A study of Helmut Schmidt's own Ostpolitik, first enunciated in June 1966 when he was deputy chairman of the SPD, and based on his view that a changed political situation in the world gave the Federal Republic an opportunity to pursue a more activist and independent policy in the East. Immediately thereafter, and at his own initiative and expense, Schmidt visited Czechoslovakia, Poland and the U.S.S.R., in order to reconnoiter Eastern attitudes. Here a German historian carefully describes these early trips to the East. He acknowledges Brandt's historic achievement in negotiating the Eastern treaties, but sees Schmidt as an early proponent of Brandt's policy and distinguishes between Egon Bahr's national policy and Schmidt's sense of Ostpolitik as an end in itself. This is in part a piece of intraparty history, in part a study of the making of a statesman.