One of the most moving and courageous acts that took place during the four decade long cold war between the Soviet Union and the West took place on December 7, 1970 when, in an overdue but necessary act of contrition for the barbarous crimes committed by Nazi Germany, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt traveled to Warsaw and knelt before a memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Brandt’s “eastern policy” or, Ostpolitik, was based on the idea of “change through rapprochement” with the communist states to the east: East Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union. His attempt to initiate a thaw in the Cold War was anticipated by the policies pursued by French president Charles de Gaulle, who pursued a normalization of relations with both China and the USSR. It was from de Gaulle, after all, whom U.S. president Richard Nixon borrowed the term detente to characterize his own policy towards the communist powers.
And today, developments in both France and Germany suggest their desire to return to a policy of Ostpolitik. On June 23, The Financial Times reported that “German chancellor Angela Merkel hopes that the European Union will consider inviting the Russian President to participate in a summit with EU leaders, an initiative supported by French President Emmanuel Macron.”Läs artikel