The story of Germany’s reunification after 1989 has been told and retold many times. This book puts it into an historical perspective. For, as the author rightly points out, the interaction between Russia and Germany was ‘one of the defining international relationships of the twentieth century’. In the past, it represented a clash between two authoritarian and nationalist regimes – with Central Europe left as a buffer in between.
The author’s main focus, however, is on the period of the Cold War and especially the years immediately before and after the opening of the Berlin Wall. The post-war division of Germany had led to a prolonged stalemate that nevertheless suited a number of people in both East and West. But in the early 1970s, Moscow allowed a limited rapprochement between the two parts of Germany; which developed into a degree of mutual interdependence.