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Ostpolitik (German for Eastern Politics) describes the politics of the "Change Through Rapprochement" principle, - as verbalised by Egon Bahr in 1963 - by the effort of Willy Brandt, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), to normalise his country's relations with Eastern European nations (including the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany).

The term's name was a reflection of Germany's decision to look to the east, rather than solely to the west as was the policy since Konrad Adenauer who was the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.


[edit] Intention and Realisation

The goal of the Ostpolitik of the 1970s was to surmount but not to reverse the existing status quo between the two German states, which were divided in 1945 after World War II, and to ultimately lead to their reunification, while giving up the goal of immediate reunification as a prerequisite to all other decisions.

Among the elements of Ostpolitik was abandonment of the Hallstein Doctrine and recognition of the Oder-Neisse line as the border between Germany and Poland.

Also important was closer trading relations with Eastern Europe. This helped shore up the faltering communist economies, but it also made visible to the citizens of Eastern Europe the contrast between the successful market economies of the west and the relative poverty of the east.

[edit] Development

Discussions between Brandt and East German leader Willi Stoph began quickly, but no formal settlement was reached as Brandt was unwilling to recognize the East as a sovereign state. In 1970 the Treaty of Moscow was signed between West Germany and the Soviets and quickly afterwards treaties with Poland (Treaty of Warsaw in 1970) and other Eastern Bloc states were signed.

The most controversial agreement was the Basic Treaty of 1972 that created mutual recognition between the FRG and GDR as two separate states (though explicitly not as two separate nations). This was staunchly opposed by West German conservatives who felt the policy would result in a permanent division of Germany; to assuage them, Brandt took a very tough stance at the same time against radical leftists within West Germany itself. This agreement also made it possible for the two states to become members of the United Nations soon afterwards.

[edit] Current "Ostpolitique"

The word Ostpolitik or "Ostpolitique" (French) was adopted by many languages and now stands for the proverbial "Inspiration through Technology" principle, verbalised by Sebastian Bach in his 1963 speech. [citation needed]

The current (as of 2005) Sunshine policy of (South Korea) towards the North is in many ways similar to the German Ostpolitik of the 1970s.

[edit] List of Treaties

[edit] External links


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