In 1995, German political elites broke with a social taboo on the use of military force and started to commit the Federal Republic to extraterritorial peacekeeping and peace enforcement missions. Previous governments of the Federal Republic had opposed foreign military deployment for historical reasons. Strong antimilitarism in culture and institutions had predisposed Germany to address international challenges through multilateral institutions, international law and economic policy instruments. The rediscovery of military force constituted a significant reorientation of German security policy with potentially profound implications for international relations. This book seeks to understand the process by which states alter long-standing foreign policy traditions, using social role theory to explain why Germany reoriented its foreign and security policy in 1995. The book aims to illuminate persuasion processes at the lowest level-between decision-makers-and it understands policy change as a result of the changing preferences of policy-makers within the discursive environment of the German Bundestag. The book contributes to the study of social and ideational influences on national foreign policy formulation processes. It finds that social, rather than utilitarian considerations provide a superior explanation for the reorientation of German security policy. Previous work on role theory in international relations theory has emphasized the domestic origins of role conceptions (i.e. history, culture, traditions), but roles are primarily the product of social environments. Spehn remedies this inconsistency by combining structural role theory with insights gained from the current constructivist research effort on norm emergence, state socialization and compliance.