If one can say – in a reas­on­able first approx­im­a­tion – that the world between 1945 and 1991 was the res­ult of the Second World War, the Cold War and the race of the super­powers, the changes which occurred in the 1990s were not pos­sible without the end of the East-West dicho­tomy, the end of what was called the “East Bloc” or, as some had it, the “Evil Empire”.

Fran­cis Fukuyama hailed it:

“... What we may be wit­ness­ing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a par­tic­u­lar peri­od of post-war his­tory, but the end of his­tory as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideo­lo­gic­al evol­u­tion and the uni­ver­sal­iz­a­tion of West­ern lib­er­al demo­cracy as the final form of human gov­ern­ment.”

We know bet­ter by now, in a world in which some meas­ures of states which were once described as mon­sters have become the nor­mal means of state­craft – sur­veil­lance of every cit­izen. I fore­go here an ana­lys­is of how the cham­pi­on of demo­cracy and free­dom of thought, the USA, have changed bey­ond recog­ni­tion and every­body else in its wake.

Non­ethe­less, the new Ger­man “Ost­politik” or ‘East­ern Policy’ of the 1960s has indeed paved the way for the end of the Cold War – which is per­haps its greatest accom­plish­ment (that in many coun­tries recently old-fash­ion-minded lead­ers have come to prom­in­ence and lead­er­ship will be a mat­ter, per­haps, for anoth­er post).

Here is an out­line of the New Ger­man Ost­politik:

Links to the Eng­lish ver­sion and the Ger­man ori­gin­al (which includes the appen­dices, bib­li­o­graphy etc., for those inclined to check).

© John Vin­cent Pal­at­ine 2019

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