A Public Strategy of Peace: Ostpolitik and the CSCE. Willy Brandt’s Foreign Policy and the Western Alliance, 1969-1972.
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Ostpolitik was the FRG’s new approach to East-West relations. It rested on the conviction that change could only come through a policy of rapprochement with the Eastern European states. The Warsaw Pact’s call for a CSCE fitted perfectly within this policy. Through an analysis of declassified government sources, this paper addresses how Ostpolitik affected the stance of the FRG, the United States and the Netherlands on the CSCE from 1969-1972. Both the U.S. and the Netherlands did not support the CSCE out of its own right. However, the FRG’s steps towards the East threatened to disrupt the stability of NATO. Chancellor Willy Brandt used this dynamic by linking Ostpolitik and the CSCE with strategic objectives like a Berlin Agreement and MBFR. To maintain the stability of the alliance, the U.S. and the Netherlands were pressured to support the CSCE initiative. This linkage strategy shows how the positive atmosphere with the East resulting from Ostpolitik was part of a calculated strategy by Brandt to improve the German situation and the détente process.