Ostpolitik was the major strategic innovation of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). It signaled the emergence of a more assertive and emancipated West Germany after twenty years of a semi-sovereign foreign policy. In some important ways it also marked the beginning of a more “normal” FRG foreign policy. By taking the initiative, Chancellor Willy Brandt acted on his recognition that the German question would not be settled by the superpowers but needed a major impulse from within West Germany. Brandt's acceptance of the losses of World War II and of German responsibility for that catastrophe, symbolized by his kneeling at the Warsaw Ghetto in 1970, opened the door to acceptance of the FRG as a reliable partner for...

You do not currently have access to this content.