Russia and Germany Reborn: Unification, the Soviet Collapse, and the New Europe

Angela Stent, Author Princeton University Press $47.5 (320p) ISBN 978-0-691-05965-5
After two chapters that recapitulate WWI, WWII, the division of Germany, the Cold War and the era of detente, Stent (From Embargo to Ostpolitik), a professor of government at Georgetown, turns her attention to the course of Russian-German relations since Gorbachev ascended to power in Moscow. She emphasizes both the continuity and the unexpectedness in relations between Russia and Germany once Gorbachev's domestic program of perestroika began to bleed into the realm of foreign affairs. Gorbachev and the Communist Party, she writes, had no intention of facilitating the reunification of Germany, but history outran their capacity to manage events. Meanwhile, Germany, under Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, was determined to see unification, whatever the economic cost. Because Russia was beset with conflicts between Gorbachev's redefined foreign policy and increasing domestic turmoil, Gorbachev and his foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, were forced to make uncomfortable geopolitical concessions in return for German aid. Following events up to the present, with particular focus on the expansion of NATO--over the strenuous but impotent objections of Boris Yeltsin--into the former Soviet bloc, Stent provides a concise history of Russian-German relations after the Cold War and persuasively argues that, whatever transpires, the relationship between the two countries will be as decisive in shaping the European futire as it was in shaping the past. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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