• Willy Brandt, Federal Chancellor of West GermanyWilly Brandt, Federal Chancellor of West Germany
  • Aim was to improve the living conditions of all Berlin citizensAim was to improve the living conditions of all Berlin citizens
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Policy of détente

In 1969 the social-liberal Federal government, led by Federal Chancellor BrandtcustomWilly Brandt was chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974 and foreign minister ScheelcustomWalter Scheel served as Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development from 1961 to 1966, Foreign Minister of Germany and Vice Chancellor from 1969 to 1974, adapted a new fashion of contract politics concerning the East. This change of course in the FRG is now known as New Eastern policycustomThe New Eastern Policy refers to the normalization of relations between West Germany and Eastern Europe, particularly the German Democratic Republic beginning in 1969, considerably ameliorating the relationship between East and West.

New Eastern policy

Especially in the 1960s the aspiration of the Federal government to represent both states attracted increasingly less attention. Especially developing countries considered the GDR as a state by international law. In addition to this the Soviet Union increasingly questioned the four-power status of Berlin as long as the inner German border was not accepted by the FRG. In order to improve the living conditions of all Berlin citizens the social-liberal coalitioncustomThe Social-liberal coalition was a governmental coalition formed by the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Free Democratic Party from 1969 to 1982 smoothed the way for the policy of détentecustomPolicy of detente is often used in reference to the general easing of the geo-political tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States which began in 1969. Important resolutions made were settled in the Warsaw-Moscow contract, the basic treatycustomIn the Basic Treaty the Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic recognized each other as sovereign states for the first time, the quadripartite agreement and the transit agreementcustomThe Transit Agreement 1972 arranged access to and from West Berlin from West Germany, secured the right of West Berliners to visit East Berlin and East Germany1.

“Change through rapprochement“

Willy Brandt, the German federal Chancellor wanted to achieve humane relief for Berlin citizens by his East contracts, as the Soviet Union had, for example, blocked transit routes to Berlin in the past. The GDR hoped for international recognition and economic assets. Due to the contract policy the Oder-Neisse linecustomThe Oder-Neiße-line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II to Poland were officially accepted for the first time ever since World War two. As the communication between the two German states improved over time the federal government hoped to sustain the notion of an all-German nation. The political slogan “change through rapprochementcustomInfluenced by Egon Bahr, who proposed change through rapprochement in a 1963 speech, the New Eastern Policy implemented beginning with Willy Brandt” used by Willy Brandt was supposed to be a mean for the reunion of the two states. In 1973 the FRG and the GDR were eventually incorporated in the UNcustomThe organization United Natioins was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict. It is established to promote international co-operation2.

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