Dealing with the Devil: East Germany, Detente, and Ostpolitik, 1969-1973

By M. E. Sarotte | Go to book overview
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three
Discovering the Perils of Bargaining in the
Second Half of 1970: The Moscow Treaty,
the Quadripartite Talks, and the Beginning
of the End for Ulbricht

The commencement of face-to-face conversations revealed to all sides that there would be costs to pay for détente. Those who found themselves in the role of helpless spectators to the events of Erfurt—namely, the Soviets and the members of the SED Politburo who doubted the wisdom of Ulbricht's course— were especially worried about the risks involved and felt the need to limit potential damage. In the second half of 1970, Moscow and a growing antiUlbricht faction joined in a desire to manage the risks of German-German rapprochement. Their efforts constrained negotiations both from without and from within.

From without, the Soviets applied pressure on their German ally to cooperate less with the FRG and more with the USSR. Moscow was particularly interested in keeping the SED sidelined while it inished its own negotiations with West Germany. In a striking parallel, available documentation suggests that the United States similarly disagreed with its own German ally about how quickly negotiations should proceed. The fact that both the USSR and the United States worried more about the pace and control of negotiations than about whether or

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