The USSR and the FRG in the Détente Era: From Forced Interaction to Pragmatic Partnership

Pavlenko O.V.

Abstract

The article analyses the relations between the USSR and the FRG at the end of the 1950s – the first half of the 1970s. Both countries were aware of their responsibility for the stabilization of relations in Europe, both greatly needed each other’s resources, both deeply distrusted each other. Up until the middle of the 1960s, the burden of unresolved political issues stemming above all from the status of West Berlin and the recognition of the GDR prevented their relations from developing in a way that the economies of both countries required. But their rapprochement has already begun, initiated by Chancellor Adenauer and later supported by Chancellor Ludwig Erhard and Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger. As for the Soviet leadership, Moscow always expressed particular interest in this cooperation throughout all stages of its development. The periods of mutual attraction gave way to rejection and political cold spells, but the relations between the Soviet and West German business circles, aware of their economic interests, continued to move forward. A change in the foreign policy of the new US Administration by Richard Nixon had a considerable impact on the new relations between the USSR and the FRG. The Ostpolitik of Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt, as well as Leonid Brezhnev’s detente policy, created a new economic and political reality in Europe – the reality of mutually beneficial cooperation that enabled the parties to overcome complex political issues for the sake of sustainable growth of Europe.

Keywords

USSR; FRG; GDR; economic cooperation; «gas for pipes».

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.01.11

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