The author shares his understanding of the confrontations between East
and West during the Cold War in the dangerous phase of the first half of
the 1980s, from his unique vantage point of life in the two German
states, first as a Norwegian Visiting Lecturer in Communist East Germany
at the University of Greifswald 1980 – 81, then as an official of the
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1981 – 84, which brought him as
diplomat to Bonn, the capital of West Germany, 1984-87.
These experiences from Germany in the 1980s he will then analyze
critically from the vantage point of a succession of encounters with
former East German officials, starting 2016 until he in October of 2019
was a Visiting Research Fellow, Gastwissenschaftler, at the
German Institute for Contemporary History, Department for the Cold War
The methodology of this article works with the standard procedure in
diplomatic fact-finding and analyses, abductive reasoning from
confidential conversations.The article follows the standard procedure
for drawing on confidential conversations, Chatham House Rule,
abbreviated CHR. What someone says may be quoted, but the identity of
sources and their affiliated institutions remain confidential.
The author denotes this methodology exploratory conversation,
inferring by active listening. By this methodology, the researcher may
gain insights into the set of assumptions, the underlying mental models
that determine the perceptions of options. In mental models, language
constructs the shared sense of social reality and serve as repository of
vast accumulations of meaning and experience.