West European Policies
toward the East
The recent metamorphosis of the European political scene, resulting from the rapid decline of communism in what used to be referred to as the Soviet bloc, has brought about a bewildering alteration of political boundaries and geographic benchmarks. Countries that were once regarded as forming part of Eastern Europe are now labeled either as Central European or East Central European, or as part of Southeastern Europe. On the other hand, the newly reunited German state, considered before 1914 and between the two world wars to be a Central European power, has been so closely aligned with NATO and with the European Community over the past forty-odd years that it has to be classified as part of Western Europe, even after the accession of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany).
This chapter stresses the foreign policies of the four most powerful Western states: Britain, Italy, France, and Germany. I refer to West Germany (the German Federal Republic) before 1990 and then to the reunited German Federal Republic. The chapter targets the areas of the former Soviet Union and East Central Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia through 1992, and East Germany and Hungary before 1990). Bulgaria, Romania, and the former Yugoslavia will only be referred to in passing because of space limitations.
Since it becomes cumbersome to maintain fine geographical distinctions like that between east central Europe and southeastern Eu