restricted access Détente, Recognition, and Citizenship: The Case of East Germany

In the formative decade of the Cold War, East Germany suffered international isolation and its citizenship was not internationally recognized. Following the détente between the communist and capitalist blocs in the 1970s, the newly recognized East Germany worked toward pressuring the international community to recognize the existence of their statehood (and citizenship) as a prerequisite to establish diplomatic relations. In order to increase their state legitimacy, the GDR sought to have its citizenship recognized through consular treaties with third states, while the FRG prevented third states from recognizing a separate East German citizenship. This article examines the impacts of this changed diplomatic scene on citizenship diplomacy in the socialist states of East Germany. It suggests that the nationality position of the two German states examined had not fundamentally changed despite the normalization of relations.