Soviet Assessments of West Germany, 1985-1987
This chapter identifies how Soviet perspectives on West German security and East-West policy evolved in the early Gorbachev period. Assessments of the 1985-1987 periods were heavily colored by the experience of the East-West confrontation associated with the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) crisis during the early 1980s. West Germany was, indeed, seen to share responsibility for the deployment decision with the United States. Soviet analysts frequently argued that the West Germans had an interest in acquiring nuclear weapons either through production of their own or through some kind of joint agreement, most likely with France or the United States. Soviet-West German relations experienced prolonged periods of strain in the 1980s, in large part because of the INF disputes and also because a conservative government came to power in 1982. In September 1987, the long-delayed visit of East German leader Erich Honecker to West Germany finally took place.