumni of Atlantik-Brücke" to more effectively facilitate and manage all these activities.
Prominent Young Leaders alumni
Christian Wulff, Former Federal President of Germany
Thomas de Maizière, Former Federal Minister of Interior
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Former Federal Minister of Defense
Michael Otto, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Otto Group
Jürgen Großmann, Chairman of the Managing Board of RWE
Charles Schumer, Senior U.S. Senator from New York
Edelgard Bulmahn Member of Parliament; Former Federal Minister of Education and Research
Michael Vassiliadis, Chairman of the Board of IG BCE – Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union
Wolfgang Ischinger, Former German Ambassador to the United States
Richard Burt, Former United States Ambassador to Germany
Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Vice President of the European Parliament
Eric M. Warburg (founder of the firm currently known as Warburg Pincus) was one of the founders of Atlantik-Brücke, together with legendary editor Marion Gräfin Dönhoff, Chancellor of Germany Helmut Schmidt and other citizens of Hamburg. In those Cold War times, the U.S. was looking for influence on Germany. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) probably gave the idea for founding the Atlantik-Brücke; Eric M. Warburg was a friend and consultant for John J. McCloy, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and President of the World Bank. The Atlantik-Brücke is the German counterpart for the U.S. based American Council on Germany (members include US diplomats Richard Holbrooke and Henry Kissinger).
Extract of member list
Below is a selection from the member list of the Atlantik Brücke:
Helmut Schmidt, former Chancellor of Germany
Rupert Stadler, former chairman of Audi AG
Torsten Oltmanns, Global Marketing Director at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
Members of the Board
Former Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel, MdB (SPD), Deutscher Bundestag, Berlin Vice-Chairmen
Professor Dr. Michael Hüther, Director and Member of the Presidium, German Economic Institute, Cologne
Former Federal Minister Dr. Norbert Röttgen, MdB (CDU/CSU), Berlin Treasurer
Professor Dr. Andreas Dombret, Former Member, Executive Board of Deutsche Bundesbank, Columbia University, New York Executive Director
Dr. [David Deissner]]
Members of the Board
Reiner Hoffmann, German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB), Berlin
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Munich Security Conference (MSC), Munich
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, MdB (FDP), Deutscher Bundestag, Berlin
Parliamentary State Secretary Christian Lange, MdB (SPD), Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, Berlin
Eveline Metzen, American Chamber of Commerce in Germany e.V., Frankfurt am Main
James von Moltke, Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt am Main
Omid Nouripour, MdB (Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen), Deutscher Bundestag, Berlin
Julie Linn Teigland, Ernst & Young GmbH, Mannheim
Anahita Thoms, Baker & McKenzie, Düsseldorf
Friederike von Tiesenhausen Cave, Bloomberg L.P., London
Karsten Uhlmann, Frankfurter Brauhaus GmbH, Frankfurt (Oder)
Dr. Nagila Warburg, Warburg Archive Foundation, Hamburg
Dr. Michael Werz, Center for American Progress, Washington, DC
Ute Wolf, Evonik Industries AG, Essen