NATO in the 1960s: Challenges beyond Deterrence
26-28 August 2004, Zurich, Switzerland
Conveners: Andreas Wenger, Anna Locher, Christian Nuenlist
Center for Security Studies at the ETH Zurich
The conference, organized by the Center for Security Studies at the ETH Zurich as a partner in the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP), brought together the most innovative results of recent historical research on NATO's political dimensions in the 1960s. It was held in the Zurich region on 26-28 August 2004.
The transformation of NATO since the end of the Cold War provides new historical perspectives on the period of the alliance's 40-year confrontation with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. However, at present no publications offer a comprehensive history of NATO based on the systematic use of archival evidence. While the past decade of historical analysis has produced multi-archival research on NATO's history from 1949 to 1956 - in particular through the pioneering venture by Germany's Research Institute of Military History (MGFA) with its multi-volume Entstehung und Probleme des Atlantischen Bündnisses bis 1956 -, we believe it is necessary and rewarding to now focus on NATO's transformation in the 1960s from a defensive military organization to a clearinghouse for Western security policies, as adopted with the Harmel Report in 1967.
Previous scholarly studies on NATO in the 1960s have concentrated mostly on military issues, such as the debate on NATO strategy, nuclear sharing and the MLF episode, and troop withdrawals. Using recently declassified archival sources, the Zurich conference reconstructed the political debates within the Atlantic alliance in the stormy 1960s.
The conference ran for 2 1/2 days, from Thursday to Saturday. Twenty speakers presented their papers.