Studená válka, détente a sovětský blok. Vývoj koordinace zahraniční politiky v sovětského bloku (1953– 1975)
Selected contents from this journal
Cold War, Détente and the Soviet Bloc: The Evolution of Intra-bloc Foreign Policy Coordination, 1953–1975
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The death of Joseph Stalin in March 1953 was a major turning point in the future development of the Soviet bloc. It was followed by a bitter struggle for power within the Soviet Union, which had important impacts both for the relationship between Moscow and the West and for Kremlin’s policy toward Soviet ‘allies’ in East-Central Europe. In his article, Csaba Békés analyzes how the relations inside the Soviet bloc have changed following Stalin’s death and how the position of East- Central European states has shifted over time. The author asserts that détente , which is often associated with the late 1960s and 1970s, has in fact started already in 1953 and has influenced the bipolar world, to a varying degree, ever since. Part of this development was the tacit acknowledgment of spheres of infl uence of Moscow and Washington by both superpowers and their unwillingness to react to events outside of their own spheres (demonstrated, for example, by the American reaction to the Hungarian revolution in 1956 or the Prague Spring in 1968). Another important aspect of the transforming international environment after 1953, which, as Békés points out, was not readily apparent to the contemporary witnesses, was the establishment of foreign-policy-coordination mechanisms within the Soviet bloc. The author argues convincingly that already during K hrushchev’s and especially during Brezhnev’s leadership, the countries of East-Central Europe began to play a more active role in foreign policy of the bloc, in some cases after being encouraged to do so by the Soviet Union. He illustrates this shift by the involvement of some of these countries in such issues as the mediation during the Vietnam War, or the negotiation process leading to the Helsinki Conference and the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. Despite the fact that the Soviet Union remained the ultimate ‘decider’, Moscow began to take into account the priorities of the Warsaw Pact states and began to consult her foreign policy regularly with the governments in East-Central Europe.
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