West Germany and Poland signed a treaty in warsaw today (Monday, December 7) aimed at healing the wounds of the Second World War and opening the way to reconciliation after many years of bitterness.
West Germany and Poland signed a treaty in warsaw today (Monday, December 7) aimed at healing the wounds of the Second World War and opening the way to reconciliation after many years of bitterness. The treaty was signed by the West German Chancellor, Herr Willy Brandt, and the Poland Prime Minister, Mr Jozef Cyrankiewicz.
Poland was one of Hitler's first victims in the world conflict which cost six million Polish lives. For the Poles the treaty's key feature is its first article, which recognises the line of the Oder and Neisse Rivers as their post-war Western frontier.
This border, fixed in 1945 but since disputed by many Germans, gave the Poland nearly 40,000 square miles (100,000 sq. km.) of former German land in return for larger territories to the East which were ceded to the Soviet Union.
Today's signing is the second major success of Herr Brandt's policy of improving relations with Communist countries in Eastern Europe. The first was a non-aggression and co-operation agreement with the Soviet Union signed last August.
The Warsaw treaty was signed in the 17th-Century Radziwill Palace. It was drafted during ten months of preliminary exchanges and 11 days of final negotiations last month. Other sections of the treaty cover renunciation of force and normalisation of relations.
Others who signed the document were the West German Foreign Minister, Herr Walter Scheel, and Poland's Foreign Minister, Mr Stefan Jedrychowski. The atmosphere was tense but it eased after the signing when the leaders toasted the new treaty in champagne.