Stephan Kieninger

Photo: Stephan KieningerDr. Stephan Kieninger


Cold War or Commerce: The history of the gas pipeline deal with the Soviet Union

Stephan Kieninger's latest project explores the economic side of détente from a European and transatlantic perspective. Despite a renewed arms race and international crises, the world's biggest gas pipeline was built in the first half of the 1980s from Siberia to Western Europe. Economic cooperation helped detoxify the political climate, established a counterweight to the militarization of international relations and, not least, demonstrated that Europe could set its own priorities in East-West relations. Hence, the significance of the pipeline's construction rippled far beyond trade and profit interests. As a barter agreement, moreover, the project served both sides' interests. The Soviet Union serviced the credits for Western equipment by delivering 40 billion cubic meters of gas annually, acquired infrastructure to exploit its enormous commodity reserves and exported its gas for Western currency.

The research in international archives concentrates on re-evaluating Western European efforts to politically engage and economically access the Soviet Union during a period of multiple crises in international relations. Special attention is devoted to France's and West Germany's successful efforts to extend economic détente even as Washington was calling for an economic war to be waged against Moscow following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and martial law being proclaimed in Poland.  

Dr. Stephan Kieninger researches the history of US international relations in the East-West conflict as well as German and European history since 1945. He is the author of Dynamic Détente. The United States and Europe, 1964–1975 (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and co-editor of the Bundesarchiv series Dokumente zur Deutschlandpolitik, VII:1, 1982–1984 (Munich: de Gruyter, 2017).

Dr. Kieninger was a research fellow at the Berlin Center for Cold War Studies in 2016/17.

Berlin Center for Cold War Studies
Brown Bag Breakfast # 13 | Projektvorstellung am Berliner Kolleg Kalter Krieg | 3/7/2017 (in German)

Invited Lecture | Handel gegen den Kalten Krieg. Zur Geschichte des Erdgasröhrengeschäfts mit der UdSSR with Podcast | 11/3/2016 (both in German)

Blog Post | The Windfall of Détente | 9/13/2016

News and Events
Book Review | Thomas Schwartz, Werner Lippert et al on Dynamic Détente: The United States and Europe, 1964-1975 (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), H-Diplo Roundtable XIX, 14 | 12/4/2017

Book Launch | The long détente: changing concepts of security and cooperation in Europe, 1950s–1980s, Copenhagen | 5/8/2017

Book Launch | Dynamic Détente: The United States and Europe, 1964-1975, Washington, DC | 11/29/2016

Book Review | Luca Ratti on Stephan Kieninger, Dynamic Détente. The United States and Europe 1964-1975, Berlin Center for Cold War Studies Blog | 7/25/2016


Book | The Diplomacy of Détente. Cooperative Security Policies from Helmut Schmidt to George Shultz (London: Routledge, 2018) | 5/28/2018

Conference Report | The INF Treaty of 1987: A Re-Appraisal, International Conference, Berlin, 30 November-2 December 2017, H-Diplo Report #CR-2018-1 | 1/6/2018

Review |Stephan Kieninger on Simon Miles, Envisioning Détente: The Johnson Administration and the October 1964 Khrushchev Ouster (Diplomatic History 4, 2016), H-Diplo Review # 704 | 7/20/2017

Chapter | Between Power Politics and Morality. The United States, the Long Détente, and the Transformation of Europe, 1969-1985, in Oliver Bange & Poul Villaume (eds.), The Long Détente: Changing Concepts of Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1950s–1980s (Budapest 2017)

Blog Post | The Secret Side of Ostpolitik - Helmut Schmidt, Egon Bahr, and the Soviet Backchannel, Sources and Methods, Wilson Center Blog | 4/3/2017

Article | "Niemand will einen Rückfall in den Kalten Krieg". Franz Josef Strauß, Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski und der Milliardenkredit für die DDR 1983, Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 4 (2017) (in German)

Blog Post | Research By Stephan Kieninger Explores The Reagan Administration’s Diplomacy, Hoover Institution News | 1/17/2017

Working Paper | "Diverting the Arms Race into the Permitted Channels" - The Nixon Administration, the MIRV-Mistake, and the SALT Negotiations, NPIHP # 8 | 11/21/2016