University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

Section 9: January 1, 1983 - July 31, 1985

Innsbruck, January 1, 1983

A Drama Without Equal

A drama without equal is playing out in Europe before our eyes. Will Western Europe in the years ahead be able to hold its own, or will it fall right into the lap of Communism in the East? The danger is just as great from the inside as from the outside. The economic recession, which in the New Year could lead to increasing unemployment in most countries in Western Europe, may put the Western democracies to a severe test. Furthermore, there are the uncertainty of the political situation in the Federal Republic, the continuously hovering government crisis in Italy, and the increasing radicalization on the periphery - in Turkey, Greece and Portugal. Into consideration should also be taken the economic slump in France and Great Britain, as well as the growingly clamorous peace movement and the widespread political defeatism. Will NATO’s decision for nuclear rearmament be carried out and the 572 Peshing II and cruise missiles be deployed? Or, will Western Europe be declared a nuclear-free zone? If the latter happens, Western Europe will remain exposed to the threat by the Soviet SS-20 intermediate-range missiles that stay bluntly aimed at targets in Western Europe. In this predicament, Moscow demands, virtually in the form of an ultimatum, that the West Europeans distance themselves from the United States and dissolve NATO. An unprecedented struggle for Western Europe has begun. Whom will the Western Europeans turn to? This seems to become the decisive question for the 1980s.

Amerikasehnsucht - Longing for America

One can at present observe an unusually widespread “Amerikasehnsuchf” or longing for America. Whether one talks with students at the university, professional academics, middle-aged business people, or with politicians from the ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) as well as the SPÖ (Socialist Party of Austria), one may hear again and again the same statement: “I would like to go to America one day!” Professional interests as well as personal curiosity strongly motivate this desire to get to know the United States.

Anti-Americanism may manifest itself on the outside, but inside, in their personal views, many people feel a secret affection toward America which should not be overlooked. Roaring jubilation surrounded last night Liza Minelli at the “Silvester-Show” or New Year’s Eve Concert in Bad Gastein when she sang “New York, New York.”

How to React

Confused by the outbreaks of hatred for America at protest rallies, Americans frequently don’t know themselves how to react. To withdraw from Europe would not only shock millions of people but would also be a historic mistake of far-reaching consequences.

[Beginning of January], 1983

Days of Historical Remembrance

Austria, as in fact the entire German cultural area, is fondly reminiscing about events of the past. In 1982, the Haydn-Year [250th birthday] and the 150th anniversary of Goethe’s death were celebrated. But already new preparations are under way for days of historical remembrance in 1983. Among these are: The 500th birthday of Martin Luther; the 100th anniversary of the death of Karl Marx; the 300th anniversary of the siege of Vienna by the Turks; 100 years PSK (Österreichische Postsparkassa - Austrian Post-Office Savings Bank]; the Brahms-Year [150th birthday]; 100th anniversary of the death of Richard Wagner; symposia are being planned for the 100th birthday of Franz Kafka; also for the 500th birthday of Raffaello Santi. The list of celebrations, symposia and conferences that are being planned could be further extended.

January 7, 1983

The Peace Initiative from Prague

The seven East Bloc countries - the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria - have, at their summit meeting in Prague, drafted a comprehensive peace initiative, which they submitted to the West. Next to the frequently heard propaganda appeals to renounce the first use of nuclear force, halt the arms race and to dissolve NATO and the Warsaw Pact, also a nonaggression treaty with the West has been proposed. The proposals from Prague have made the West listen; at least they have evoked readiness to talk. Much depends now on what progress will be made in the months ahead at the disarmament talks in Geneva.

January 19, 1983

Wooing Germany

On his present visit to Bonn, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko is clearly wooing the Federal Republic to follow a neutral course and to support Moscow’s point of view in the question of disarmament. Not without good reason, this visit is directed at German voters who will have to make an important decision on March 6.

Innsbruck, January 19, 1983

Moral Support for Nuclear Disarmament

The pastoral letter of the American Catholic bishops met with unexpected worldwide response. The courageous statement by the American bishops on the present disarmament debate cannot miss its effect.


[The American Catholic bishops drafted from 1981-83 a pastoral letter which addresses the question of war and peace in the atomic age. The letter passed through three drafts. The second draft has become known worldwide. To pass judgment on it, Pope John Paul II had convened a conference for January 18 and 19, 1983 in the Vatican, where representatives of the American National Conference of Catholic Bishops together with bishops and experts in Europe could discuss and present their views on nuclear disarmament. Then in May 1983, the revised third draft was accepted by the American National Conference of Catholic Bishops as final text. The well-founded, 103 page document was published titled, The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response. A Pastoral Letter on War and Peace (Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, 1983). In this pastoral letter the American bishops expressed unequivocally that they were opposed to the first use of nuclear weapons, for even a restricted use would have catastrophic, unassessable results. The statement on page 47 reads: “We do not perceive any situation in which the deliberate initiation of nuclear warfare, on however restricted a scale, can be morally justified.” The letter supports most urgently the efforts for disarmament or the elimination of nuclear weapons.]

January 20, 1983

A Warning Voice

None other than French President Francois Mitterand warned in a speech before the Bundestag in Bonn about Europe being separated from the United States. Who would like to see, Mitterand pointed out, that the European Continent will be uncoupled from America.

January 30, 1983

An Unbearable Thought

The thought that Russian SS-20 intermediate-range missiles with nuclear warheads remain targeted at the most densely populated areas in Western Europe is simply unbearable. At this time, nothing could be more urgent than to dismantle the nuclear weapons arsenal on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

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