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A State of Peace in Europe: West Germany and the CSCE, 1966-1975

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Volume 10

Contemporary European History

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A State of Peace in Europe

West Germany and the CSCE, 1966-1975

Petri Hakkarainen

Made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license with support from Knowledge Unlatched.

304 pages, 7 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-293-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2011)

View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Hakkarainen’s monograph derives from a prize-winning dissertation, and the accolades are well deserved. The research base is admirably wide-ranging…[This is] an excellent study that constitutes essential reading for historians of détente in Europe…One can only hope that other researchers will write as fluidly and skillfully about those conferences—or about that other grindingly slow multilateral framework of the 1970s and 1980s: the talks on MBFR (Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions). Hakkarainen’s book provides a worthy model.  ·  German Studies Review

Petri Hakkarainen deserves commendation for his thorough and well-researched account of West German government strategies and actions with regard to the CSCE between 1966 and 1975. This is true in particular for his refusal to write deterministic history from hindsight...This book is a very solid, reliable, and convincing piece of history on policy deliberations and diplomatic negotiations conducted by the West German government.  ·  American Historical Review

 “Hakkarainen’s study makes an important historiographical contribution alongside its empirical one. The author admonishes his readers: the CSCE together with the new Ostpolitik, which in his account are intimately linked, would indeed prove instrumental in ending the Cold War and bringing about German reunification, but this does not at all justify reading history backwards from the watershed years of 1989–91…For Hakkarainen, the infiltration of triumphalist narratives into histories of the CSCE, as well as of détente more broadly, must therefore be resolutely opposed and the history of the Cold War ought to be written ‘without prejudices based in the events of 1989–90’.  ·  German History

“West-Germany and the CSCE, 1966–1975is concisely written and develops our understanding of the pre-history of the CSCE, the FRG’s role vis-à-vis its Western allies and the complex linkages between its Ostpolitik and its interests in the CSCE.  ·  Journal of Contemporary History

In a balanced way the author blends German views with those from Britain, France, and the United States, using these countries’ official documents as well. His book represents a very serious piece of scholarship and is interesting to read. It excels with a novel hypothesis, a very careful use of varied archival sources, and an ability not to lose his argument in the wealth of material.  ·  Helga Haftendorn, Free University, Berlin

I don't know of any other book that deals so thoroughly with German CSCE policy in the years described here…The author has done a vast amount of research, using documents from different archives and different countries…While he is of course not the first scholar to write about the origins of the CSCE, the author does contribute new elements and interpretations to the topic.”  ·  Benedikt Schönborn, University of Tampere, Centre for Advanced Study


From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s West German foreign policy underwent substantial transformations: from bilateral to multilateral, from reactive to proactive. The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was an ideal setting for this evolution, enabling the Federal Republic to take the lead early on in Western preparations for the conference and to play a decisive role in the actual East–West negotiations leading to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. Based on extensive original research of recently released documents, spanning more than fifteen archives in eight countries, this study is a substantial contribution to scholarly discussions on the history of détente, the CSCE and West German foreign policy. The author stresses the importance of looking beyond the bipolarity of the Cold War decades and emphasizes the interconnectedness of European integration and European détente. He highlights the need to place the genesis of the CSCE conference in its historical context rather than looking at it through the prism of the events of 1989, and shows that the bilateral and multilateral elements (Ostpolitik and the CSCE) were parallel rather than successive phenomena, parts of the same complex process and in constant interaction with each other.

Petri Hakkarainen received his doctorate in Modern History from the University of Oxford in 2008. In 2009 he was awarded the Willy Brandt Prize for the 'advancement of outstanding young scholars' by the Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation. He joined the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 2006 and worked at the Finnish Embassy in Berlin until the summer of 2012. He then spent over a year as Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, focusing on the European and international dimensions of the German energy transition. Since September 2013 he has been Deputy Director for Policy Planning and Research at the Finnish MFA in Helsinki.

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Germany

A State of Peace in Europe by Petri Hakkarainen is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) with support from Knowledge Unlatched.

OA ISBN: 978-1-78920-107-9


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