The Long Détente: Changing Concepts of Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1950s-1980s

The Long Détente: Changing Concepts of Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1950s-1980s

The Long Détente: Changing Concepts of Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1950s-1980s

The Long Détente: Changing Concepts of Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1950s-1980s

Synopsis

"This book sets out to discuss what has been termed as the 'second Cold War,' that is, the deterioration of superpower-relations in the late 1970s and 1980s. Its goal is to present the European perspective on this period. As such, it is a collection of pieces of evidence, which--taken together--leads to an argument that goes against the grain of the established narrative. This is the argument that a 'long détente' existed between East and West, that it existed and lasted for good (economic, security-political, societal) reason, and that it had a profound impact on the eventual outcome of the conflict between East and West and the quintessentially peaceful framework in which this 'endgame' was played. The attractiveness of the book stems from its combination of profound research, resulting in an argument that runs against the grain of conventional wisdom"--Provided by publisher.

Excerpt

Oliver Bange and Poul Villaume

Research and Controversies

“Détente”—a term that describes the antagonistic cooperation between the capitalist-liberal states of the West and the communist-ruled countries of the Warsaw Pact—has become something of a swearword and even, as it seems, a taboo topic in international and especially Anglo-American mainstream historiography of the Cold War. To concede that détente had a substantial stake in the outcome of the conflict between East and West appears to many younger scholars to be an unnecessary move that may jeopardize their academic career. At best, European scholars writing in Anglo-American publications such as the recent Oxford Handbook of the Cold War deal away with détente in a sentence or a paragraph, sometimes almost unwillingly admitting its “unintended consequences for the Eastern bloc.” At worst, détente and with it an entire influential era of that momentous conflict between societal systems is hardly mentioned at all.

This was the case with the otherwise highly detailed cnn webpage on the Cold War. It mentioned Willy Brandt only once, as West Berlin’s mayor in 1961, the year the Berlin Wall was built, and not once as West

For the term, see Link, Der Ost-West-Konflikt. See also the debate amongst historians in the 1990s on the methodological value of Jürgen Habermas’ theory of communicative acting. Habermas, Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns. Müller, “Internationale Beziehungen”; Habermas, “Entgegnung.”

a notable exception is the two works by Loth, Overcoming the Cold War; the same, “Was war der Kalte Krieg?” Remarkably, neither publication was included in the list of Loth’s publications, edited by Bachem-Rehm, Hiepel and Türk, Teilungen überwinden.

Etges, “Western Europe,” devotes one sentence (169), Stöver, “Eastern Europe,” (178f) one paragraph to détente.

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