German Ostpolitik in the 1990s: Anticipating the Post-Soviet Disorder

  • A. James McAdams


There may be only a single, reliable clue for anticipating the Federal Republic of Germany’s policy toward the morass of competing states, ethnic groups, and interests comprising the post-Soviet Union in the 1990s. This is to be found in the dramatic shift in West German relations with the USSR during the preceding decade. In the mid-1980s, the climate between the two states could not have been much worse. To all intents and purposes, contacts between the FRG and the Soviet Union had been frozen due to Bonn’s 1983 decision to go ahead with the deployment on German soil of NATO intermediate-range nuclear missiles. The few exchanges that did take place between the two countries were confined to little more than slurs and invective. While the Soviet press was replete with comparisons of the policies of the German government to the militarism of the Nazi past, policy-makers in Bonn had pretty much written off the prospect of an improved relationship with Moscow anyway. At one point, the FRG’s chancellor, Helmut Kohl, even likened the ‘new thinking’ of a rising Soviet leader and one-day president, CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, to the propaganda tactics of Joseph Goebbels.


Federal Republic German Government German Reunification German Soil Western Ally 
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  1. 6.
    Hans Jörg Sottorf, ‘Genscher goes in for some Soviet stock-taking’, Handelsblatt March 20, 1991, in The German Tribune March 31, 1991, pp. 1–2.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Dieter Buhl, ‘Die sieben sind keine Samariter’, Die Zeit July 19, 1991, p. 1, and Nina Grunenberg, ‘Tuchfühlung vor dem Auftritt’, ibid., p. 4.Google Scholar
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    Cited from Frank Rafalski, ‘Kohl, a close link temporarily severed’, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung August 20, 1991, in The German Tribune September 1 1991, p. 3.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Helmut Schmidt, ‘Deutschlands Rolle im neuen Europa’, Europa Archiv, 21 (1991), p. 614. On a similar note, see Wolfgang Wagner, ‘Acht Lehren aus dem Fall Jugoslawien’, Europa Archiv, 2 (1992), pp. 31–41.Google Scholar
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    Reinhard Stuth, ‘Germany’s new role in a changing Europe’, Aussenpolitik, v. 43 (1992), no. 1, pp. 28–9.Google Scholar

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© New York University Press 1995

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  • A. James McAdams

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