The long détente: changing concepts of security and cooperation in Europe, 1950s–1980s. Edited by Oliver Bange and Poul Villaume

Book launch with fellow stephan kieninger

Mon, 5/8/2017, 10:00 am
Danish Institute for International Studies
Gl. Kalkbrænderi Vej 51A
2100 Copenhagen


The seminar will be in English.

Participation is free of charge, but registration until Friday, May 5, 2017 is required. Please use the online registration form.

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) and the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen are presenting the new edited volume by Oliver Bange and Poul Villaume. Both editors and contributers - among them fellow Stephan Kieninger - will present their findings on occasion of this book launch. 

The book presents pieces of evidence, which – taken together – lead to an argument that goes against the grain of the established Cold War narrative. The argument is that a "long détente" existed between East and West from the 1950s to the 1980s, that it existed and lasted for good (economic, national security, societal) reasons, and that it had a profound impact on the outcome of the conflict between East and West and the quintessentially peaceful framework in which this "endgame" was played.

New, Euro-centered narratives are offered, including both West and East European perspectives. These contributions point to critical inconsistencies and inherent problems in the traditional US dominated narrative of the "Victory in the Cold War." The argument of a "long détente" does not need to replace the ruling American narrative. Rather, it can and needs to be augmented with European experiences and perceptions. After all, it was Europe – its peoples, societies, and states – that stood both at the ideological and military frontline of the conflict between East and West, and it was here that the struggle between liberalism and communism was eventually decided.

The event is jointly arranged by DIIS and the Saxo Institute of the University of Copenhagen.

Read more about the book:




Welcome and introduction
Gry Thomasen (Postdoc, DIIS)


Background and key arguments of the book
Oliver Bange (Senior Historian at the Centre for Military History and Social Sciences of the German Armed Forces, Potsdam, and lecturer at the University of Mannheim)


The specific détente policies of Denmark and other smaller European countries
Poul Villaume (Professor of Contemporary History, Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen)


Perception of the Other: “Kremlinologists” and “Westerners”
East and West German analysts and their mutual perceptions, 1977–1985
Sabine Loewe-Hannatzsch (PhD student, University of Mannheim)


Between power politics and morality. The United States, the long détente and the transformation of Europe, 1969–1985
Stephan Kieninger (Fellow of the Berlin Center for Cold War Studies)


Lyndon B. Johnson and the building of East-West bridges. Catching up with détente in Europe, 1963–1966
Gry Thomasen (Postdoc, DIIS)


New security concepts and transnational party networks, 1976–1983. The Socialist International, Scandilux and the overcoming of the crisis of détente
Rasmus Mariager (Associate Professor, Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen)


Coffee break