prague '68, ostpolitik, SALT, detente and the opening of china by nixon  

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   US President Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai toast, February 25, 1972. This image is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.  casahistoria - web site for students of modern history!

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casahistoria is recommended by many sites including:




Origins of the Cold War go to the casahistoria sit for extensive links to the start of the Cold war  



1. The Prague Spring

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The Soviet Union & Eastern Europe For background to the communist control of Czechoslovakia see also this casahistoria page.


Events Images, Documents & Witness accounts Key Figures:




2. Ostpolitik

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  • Ostpolitik Concise explanation from Spartacus educational website. Good place start
  • Ostpolitik and Willy Brandt Two 1995 overview articles from US Library of Congress
  • The Ostpolitik of the Federal Republic of Germany Concise account from German Foreign Ministry. Links to actual Ostpolitik trateies/documents.
  • Ostpolitik – the Hidden Agenda 2003 article by Dr. Oliver Bange, Mannheim University. Looks at how Ostpolitik was designed to prepare for German unification through undermining Communism by exposing the people under its rule to Western values and by  devising  an all-European Security System, to take care of the legitimate security concerns of all nations.
  • Site produced by Mannheim University. Limited overview but good source of (academic) articles on most aspects of Ostpolitik
  • "Change through Rapprochement" Egon Bahr's key 1963 speech which emphasizes Germany’s special role in overcoming the entrenched East-West conflict in Europe signalling a change of course in the Social Democrats’ policies towards East Germany and the Communist states of Eastern Europe - Ostpolitik.
  • The Ostpolitik of the Vatican and the Polish Pope Useful chapter (book uncredited) looks at changes to Vatican policy after the election of a Polish pope. By Hansjakob Stehl
Willy Brandt
  • Did Ostpolitik Work? Did Germany's détente with the Soviet Union and East Germany drive the reunification of 1989? Or was it overshadowed by America's pressure on the Soviet Union? Useful Foreign Affairs review of Timothy Garton Ash's 1993 book by Gordon A. Craig, Prof of Humanities Emeritus at Stanford University.





3. Detente, SALT Arms Limitations and Helsinki

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The Weapons under Discussion


Wider background Go to the casahistoria site on The Thaw for further background and the 1963 Test Ban Treaty.

Key elements of Detente, 1966 - 81:





4. Nixon and China

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Mao's China Go to the casahistoria site on Mao for further background on Communist China at the time of the visit.  

  Documents & Witnesses





5.General Sites on the Cold War  

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  • Cold War Basic outlines of key events from Spartacus Educational. Good place to make a start and includes
  • Cold War Figures - biographies of major figures from this time period.
  • Cold War Excellent school resource for students beginning to look at the Cold War
  • NATO Declassified Interesting site by NATO itself. Includes timelines, straightforward accounts of key stages in the NATO & the Cold War, documents, videos
  • The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) Useful site presenting new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War, in particular new findings from previously inaccessible sources from the former Communist world.
  • Vint Hill Cold War Museum Useful online museum that is easy to use with links to virtual exhibits, overview articles, photo galleries, documents, newsletters and many other collections of cold war related material set out clearly by decade.
  • BBC - History: Cold War a series of articles on key aspects of the Cold War from the BBC educational site.


  • The Cold War Files Very good site produced by Wilson Center for Peace for interpreting history of the Cold War through Documents. Includes clear overview items on events and bios on key figures.
  • European Navigator Useful topic documents (speeches/actual agreements/ newspaper articles & images on the post 1945 period from a west European perspective. Use the " historical  events" folder on the left to find your area of study. Well produced by the European Community.
  • Avalon Project at Yale Excellent range of documents from the 20th Century Documents : 1900 - 1999 list
  • The CAESAR, POLO, and ESAU Papers This thorough collection of declassified analytic monographs and reference aids, designated within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) as the CAESAR, ESAU, and POLO series, highlights the CIA's efforts from the 1950s through the mid-1970s to pursue in-depth research on Soviet and Chinese internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations. The documents reflect the views of seasoned analysts who had followed closely their special areas of research and whose views were shaped in often heated debate.
  • Presidential Nuclear Policies & Events Useful selected documents on US Presidential policy towards nuclear weapons from Nuclear power Peace Foundation:
  • Harry Truman | Dwight Eisenhower | John Kennedy | Lyndon Johnson | Richard Nixon Gerald Ford | Jimmy Carter | Ronald Reagan | George H. W. Bush



the casahistoria Cold War sites:  

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Origins of the Cold War
Divided Germany, 1945-49
Korean War
Thaw to Cuban Missile Crisis

Space Race
Vietnam War
Prague'68, Ostpolitik, Detente and China
The End of the Cold War



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