The aims of German foreign policy are three and inseparable: to preserve peace, to defend the freedom of the country and to restore German unity by peaceful means. None of them should be pursued at the cost of neglecting either of the others.
In the early 1950s, there was a great debate about the framework in which German rearmament should take place. The Western governments and the Government of the Federal Republic advocated a German military contribution to NATO, hoping thereby not only to strengthen Western security but also to force the Soviet Union to permit the reunification of Germany under free conditions. The Social Democratic opposition were doubtful about the second proposition. They wanted to explore whether the Soviet Union would not be more ready to accept reunification if security arrangements in Europe did not involve the participation of two Germanys in opposing military alliances. It was clear that armed neutrality and unarmed neutralization were out of the question: no one would have allowed the necessarily gigantic rearmament of a united Germany (nor would the Germans have wanted this); and a Germany unarmed and neutralized would have created an undesirable power vacuum in the heart of Europe and a bitter feeling of frustration within the German nation. Such a situation would have been a permanent cause of foreign intervention in Germany's internal affairs. Therefore only a European security system which provided for the balanced participation of Germany and her neighbors under proper control and with adequate guarantees by the world powers could have offered a suitable framework for German unity at that time-thereby eliminating the understandable Soviet fear of the combination of American power, German military tradition and all the unsolved problems in the heart of Europe.
In his press conference of February 4, 1965, de Gaulle spoke in terms similar to those of the German opposition in the 1950s: "The United States, whose policy was inspired by John Foster Dulles, may have believed that the West could make Moscow withdraw by
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