Introduction
Contextualising reconciliation
in Israelpolitik
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The rapprochement between Germany and Israel in the aftermath of the Holocaust is one of the most striking political developments of the twentieth century. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently referred to it as a ‘miracle’. But how did this ‘miracle’ come about? Drawing upon sources from both sides of the Iron Curtain, this book reflects on the contradictions and dilemmas that shaped the making of German–Israeli relations at the outset of the global Cold War. The book is structured around a three-phase periodisation, from November 1949 to March 1955 (marked by Adenauer’s declaration that the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) was ready to pay restitutions to the State of Israel for the Nazi persecution of the Jews, and by the East German refusal to do the same); April 1956 to February 1960 (characterised by the entanglement of the German–German Cold War and the Arab-Israeli rivalries in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis); and finally from March 1961 to October 1969 (characterised by the Eichmann trial, the establishment of official diplomatic relations between West Germany and Israel and by East Germany’s attempts to galvanise the discontent of West Germany’s Arab partners). By breaking this twenty-year period into three different phases, the book identifies the major changes in East and West German policy-making and, in each phase, it analyses why they took place at that particular point, and how they affected the overall dynamics of German–Israeli relations, the Cold War, and of the Arab–Israeli conflict.

Israelpolitik

German–Israeli relations, 1949–69

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