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The New German Ostpolitik

March 28, 2012 - Example Author - New Eastern Europe newsletter

Now online. The New German Ostpolitik. By: Cornelius Ochmann. 

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This article is from the new issue of New Eastern Europe. It was chosen by our readers via a facebook poll asking which article to be published online.

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The New German Ostpolitik

Cornelius Ochmann

The term Ostpolitik was coined by Willy Brandt (Chancellor of West Germany between 1969 and 1974 – editor’s note) and occupies an important place in German foreign policy. For Germans, the word has positive connotations, and alludes to the start of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and other “Eastern Bloc” states, marking a turning point in post-war German history. This process included Chancellor Brandt’s first visits to Moscow and Warsaw, and the moment when he fell to his knees in Warsaw in 1970; a famous and unforgettable gesture which has become part of European history. The policy was continued by the government of Helmut Kohl (Kohl became chancellor of Germany in 1982 – editor’s note) and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and finally culminated in the reunification of Germany in 1990.

On the other side of the Oder, there were very different associations with the term Ostpolitik. In fact, squeezed between two powers, Poles tended to look at it more as relating to the predominance of German-Soviet relations. Interestingly, after the collapse of the Soviet Union the Russo-German relationship was viewed in a more similar way. To partly refute these charges, Germany has made many attempts, since the country’s reunification, to incorporate its foreign policy into the foreign and security policy of the European Union.

To read the full article click here: https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/262

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More information on purchasing the Spring 2012 issue and/or a subscription to New Eastern Europe can be found here: https://www.neweasterneurope.eu/node/2

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