The Long Détente

Changing Concepts of Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1950s–1980s
ISBN: 
978-963-386-127-1
cloth
$65.00 / €60.00 / £52.00
Publication date: 
2017
360 pages

This book presents pieces of evidence, which – taken together – lead to an argument that goes against the grain of the established Cold War narrative. The argument is that a “long détente” existed between East and West from the 1950s to the 1980s, that it existed and lasted for good (economic, national security, societal) reasons, and that it had a profound impact on the outcome of the conflict between East and West and the quintessentially peaceful framework in which this “endgame” was played.

New, Euro-centered narratives are offered, including both West and East European perspectives. These contributions point to critical inconsistencies and inherent problems in the traditional U.S. dominated narrative of the “Victory in the Cold War.” The argument of a “long détente” does not need to replace the ruling American narrative. Rather, it can and needs to be augmented with European experiences and perceptions. After all, it was Europe – its peoples, societies, and states – that stood both at the ideological and military frontline of the conflict between East and West, and it was here that the struggle between liberalism and communism was eventually decided. 

Acronyms and Abbreviations
Introduction
Oliver Bange and Poul Villaume

PART I: LONG PERSPECTIVES ON DÉTENTE

East-West Conflict: Short Cold War and Long Détente
An Essay on Terminology and Periodization
Gottfried Niedhart

The Long Détente and the Soviet Bloc, 1953–1983
Csaba Békés

PART II: EAST-WEST TRADE
Soviet Snowdrops in the Ice Age?
The Surprising Attempt of an Early Economic Détente in 1952
Mikhail Lipkin
European Long-Term Investments in Détente
The Implications of East-West Economic Cooperation
Werner Lippert

PART III: THE INEXTRACTABILITY OF EXTERNAL AND DOMESTIC SECURITY
No End to “Political Ideological Diversion”
The Stasi Perspective as Circumstantial Evidence for a Long Détente
Oliver Bange

New Security Concepts and Transnational Party Networks, 1976–1983
The Socialist International, Scandilux, and the Overcoming of the Crisis of Détente
Rasmus Mariager

PART IV: DÉTENTE IN EUROPE: CHANGE IN PERCEPTIONS

Continuity and Transformation
Alternate Visions of Italy’s Three Decades of Détente
Laura Fasanaro

Perception of the Other: “Kremlinologists” and “Westerners”
East and West German Analysts and Their Mutual Perceptions, 1977–1985
Sabine Loewe-Hannatzsch

PART V: DÉTENTE IN EUROPE: CHANGE IN DIPLOMATIC FRAMINGS

Pathfinders and Perpetuators of Détente
Small States of NATO and the Long Détente: The Case of Denmark, 1969–1989
Poul Villaume

Overcoming the Crisis of Détente, 1979−1983
Coordinating Eastern Policies between Paris, Bonn, and London
Christian Wenkel

PART VI: THE U.S. STORY: FROM COOPERATION TO CONFRONTATION AND BACK

Lyndon B. Johnson and the Building of East-West Bridges
Catching Up with Détente in Europe, 1963–1966
Gry Thomasen

Between Power Politics and Morality
The United States, the Long Détente, and the Transformation of Europe, 1969–1985
Stephan Kieninger

Select Bibliography
Index
About the Editors and Contributors

Choice

"The volume offers a corrective via a Eurocentric narrative that examines economic and political overtures dating to the early 1950s between European countries and the Eastern bloc. Chapters dealing with these matters are well researched and offer insight into episodes (like the Moscow International Economic Conference) that are little studied. As a volume on European diplomacy from the 1950s to the 1980s it is a fine contribution to the literature."

Marie-Pierre Rey, Professor of Russian and Soviet History, Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Paris

“Shifting the focus to European nations and societies, this work takes the Old Continent as the heart of the analysis, making it not a passive instrument in the hands of the two superpowers, but rather a fully-fledged actor in East-West relations. Studying détente in its many facets (strategic, geopolitical, economic and social), The Long Détente also refines the chronology and stresses the interaction between foreign policies and domestic priorities. It offers a stimulating and quite novel interpretation of East-West relations.”

Thomas Schwartz Professor of History and Political Science, Vanderbilt University, TN, USA

“Oliver Bange and Poul Villaume have assembled an impressive group of young European historians of diverse backgrounds and perspectives and have produced an important contribution to our understanding of the origins and long lasting consequences of the European détente during the Cold War. The Long Détente, with its impressive multiarchival and multinational sources, challenge existing narratives which privilege the great power politics of the United States and the Soviet Union. These articles compel a reconsideration of détente's European roots and persistence. The book is first class scholarship with implications for contemporary diplomacy aswell.”

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