Wolfgang Hölscher, Joachim Wintzer, eds. Der Auswärtige Ausschuß des Deutschen Bundestages: Sitzungsprotokolle 1969-1972. 2 vols. CD-ROM. Quellen zur Geschichte des Parlamentarismus und der politischen Parteien, Vierte Reihe: Deutschland seit 1945. Düsseldorf: Droste, 2007. clxviii + 1,783 pp. EUR 180.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-3-7700-5285-1.
Reviewed by Diethelm Prowe (Department of History, Carleton College)
Published on H-German (November, 2009)
Commissioned by Susan R. Boettcher
Drama Ostpolitik Live
This two-part volume on the minutes of the German Bundestag's foreign affairs committee makes primary sources on Ostpolitik conveniently accessible. As we have come to expect from the previous publications of this series, the editing is superb. In addition to the minutes, these tomes include all the pertinent information including agendas, attendance lists, and members' biographies, as well as major monographs and archives, referenced in the text and listed separately. In addition, a CD-ROM enables the user to search for any terms not included in the extensive name and subject indices and also provides access to any insubstantial texts edited out of the minutes.
Wolfgang Hölscher's introduction of nearly a hundred pages presents a handy history of the foreign affairs committee during this electoral period of the first social-liberal coalition, which laid the foundation of the first "Wende" in post-1945 Germany. This sketch goes well beyond the basic facts of the formation, structure, membership, and work of the committee to offer an analysis of its role as mediator and facilitator in effecting the contentious foreign policy shift of West Germany, and even reflects on the parts played by the committee's leaders, especially its chairman, Gerhard Schröder, in the context of their own political ambitions.
This sophisticated institutional, political, and policy analysis alone raises these volumes above the status of a valuable primary source. What is more, the bulk of the minutes themselves make a great read. While not every page is dramatic, the high drama of the struggle for a new international perspective that would enable a break-out against the rigid, increasingly stagnant Cold War confrontation is palpable in these often tense deliberations. In the German context, hardened Cold War positions often blended with outdated misconceptions of the nation, especially among older Germans, and cut across party lines as well as those between government and opposition, which almost toppled the government.
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Diethelm Prowe. Review of Hölscher, Wolfgang; Wintzer, Joachim, eds., Der Auswärtige Ausschuß des Deutschen Bundestages: Sitzungsprotokolle 1969-1972.
H-German, H-Net Reviews.
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