15 Introduction The aim of this book is to provide an evaluation of the British attitude to the Ost- and Deutschlandpolitik of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the Soviet call for a European Security Conference (ESC) during the period of détente in Europe. More specifically, the book discusses the evolution of the British view of the Federal Republic’s policy towards the Soviet bloc states since the opening of diplomatic relations between Bonn and Moscow in September 1955, a few months following the Federal Republic’s adhesion to NATO and the establish- ment of the Warsaw Pact in May 1955, and the signing on 1 August 1975 of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in Helsinki, which marked the peak of détente and of Willy Brandt’s Neue Ostpolitik and Deutschlandpolitik. The book ar- gues that since the early 1960s Britain saw the evolution of the German question and the calls for a European security conference as two issues in close connection. In the eyes of British decision-makers, the Soviet pro- posal for a European security conference was aimed in fact at solving a fundamental issue in East-West relations: designing a lasting solution for the German problem.1 During this period, Britain provided ‘firm 1 The proposal of an international conference on European security has its origins in the early 1950s when the Soviet Union first called for the creation of an all- European security conference. In 1954, at a meeting of Foreign...
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