19 March: Meeting between the chairman of the GDR Council of Ministers, Willi Stoph, and West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in Erfurt. While Willi Stoph calls for relations between East and West Germany to be taken up as between independent, sovereign states, Willy Brandt insists on a special German-German relationship.
Several thousand people chant "Willy, Willy" and break through the barricades set up by the State Security. In front of the Erfurter Hof hotel where the meeting is taking place, the crowd then shouts: "Willy Brandt to the window!" and leaves no doubt which Willy it means. The start of the German-German dialogue arouses hopes among the GDR population; among the SED leadership, the "Erfurt incident" reactivates the fear of its own walled-in people. On 21 May there is another meeting in Kassel.
1 March: The Socialist German Student Association (SDS) announces its disbandment. The student movement and the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (APO) splits up into a reform movement, which the SPD joins, a group that follows the German Communist Party (DKP), and Maoist, district-based and spontaneous formations. After the violent freeing of the Frankurt department-store arsonist Andreas Baader under the leadership of Ulrike Meinhof, during which a bystander is shot and wounded, the terrorist underground organisation "Rote Armee Fraktion" ("Red Army Faction"), or RAF, is founded. The group believes it can bring about a mass armed rebellion by carrying out murders, kidnappings and violent actions.
26 March: Four-Power talks about the divided city begin in the former Allied Control Commission building in West Berlin. They are aimed at bringing about regulated access and a reduction in tensions.
5-11 April: During a state visit in the United States, West German Chancellor Brandt coordinates his Ostpolitik and policy of détente with the American president, Richard Nixon.
28 July: Since the formation of the social-liberal coalition at the end of 1969, the suspicion is rife among CPSU leaders that SED General Secretary Ulbricht could be oriented towards a far too close relationship with the West German Social Democrats – disregarding the Soviet Union. "What does Walter intend with the possibility, the completely unprovable possibility, the cooperation with the West German social democracy; what does he understand by the demand to help the Brandt government? Good, you don’t know and I don’t either," CPSU General Secretary Brezhnev complains in a one-to-one conversation with Erich Honecker. And he impresses upon the designated successor to Ulbrich: "Erich, I tell you quite frankly, don’t ever forget: without us, without the SU, its power and strength, the GDR can’t exist. Without us there is no GDR. (…) There is not, cannot, and must not be a process of rapprochement between West Germany and the GDR."
11-13 August: In Moscow, a German-Soviet treaty on non-aggression and normalisation of relations is signed, in which both states give up their territorial claims and "in future (consider) the borders of all states in Europe as inviolable […] including the Oder-Neisse Line […] and the border between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic."
In the so-called "Note on German unity" that becomes part of the treaty, West German Foreign Minister Walter Scheel states that "the treaty does not contradict the political objective of the Federal Republic of Germany to work towards a state of peace in Europe in which the German people regains its unity in free self-determination."
8 September 1970: The SED Politburo introduces a change in economic policy in the absence of Walter Ulbricht. The course resolved upon by the party leadership in 1967 of organising "breakthroughs to the front of the scientific and technological revolution" has financially overtaxed the GDR economy. As a reaction to supply problems both in production and for private consumers and the rise in foreign debt in the West to some two billion valuta marks, it decides on a "planned proportional development of the economy". The terminology is taken from the Stalinist "Political Economy" and is directed both against the New Economic System (NÖS) and the structural policies of Ulbricht and his strategy of "prioritised development of leading industries". It signals the unconditional return to the Soviet model.
October: In the GDR, gaps in the supply of consumer goods and foodstuffs become more and more frequent; the workers become restless. From January to September 1970, the FDGB (Free German Federation of Trade Unions) board registers 22 strikes and labour conflicts; from October 1970 to April 1971 there are as many as 63 such incidents. Political and economic dissatisfaction grows. In the SED Politburo, fear spreads of a new 17 June. Walter Ulbricht is blamed for the emerging crisis.
27 November: Begin of discussions and negotiations between the state secretaries Egon Bahr and Michael Kohl. After seventy meetings in the course of two years, the negotiations lead to the signing of the Transit Agreement, the Traffic Treaty and finally the Basic Treaty.
November/December: As in previous years and January of this year, the GDR massively disrupts transit traffic as a reaction to meetings by Bundestag parliamentary parties in West Berlin.
7 December: In the Treaty of Warsaw with Poland, West Germany recognises the Oder-Neisse Line as the western border of Poland. Willy Brandt goes down on his knees in Warsaw in commemoration the victims of the Ghetto Rebellion, brutally put down by the Germans.
17 December: In East Berlin, Walter Ulbricht propagates the end of the united German nation; the GDR is a "socialist German nation-state".
18 December: In Poland, particularly in the area of Gdansk and Szczecin, tanks put an end to strikes, demonstrations and unrest provoked by the raising of prices. Many demonstrators are killed.
The RIAS records the announcement on Polish radio of a curfew in Szczecin.