Détente policy

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Under detente means the policy of conciliation of different countries at the diplomatic level. The participating states try to resolve disputes with the help of neutral mediators by way of compromise and to anchor them in contracts. Furthermore, one tries to counteract an escalation of political and military disputes and crisis situations by reaching agreements beforehand. Hardliners and conservatives , who fear a loss of their own strengths, express criticism of the policy of détente .

Relaxation and rapprochement on the German-German question

In Germany, the reign of Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt was shaped by the policy of détente. Due to the Cold War , the arms race and the constant confrontation between the Eastern and Western powers, he held talks with Poland in 1969 and initiated negotiations to renounce violence with the USSR , GDR and the other Warsaw Pact states . The Erfurt summit meeting with GDR head of government Willi Stoph was the symbolic prelude. With the Eastern Treaties , the new borders such as the Oder-Neisse border were recognized. Willy Brandt's kneeling at a wreath-laying ceremony in Warsaw was a further step on the way to mutual recognition. Richard Nixon , US President from the beginning of 1969 to 1974, supported (after initial skepticism) Brandt's Ostpolitik. On December 7, 1970, the Warsaw Treaty was signed by Willy Brandt and Walter Scheel (Foreign Ministers). Despite strong criticism, the initiated path was continued by the successors, which led to the reunification of Germany .

Stations of détente policy during the Cold War



  1. Full text of the declaration
  2. page 108
  3. www.bpb.de: Volume 1461