The Origins of MBFR: West German Policy Priorities and Conventional Arms Control

Bluth, C.
April 2000
War in History;Apr2000, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p199
Academic Journal
Negotiations on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions, 1973–86, continued for a long time without progress. Research in East German archives confirms that the Warsaw Pact sought to protect its existing advantage in conventional forces in Europe. The conventional view is that the Western side was against any reductions and that the political objectives of the talks (for the Eastern side the conclusion of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), for the Western side the maintenance of domestic support for troop commitments to Europe) were achieved without any progress in the negotiations. This view is challenged by research in German archives which shows that for a time there was strong support in the West German government for far more ambitious goals, seeing the talks as a mechanism to affect fundamentally the structure of European security on the basis of more radical force reductions. This paper analyses these documents in the context of West German Ostpolitik and Alliance politics.


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