The Importance of Germany in the Cold War (Khrushchev's attempts to…
The Importance of Germany in the Cold War
Agreements at Yalta and Potsdam
Germany divided into 4 along w/ Berlin
However, Soviet army reached Berlin first and established themselves there --> Berlin found itself deep inside the Soviet sphere
Clear Stalin would demand massive reparations from G, would want a weakened G.
Very soon would be hostilities between Soviets and Americans, growing sense Iron Curtain descending and Germany be divided
G. the cause of the cracks forming in the wartime alliance
How to deal w/ G was a major source of conflict in post-War years
Germany attacked USSR and France in 1914 and again in WWII
USSR and France both had reasons to want a weak Germany
However, by 1947, Truman came to the view that G must be built up, must be supported mainly for military reasons but also for economic reasons (G would be a great market for American goods) --> Marshall Plan. But, with Soviet deep resentment of Truman and Marshall Plan (dollar imperialism), the problem of G and Berlin would escalate Cold War tensions
1948 S attempts to strangle Berlin, first major crisis of Cold War, unresolved tensions, remained a problem
Was a focus of Cold War tensions, causing Cold War to develop and escalate. e.g. Airlift, how danger was could be WW3 if a plane shot down, outcome was setting up of NATO, and even decision to allow G to join NATO in 1955 (but with many conditions)
Warsaw Pact on other side of German border
Both argued were only defending themselves, that is what their heavily armed forces were
1st major crisis of Cold War, Truman Doctrine followed, West Berlin saved from Communist takeover, Stalin didn't have nuclear weapons, feared response from Allies
West Berlin + WG all united - Federal Republic. EG called German Democratic Republic
West Germany w/ Marshall Aid = economic miracle
Centrally placed, in Europe
Angering Soviets, felt WG being deliberately built up, also Berlin deep in EG, flashpoint, emphasising the differences between the two systems, where the 2 fundamentally different ideologies met head on
Focus had shifted in 1950 to Asia
However, events in Eastern Europe (Hungary), had kept the focus on Berlin, behind the Iron Curtain, divided Germany
Khrushchev's attempts to resolve Germany problem
Make it neutral and possibly communist. US propped up West Germany, supported it
Conclusion: G remained divided until war came down in 80s, the reunification surprised the West.
Increasingly W Berlin was used as an exit route by those unhappy in the GDR. The brutal Soviet crushing of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 increased no.s of fleeing.
K did talk of a Thaw, but did present a Berlin ultimatum to the West in 1958, needed to deal w/ impact on German economy as impact of young professionals v. high, up to 200,000 fleeing every year in 1950s. When no solution found, building of heavily armed war. Sign of division of Germany.
All deep ideological differences between powers was most evident in Berlin
Berlin wall was good source of propaganda in US in late 60s when Vietnam War going badly
Kennedy said West didn't need to imprison their citizens