Willy Brandt And The State Of Germany In 1967 – Past Daily Reference Room
From the view of 2018, the Germany of 1967, some 51 years ago, was a vastly different place. Those of us of a certain age remember all too well the Germany of East and West. The Wall which divided Berlin; the wall which prompted President Reagan to call on Gorbachev to “tear down”. The elation and the sheer adrenalin when the wall finally did come down and the endless waves of former East Germans, streaming across the former checkpoints to a newly reunified Germany.
The Germany of 1967 was still very much one of East and West; Berlin was still the potential flashpoint and Bonn was the Capitol of West Germany. And in 1967, Willy Brandt was the Mayor of West Berlin.
In this broadcast of the ABC Radio Program Issues & Answers, Willy Brandt is interviewed from his office in Bonn and is asked about the then-current state of affairs; was there evidence of a swing to the far right, indicating that possibly there was a resurgence of Nazism. Was NATO an organization that had outlived its usefulness? And the perennial question whether or not Germany would be reunited.
As for reunification; it was a much hoped-for goal ever since the end of World War 2, when the Cold War was in its infancy and Russia (who lost a considerable number of people) was adamant that Germany would never be reunited.
West Germany, for its part was establishing diplomatic relations with Rumania and several other Eastern Bloc countries. It was seen as an attempt to better its own relations with the Soviet Union as a way of reducing tensions and at least starting to pave a road to peace. Brandt was to be visiting the United States the following month and would no doubt hear the LBJ take on things.
Here is the complete broadcast of Issues & Answers from January 22, 1967 featuring Willy Brandt interviewed in Bonn, West Germany.