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Transcending the Cold WarSummits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–1990$
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Kristina Spohr and David Reynolds

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727507.001.0001

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Erfurt and Kassel, 1970

Erfurt and Kassel, 1970

(p.15) 1 Erfurt and Kassel, 1970
Transcending the Cold War

Benedikt Schoenborn

Gottfried Niedhart

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the two German-German summits in Erfurt (GDR) and Kassel (FRG) that began the process of détente between the two halves of divided Germany. From the East German perspective the two meetings were a partial success, as the regime gained de facto, if not de jure, recognition on the basis of the post-war status quo. For West German chancellor Willy Brandt, Erfurt and Kassel were intended to be the first step of an incremental process of normalization in order to achieve ‘change through rapprochement’. Brandt put great emphasis on initiating regular German-German contacts on lower levels of government in order to institutionally interlock the GDR and the FRG and to foster contacts at a human level. Brandt saw his immediate objectives fulfilled, with the signing of the Basic Treaty of 1972, but Bonn’s ultimate aim remained to overcome the division of 1949.

Keywords:   Willy Brandt, Egon Bahr, Willi Stoph, Leonid Brezhnev, Erfurt, Kassel, détente, Ostpolitik, German question

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