Villarroel HeinrichIm Schatten des Ost-West-Konflikts

In the mid-1960s, relations between West Germany and Chile, a peripheral state at the time, intensified to an unprecedented level. Both Germany’s policies being determined by the Cold War and the rise of Marxism in Latin America no doubt contributed to the forging of these relations, but above all it was the result of West Germany’s offensive against the GDR and the emergence of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) in Chile.

This study reveals that it was not only state officials but also transnational protagonists who were responsible for strengthening the relationship between the two countries. The help which Bonn provided the PDC in the 1964 election campaign was also massively influential in this respect, an act of complicity which, however, did not alleviate the disharmony between the PDC and its sister party. Although politics was an influential reason for West Germany to establish closer relations to Chile, it was also equally keen to cultivate its cultural image. It is, of course, true that this aspect was used as political manipulation in the “cultural war” West Germany was waging with the GDR; however, this persistence and the efforts of ethnic Germans to turn their backs on outdated images of Germany demonstrate the extent to which West Germany wanted to be perceived as a modern Western society.