Cooperation and Confrontation: The Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic at the Vienna CSCE Follow-Up Meeting, 1986-1989


The CSCE Follow-Up Meeting in Vienna (1986-1989) constituted the final phase of a process that had begun in 1973 with the cross-bloc Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki. This dissertation project investigates the CSCE policies of the two German states during the Follow-Up Meeting in Vienna as well as the complex relationship between Bonn and East Berlin, which was marked by both confrontational but also cooperative action.

The focus here lies on those areas of difficulty that were of a particularly explosive nature in German-German relations. This included, for example, the controversial mandatory minimum currency exchange required when entering East Germany as well as debates over the legalization of Helsinki groups in the GDR. In addition to humanitarian issues, the study will take into account aspects of military security, as in the mutual observation of military maneuvers. The delegations of the two German states, whose members were central actors at the CSCE, are also of particular interest to the project. The project will conclude with a look into what influence the results of the Follow-Up Conference may have had on the end of the GDR and German reunification.

The project is part of a joint project of the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ), the University of Hildesheim, the University of Innsbruck, and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and is financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Austrian Science Fund, and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

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