Chancellor Brandt’s détente foreign policy received the 1970 Peace Prize and lasting recognition as an icon for the Federal Republic’s pacifism. Yet the politician first rose to prominence during the Cold War as fiery Mayor of West Berlin. Moreover, unsealed US records document how Brandt closely cooperated with American authorities, sharing intelligence and processing clandestine donations. This talk places the gap between public commemoration and personal action in the context of Brandt’s biography to broach questions of integrity and ethics. It will also give room for a discussion on reductive interpretations of historical leaders in general and of Brandt and his “Ostpolitik” (New Eastern Policy) in particular.
Scott Krause is a historian and curator. Since May 2022, he serves as Director of the federal Willy Brandt-Forum Unkel on the Rhine. Previously, he has worked with the Berlin Wall Memorial and the Allied Museum Berlin. Academically, Scott studied at Göttingen, UCLA, and Freiburg before receiving his PhD at UNC Chapel Hill. He has published numerous articles and has recently co-edited Cold War Berlin: Confrontations, Cultures, and Identities (2021). This month, his first book has appeared in German as Vorposten der Freiheit: Remigranten an der Macht im geteilten Berlin. It has won the Willy Brandt Prize in Contemporary History.