This article analyzes Hungarian and Soviet-bloc policies vis-à-vis the German question and European security in the period preceding the signature of the Helsinki Final Act, based on extensive use of records of the Warsaw Pact's highest-level multilateral meetings. During these crucial years, the leaders of the Soviet bloc were sharply divided, and the formulation of a unified position concerning the Helsinki process was possible only after fierce internal fights between the “security-concerned” countries of the Warsaw Pact (the GDR, Poland, Czechoslovakia) and the “economy-oriented” sub-bloc (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria). Soviet leaders initially cooperated with the first group, but from 1969 on they mostly sided with the second.

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