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Global Austria

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Günter Bischof
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Fritz Plasser

Book reviews

Thomas Fischer, Neutral Power in the CSCE: The N+N States and the Making of the Helsinki Accords 1975

Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2009

Michael Cotey Morgan

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When one thinks of history’s great diplomatic conferences, the names Osnabrück, Münster, Vienna, and Paris spring to mind. The negotiations in those cities ended great conflicts and set forth new principles to create a more peaceful international system, or so their drafters hoped. Helsinki, where the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was signed in 1975, deserves a prominent place on the same list. Although historians have only recently begun to give it the attention that it deserves, the CSCE was a watershed in international affairs. By contrast with the Peace of Westphalia, the Congress of Vienna, and the Paris Peace Conference, the CSCE did not bring a bloody war to an end, nor did it yield a legally binding treaty. But the Final Act—which was signed by the United States, Canada, and nearly every country in Europe—did make a major contribution to overcoming the Cold War. It also helped to reshape the state system, particularly by establishin...

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