chapter  7
Pages 25

The issue of peace had aroused great public interest and secured support for the Ostpolitik of the SocialLiberal Alliance in the early 1970s. Willy Brandt had brought to a climax an initiative which was begun by the Christian Democrats under Erhard to improve relations with the East European neighbours of the Federal Republic. There followed a period in which progress in this sphere was consolidated and public interest was diverted by other issues. Thus when Chancellor Schmidt discovered a ’gap’ in the defences of NATO in 1977 and proposed the place­ ment of new missiles in the countries belonging to the alliance, and when the dual-track decision was actually taken in 1979 to introduce Cruise and Per­ shing missiles, there was little public outcry. In the sphere of fpeace politics1, the Social Democrats enjoyed widespread even though ’passive’ support. However, the dual-track decision immediately inspired initiatives all over Western Europe, and especially in Scandinavia, to oppose it. Groups from Scandina­ via soon established contact with internationalist, church, left-wing and pacifist groups in the Federal Republic, which for many years had been conducting peace and anti-militarist campaigns at the grass roots. The Green Movement offered a sound base of support for these initiatives. The peace movement was destined to bring together all these initiatives as well as groups and individuals from established political parties and organisations. It also brought to the surface latent feelings of national­ ism and anti-Americanism, and offered another out­ let for the expression of utopian and fundamentalist ideas.