At first sight the international discussions and negotiations which surrounded the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War in Europe could be seen as a partial return to traditional great power diplomacy. Faced with great questions about Europe’s overall balance and shape, and Germany’s place within this new Europe, the smaller European powers were all but banished to the margins as the traditionally dominant players reasserted their influence. The 2+4 mechanism in particular looks superficially like a return to the diplomacy of the immediate post-war era, albeit with a more active role for the Germans themselves than was either possible or likely in the late 1940s. The rhetoric of Margaret Thatcher and some of her fellow leaders meanwhile, with their constant references to the German problem and the dangers that an unbound Germany might pose to the whole international status quo, also have an element of timewarp about them. Some of the Iron Lady’s sentiments recalled the views of that generation of British leaders – Clement Attlee, Anthony Eden or Harold Macmillan – whose perceptions of Germany had been shaped by both World Wars and by decades of deep Anglo-German antagonism. After all the hyperbole of the mid-1980s when European integration appeared to have rediscovered its dynamism, the events of 1989-90 might thus be used as evidence that the deeper realities of European diplomacy had not altered nearly as fundamentally as some of the enthusiasts for integration believed. On closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that traditional great power diplomacy had not succeeded entirely in displacing European multilateralism. For alongside the resurgence of power politics à l’ancienne, there was also a significant element of newer, multilateral European dialogue and cooperation. There is thus ample scope for a study of the European institutions and the question of German reunification.