Willy Brandt is Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

A seminal moment came in December 1970 with the famous Warschauer Kniefall in which Brandt, apparently spontaneously, knelt down at the monument to victims of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

The uprising occurred during the military occupation of Poland and the monument is to those killed by German troops who suppressed the uprising and deported remaining ghetto residents to concentration camps.

Time (magazine) named Brandt Man of the Year for 1970 stating, "Willy Brandt is in effect seeking to end World War II by bringing about a fresh relationship between East and West. He is trying to accept the real situation in Europe, which has lasted for 25 years, but he is also trying to bring about a new reality in his bold approach to the Soviet Union and the East bloc."

In 1971, Brandt received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in improving relations with East Germany, Poland and the Soviet Union.

Achieving peace and keeping it is not a simple one-time operation. Plenty of sceptics and kill-joys will remind us about that. The struggle for peace is a continuous process - it is a project that has to be worked at every day, over and over again.

But people cannot live without hope and belief. Therefore, we shall hope and therefore we shall believe that Willy Brandt's gesture of reconciliation across the borders of old enemies will be interpreted in the spirit it was made.

If these hopes are fulfilled, Willy Brandt will live on in our history as the great Peace and Reconciliation Chancellor of Germany.