50 years of détente in Central Europe PDF Print E-mail

Earlier this week, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The political outcome of this meeting was disappointing, the occasion was the more important, even though there were only short mentioning of it in the Western media.

The foreign ministers met on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Moscow Treaty of 12 August 1970, which was the first step towards a policy of détente in Central Europe after the years of the Cold War.

Here both countries committed themselves to maintain international peace based on the United Nations Charter and to promote the process of détente. In this spirit, the two states undertake to respect the existing borders in Europe and not to make any territorial claims. In particular, the Oder-Neisse Line as the western border of the People's Republic of Poland and the border between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany have thus been declared inviolable.

It sounds today banal that states declared the inviolability of borders in Central Europe. Nevertheless, it was the result not only of diplomatic negotiations but also of a broad political movement in the FRG that had developed against revanchism and the revision of the results of the Second World War. Only the social-liberal government under Willy Brandt / Walter Scheel was able to sign such treaties.

This treaty was followed in December 1970 by the Warsaw Treaty, in September 1971 by the Four-Power Agreement on the status of West Berlin and in December 1972 by the Basic Treaty between the FRG and the GDR, which made it possible for diplomatic relations to be established between the two German states. Thus, the FRG and the GDR joined the United Nations as equal states.

How complicated the recognition of post-war realities and the renunciation of territories and financial claims were at that time, became apparent in the negotiations with the CSSR. The Prague Treaty could only be signed in December 1973. Points of contention were the invalidity of the Munich Dictate of September 1938 on the cession of the Sudetenland from the beginning and the compensation of German expellees after 1945.

The consequences of these treaties was the basis for the process of European détente initiated by the USSR, which, after two years of negotiations in Geneva from 18 September 1973 to 21 July 1975, culminated in the CSCE Final Act in Helsinki on 1 August 1975.

FIR reminds of the fact that organizations of the extreme right and revanchist organizations up to the CDU/CSU offered massive resistance against this policy of détente. The German anti-fascist association VVN-BdA was at that time an active part of the broad social movement in the FRG, which was founded under the slogan "Never again fascism! Never again war!" for the ratification of these treaties.

With view of this period of the peaceful development in Central Europe, the FIR demands all states to return to a dialogue-oriented policy between west and Eastern Europe, including Russia.

FIR (Fédération Internationale des Résistantes - Association des Antifascistes)