Setting the Stage in 1969:
Old Worries and New Initiatives
in the Era of Nixon and Brandt
Understanding détente and Ostpolitik, and the East German and Soviet response to them, requires an understanding of the historical context from which they arose. Hence some stage-setting is necessary before introducing the main political actors and events of the détente era. In the German context, one way to view West German Ostpolitik and East Berlin's response to it is to recognize both as the results of “lessons” learned during the irst half of the Cold War. As political scientist Alexander George has shown, political leaders often follow a personal operational code, or a “set of assumptions about the world, formed early in one's career, that tend to govern without much subsequent variation the way one responds to crises afterwards.” 1 George's colleague Jack Snyder has applied this concept to the détente and Ostpolitik negotiations over Germany, arguing that these talks can be seen as the result of “rational learning about the objective constraints and incentives of the international system.” 2 As a result, an overview of the historical events that shaped the behavioral codes of the
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Publication information: Book title: Dealing with the Devil: East Germany, Detente, and Ostpolitik, 1969-1973. Contributors: M. E. Sarotte - Author. Publisher: University North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 7.
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