West Germany and Israel

Fink, Carole, West Germany and Israel. Foreign Relations, Domestic Politics, and the Cold War, 1965–1974, Cambridge University Press, janvier 2019, 368 p.


By the late 1960s, West Germany and Israel were moving in almost opposite diplomatic directions in a political environment dominated by the Cold War. The Federal Republic launched ambitious policies to reconcile with its Iron Curtain neighbors, expand its influence in the Arab world, and promote West European interests vis-à-vis the United States. By contrast, Israel, unable to obtain peace with the Arabs after its 1967 military victory and threatened by Palestinian terrorism, became increasingly dependent upon the United States, estranged from the USSR and Western Europe, and isolated from the Third World. Nonetheless, the two countries remained connected by shared security concerns, personal bonds, and recurrent evocations of the German-Jewish past. Drawing upon newly-available sources covering the first decade of the countries’ formal diplomatic ties, Carole Fink reveals the underlying issues that shaped these two countries’ fraught relationship and sets their foreign and domestic policies in a global context.

  • By examining the leading decision-makers in both countries, it clarifies how political clashes occurred but also how bilateral difficulties were overcome
  • Based upon new documentary material from both West Germany and Israel, as well as archival records from Britain, France, the United States, and Russia
  • Sets the foreign-policy decisions and domestic politics of the two countries in a global context

About the author

Carole Fink is Humanities Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at the Ohio State University. She is the author of many books, including Cold War: An International History (2017), and Writing 20th Century International History: Explorations and Examples (2017). She was twice awarded the George Louis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association for Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, and International Minority Protection, 1878–1938 (Cambridge, 2004), and The Genoa Conference: European Diplomacy 1921–1922 (1984).

Table of contents

List of figures and maps



A note on usage

List of abbreviations

1. Prologue: distant states – West Germany and Israel, 1952–65

2. The shock of recognition: 1965–66

3. Upheaval

4. 1968

5. Changes in leadership: 1969

6. Ostpolitik

7. 1971: a dense political web

8. The year of Munich

9. Annus Terribilis

10. Finale: Exeunt Meir and Brandt





Couverture de Fink, West Germany and Israel, 2019

Emilia Robin

Chercheuse associée à l'UMR SIRICE. Violons d'Ingres : guerre froide, médiation scientifique, logiciels libres

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