The Federal Republic of Germany in the Helsinki Process, 1975-1983: A Diplomatic Reversal

Abgeschlossenes Projekt

Employees (IfZ):  Dr. Matthias Peter

This project carried out by Matthias Peter focuses on the first phase of the Helsinki Process from the Helsinki summit in 1975 which saw the signing of the Final Act by 35 heads of state to the second Follow-up Meeting in Madrid (1980–1983). The study looks into how Bonn made political use of the multilateralisation of its policy towards the East through the CSCE Process. It focuses in particular on the different actors involved in West German CSCE policy. Another area of focus lies in the difficult task of implementing the commitments laid down in the Final Act and bringing about as much humanitarian relief as possible. Following the disappointing conclusion of the first Follow-up Meeting in Belgrade (1977/78), however, the Helsinki Process was weighed down by the deterioration of East-West relations. The conflict over military build-ups and the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981 in particular almost led to the conference being broken up. The study seeks to demonstrate how West German diplomacy reacted to these challenges and adapted its CSCE policy to the changing conditions as a means of maintaining détente. The project is chiefly based on the systematic evaluation of documents from the Political Archive of the German Federal Foreign Office, including documents declassified during the editorial process of Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (“Documents on the Foreign Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany”), rounded out by interviews and other archival materials.

Publications within the project

Matthias Peter

Die Bundesrepublik im KSZE-Prozess 1975 - 1983.

Quellen und Darstellungen zur Zeitgeschichte

Berlin ; München 2015


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