Ending cold war divisions and establishing new partnerships
German unification and the transformation of German-Polish relations
The Solidarity-led roundtable negotiations in Poland in June 1989 and subsequent peaceful transition to the first postcommunist government to be freely elected briefly caught the world's attention but was overshadowed by the tragic events at Tiananmen Square. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November that year came to epitomize the transformation and unification of Europe.1 Much of the literature covering the transformations in Central and Eastern Europe during this period centers on the impact of Soviet foreign policy on the dramatic changes in the Eastern Bloc. Many historians and political scientists continue to overlook just how uncertain the early post-Cold War European continent was and how far the independently transitioning Central European states moved beyond Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev's vision of reforming the bloc (as outlined in Robert Snyder and Timothy J. White's chapter) to move closer to the goal of European integration under the EU and ultimately NATO. Polish efforts to transform diplomatic relations with a rapidly unifying Germany are part of this unrecognized transformation. As Ilya Prizel argues, "only Poland seemed to understand from the start that German unification was unstoppable and that Warsaw's interests would be best served by accepting the inevitable and using the unification process to normalize Polish-German relations."2
Murphy, J. (2011)., Ending cold war divisions and establishing new partnerships: German unification and the transformation of German-Polish relations, in K. Gerstenberger & J. Evans Braziel (eds.), After the Berlin wall, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 105-125.
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