• Short Summary

    East-West German relations show little sign of improving after a serious deteriorations in the past month.

  • Description

    GVs East Berlin 1970: East German Prime Minister Willi Stoph and West German Chancellor Willy Brabdt arriving for talks and surrounded by welcoming crowds, Brandt waving to chanting crowd from window. (4 SHOTS)

    GV East and West German delegations with Stoph and Brandt seated at table. (2 SHOTS)

    GVs Old part of Berlin Wall built from shells of old houses. (2 SHOTS)

    SV & LV Woman and child standing on platform looking over wall into East Berlin.

    SV PULL BACK TO GV East German soldiers guarding wall.

    CU PULL BACK Brazhnev and Honecker in Moscow watch as Energy agreement signed and then embrace. (4 SHOTS)

    GV Brezhnev greeting Chancellor Helmut Schmidt on his arrival in Moscow. (3 SHOTS)

    CU & GVs Hokecker and generals watching Warsaw Pact exercises (4 SHOTS)

    GV NATO tanks through West German roads. (2 SHOTS)

    GV Trains in railway yard in West Berlin.

    GVs Striking railway workers milling around yards. (3 SHOTS)

    GVs Pedestrians queuing to cross border into East Berlin. (3 SHOTS)

    CU, GV, & LV Border sign and men passing through gates into East Berlin.

    Initials JS/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: East-West German relations show little sign of improving after a serious deteriorations in the past month. The crisis accelerated when East Berlin raised the minimum foreign exchange requirements for western visitors in early October for the first time since 1973. Some West Germans have speculated that this might bee the first indication of new Soviet strategy towards the West -- a return to confrontation in Central Europe. On Wednesday (22 October), a leading East German news magazine alleged that the real aim behind West Germany's detente policies towards East Berlin was to eliminate communism and destroy the East German state.

    SYNOPSIS: Former Chancellor Willy Brandt was the architect of a decade of detente between East and West Germany. In 1970, he made an historic visit to East Berlin for a meeting with Prime Minister Willi Stoph. Talks between the two Germanies took place more than ten years after the building of the Berlin Wall. Herr brandt was greeted by large, friendly crowds, that, like their leaders, called for diplomatic recognition of East Germany.

    Twenty-eight miles of wall separate West Berlin form the Eastern section, and, although agreement was reached in 1972 to allow people to travel from one side to the other, the status of the city remains as it was in 1945. But the Soviets have now handed over control of either sector to the East Germans, and the British, French and Americans have given over the majority of the day-to-day administration to city of West Berlin government.

    East Germany remains closely allied with the Kremlin and Communist Party leader, Erich Honecker, has a strong relationship with the Soviet leadership. Both the Soviets and the East Germans carefully monitored recent events in Poland and political analysts say this has resulted in the East Germans current war of words against the West.

    Brandt's successor, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, has tried to build strong links with the Kremlin as well as East Germany. And, during his visit this summer (1980), he told the Soviets that he felt detente in Europe needed to be preserved.

    Just prior to the crisis in relations between the two Germanies, their separate alliances -- the East's with the Warsaw Pace, and the West's with NATO were emphasised by military exercises on both sides of the border. Herr Honecker used the occasion to accuse the West of endangering peace by increasing their military budgets and interfering in internal affairs of other countries.

    At the same time, on the other side of the border, NATO troops staged their own exercises showing that despite Herr Schmidt's dedication to bringing the two Germanies closer together, ties with the West remain strong. And so, leaders in East Berlin have placed the blame for renewed tension in Europe squarely on the Bonn government.

    A recent strike by West German railway workers, employees of the East German Reichsbahn Railway company, created serious problems when it interrupted the delivery of supplied tot he East. The East German authorities attempted to break the strike, staged to back demands for more pay, better conditions and free trade union representation. When the strikers occupied signal boxes, they were labelled terrorists, and the East Germans accuse West Berlin police of giving protection to a terrorist attack.

    But the greatest setback occurred when the East Germans announced the increase in the amount of money West Germans will have to change when they cross into the East. The outcome will likely be less contact between East and West Germans, which many see as a major blow to detente.

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