Satellite state

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A satellite state or vassal state (derived from vassal in the early Middle Ages ) is a name for a smaller state that is dependent on a larger one, in particular a major power . Satellite states are often only formally independent and are politically dominated by the stronger state. The concept relies on the image of a satellite, so an artificial or natural smaller object that inescapably in the gravitational field of a larger celestial body , such as planets moved.


The first satellite states were established in antiquity , especially on the edge of their own sovereign territory to secure borders or to bind remote areas that are difficult to control via a local vassal without having to use too many of their own resources (e.g. kingdoms of Mauritania and Judea under the Romans ). The same consideration led to several European protectorates in the colonial era . There were great differences in local autonomy , from only individual garrisons of the protecting power in the country (mostly near the capital), foreign advisers to the local government and formal restrictions, especially on foreign and defense policy, to conditions that differed from a colony . Also in the area of ​​the Mesoamerican cultures there were vassal states that were dependent on the larger centers Teotihuacán , Tenochtitlán , Tikal and Calakmul .

From the 16th to 17th centuries, the three principalities of Transylvania , Moldavia and Wallachia were vassals of the Ottoman Empire . Korea formed a satellite state of the Chinese Qing Dynasty from the late Middle Ages until 1895 .

Classic vassal states were the states under the control of French revolutionary governments, including the government of Napoleon Bonaparte . These subsidiary republics (of the French First Republic) were converted into monarchies after Napoleon was crowned emperor. A close relative of Napoleon became a monarch or viceroy. Sometimes they are called model states if they should have a propaganda effect through progressive legislation . The satellite states had to support France economically and militarily; the promised representatives of the people had little influence or were not convened (anymore).

Examples are also the states which became "independent" shortly before or during the Second World War under the control of Germany , Italy or Japan ( Vichy France , First Slovak Republic , Independent State Croatia , Independent State Montenegro , Manchukuo ), or the states of Eastern bloc or the Warsaw Pact , whose policy was dominated by the leading Soviet power. As a rule, the Eastern Bloc states had little power of their own and, in accordance with the Brezhnev doctrine, always had to orientate themselves towards the Soviet Union . The German Democratic Republic was described as a "satellite state that was essentially based on the presence of the Soviet military " and that the GDR as a satellite state of the Soviet Union had to derive its own sovereignty from it. Against the background of its recognition as a UN member in 1973 , however, it was still regarded by the West as “still as a satellite state of the Soviet Union”.

Other names

Client state
In ancient Rome one spoke of client states , these were under the control of the Imperium Romanum and had only limited sovereignty .
The king or queen of a client state ( rex socius ) was not allowed to pursue its own foreign policy and was obliged to assist the Roman Empire in the war. Client kings could not inherit their empire independently, but had to have the succession arrangement approved by Rome. The client states' right to mint coins was also restricted (prohibition of the minting of gold coins); in individual cases the clientele kings were liable to pay tribute .
State state
In the constitutional purposes of practicing at a States State a sovereign "upper state" (the suzerain ) its dominance over a semi-sovereign "sub-state" ( dependent state which substantially occupies a passive position, and usually only carries obligations) from. The state-state is also referred to as a "union of states on unequal law".

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Satellite state  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: vassal state  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. See Theodor Schweisfurth , Völkerrecht , 2006, p. 26 para. 90 .
  2. Quoted from Hans-Ulrich Wehler , Deutsche Gesellschaftgeschichte, Volume 5: Federal Republic and GDR 1949–1990 , CH Beck, Munich 2008, p. 252.
  3. See in more detail Herwig Roggemann, Systemunrecht und Strafrecht am example of the wall riflemen in the former GDR , Verlag Arno Spitz, Berlin 1993, p. 67 ff .; Peter-Alexis Albrecht , The Federal Constitutional Court and the criminal processing of system injustice - a German solution , in: NJ 1997, p. 1; Uwe Wesel , The Honecker Process , in KJ 1993, pp. 198 ff. (200).
  4. Quotation from Marianne Howarth, Die Westpolitik der DDR between international revaluation and ideological offensive (1966–1989) , in: Ulrich Pfeil (ed.): The DDR and the West: Transnational Relations 1949–1989 , 1st edition, Ch. Links, Berlin 2001, p. 81 ff. (88); First of all, it should be noted that the USA “saw the GDR as a Soviet satellite state for the first time ever since the popular uprising of June 17, 1953 ” (Christian M. Ostermann, in: ibid., p. 169 f. ). Cf. Uwe Backes , in: Eckhard Jesse, Roland Sturm (eds.), Democracies of the 21st Century in Comparison , p. 341 ff. (349), who writes that the GDR since its founding “ruled a Soviet [r ] Satellite State "was. Or Manfred Wilke in: Stefan Karner , Natalja G. Tomilina, Alexander Tschubarjan, Manfred Wilke et al. (Ed.): Prager Frühling , Böhlau, Cologne / Weimar 2008, p. 421 conforms to this view, since “[t] he SED [acted in […] close coordination with the CPSU because] this […] theirs Self-image and the status of the GDR as a satellite state of the Soviet Union [corresponded] ”.
  5. See e.g. B. Peter Schwacke / Guido Schmidt, Staatsrecht , 5th edition, W. Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-555-01398-5 , p. 27, Rn. 85 ; see. Norbert Berthold Wagner, Reine Staatslehre , Volume I: States, Fictitious States and the Germany Paradox , Part 1, Lit Verlag, 2015, p. 576 and in detail, ibid., P. 617 ff.
  6. See Vittorio Hösle , Moral and Politics: Foundations of a Political Ethics for the 21st Century , Chap. II. “The legal forms of interstate relations. Outer sovereignty. ”CH Beck, Munich 1997, p. 613 ff. (614, in particular on the term fn. 105 ).
  7. ^ Norbert B. Wagner, Reine Staatslehre , Vol. I / 1, 2015, p. 619 ; Dietrich Richter, International Relations between States on Equal Law of the Present , Diss. Bonn 1968, p. 2.