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The Economic Diplomacy of <i>Ostpolitik</i>: Origins of NATO's Energy Dilemma

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The Economic Diplomacy of Ostpolitik

Origins of NATO's Energy Dilemma

Werner D. Lippert

260 pages, 11 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-750-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2010)

eISBN 978-1-84545-574-3 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


In both narrative and interpretation Lippert offers a persuasive story… it is a solid contribution to our understanding of a crucial part of Cold War history.”  ·  Journal of Cold War Studies

Economic relations between Western countries and the Soviet Union during the 1970s are hardly researched. Werner Lippert has to be credited for tackling this deficit and writing a well researched and readable book that challenges conventional wisdoms and raises provocative points. Whereas EastWest trade and economics have so far been at the  far margins of most historiography of Ostpolitik, Lippert places it front and centre.  ·  European History Quarterly

The book addresses an important subject (‘détente’) and one in which there is considerable interest…It balances well politics, economics, and the personalities/mindsets of the principal figures (Brandt, Nixon, and Kissinger).  ·  Robert Mark Spaulding, University of North Carolina


Despite the consensus that economic diplomacy played a crucial role in ending the Cold War, very little research has been done on the economic diplomacy during the crucial decades of the 1970s and 1980s. This book fills the gap by exploring the complex interweaving of East–West political and economic diplomacies in the pursuit of détente. The focus on German chancellor Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik reveals how its success was rooted in the usage of energy trade and high tech exchanges with the Soviet Union. His policies and visions are contrasted with those of U.S. President Richard Nixon and the Realpolitik of Henry Kissinger. The ultimate failure to coordinate these rivaling détente policies, and the resulting divide on how to deal with the Soviet Union, left NATO with an energy dilemma between American and European partners—one that has resurfaced in the 21st century with Russia’s politicization of energy trade. This book is essential for anyone interested in exploring the interface of international diplomacy, economic interest, and alliance cohesion.

Werner D. Lippert is an Assistant Professor of History and a Fellow at the John P Murtha Institute for Homeland Security at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. His research interests include Cold War diplomacy, alliance politics, and East–West trade. He is currently working on NATO policies and international energy security in the 21st century with a particular emphasis on political dependencies caused by natural gas imports and exports.

Subject: Postwar History
Area: Germany



Chapter 1. Détente, Trade, and the Alliance in the 1960s.

  • Pro-American Ostpolitik – nothing but East-West trade
  • Kennedy’s Use of East-West trade as a Political Tool
  • The Busted Pipeline Deal of 1962
  • Johnson’s Ambivalence to East-West trade
  • Brandt’s Ostpolitik is forming

Chapter 2. Of Honeymoons and Idealism (1968-1970)

  • Nixon’s Vision of a Responsible Europe
  • Exploring Osthandel in 1968/9
  • Domestic and International Dissent to a new Osthandel
  • Nixon’s concepts on East-West trade
  • Initial Ostpolitik: Brandt’s Honeymoon Period
  • The first Gas-Pipeline Deal
  • The Inter–German Summit Meeting: The Rude Awakening
  • The German-American Summit on >Ostpolitik in April 1970
  • Eastern Dilemmas with Détente

Chapter 3. Westhandel and the Alliance (1970-1972)

  • The Need for Soviet Westhandel
  • Western Imports: The Kama River Plant
  • Soviet Exports: Energy Resources
  • The German Paradigm Shift of the Soviet Union towards a “Normal” State
  • Using Westhandel as a Wedge in NATO
  • Clashes within the Alliance over East-West Trade
  • West Berlin, Trade, and the Eastern Treaties
  • An Independent West-German Diplomacy?

Chapter 4. The Origins of NATO’s Energy Dilemma (1972-1974)

  • Superpower Détente
  • Systemic Shifts in the Soviet Union
  • Ostpolitik in the Crossfire
  • The Brezhnev Summits in Germany and the U.S.
  • Cementing Superpower Detente and the Middle East Crisis
  • The Transatlantic Rift Emerges
  • Reviving West European-Soviet Trade

Chapter 5. Helsinki and the Fall of Détente (1975-1982)

  • The Blessing and the Curse
  • West Germany as the Villain
  • Ford’s Lack of Direction
  • Jimmy Carter’s Human Rights Campaign
  • Afghanistan Crisis and Carter’s Embargo
  • Reagan’s Push for Alliance Solidarity

Conclusion: A Permanent Energy Dilemma for the West?


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