• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What were the main issues relating to Germany that caused Cold War tension?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What were the main issues relating to Germany that caused Cold War tension? Germany was a centre for Cold War tensions in the immediate post war period from 1945-9. Issues such as unification, ideological differences and economic recovery were influenced by both the US and the USSR in different ways, many times opposing The joint post-war occupation of Germany forced both sides, the United States and the Soviet Union, to take action with regards to their different aims for the country and this led to the accentuation of the conflicts between the two countries, leading to an increase in Cold War tensions. After the war, the Allies no longer had a common enemy in Nazi Germany, and this meant that their differences became more obvious. The Allies could not sweep under the carpet issues regarding administration, and had to tackle them by discussion. Both sides could not afford to ignore these issues as this meant that their stake in Germany and the rest of Europe would be compromised. These are the very same self-interests which intensify Cold War conflict elsewhere and they come into play in Germany, a place of necessary conflict between the US and the USSR. We can trace the deterioration of relations through the various speeches made by politicians, policies enacted, and Council of Foreign Ministers meetings between the wartime Allies where Germany as an issue came up often. It may be hard to identify if key conflicts over Germany were the result of the Cold War or if they played a role in increased Cold War tensions, as the cause-effect correlation is unclear. Yet, it is through these reactions of both sides to the issues surrounding Germany that causes the Cold War to intensify, and the intensification of the Cold War in itself (due to other external factors too) ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, this economic problem evolved into a political ideology issue which further exposed the opposition between American and Russian ideological interests in Germany, and how the West tried to solve this economic problem caused the Soviets to distrust the West more, deepening Cold War tensions. The British were "desperate for a solution to this impasse" to the problem of paying large sums for food imports. (Grunbacher, 2004) To counter this draining of resources on the Western powers, the US proposed to get rid of the zonal borders which functioned directly as trade barriers. Thus, in December 1946, the Bevin-Byrnes agreement was signed, and the Anglo-American Bizone came into being. This was done primarily due to economic issues described in the previous paragraph and was a way for the US and the UK to decrease some of their economic burden on Germany. This move would increase trade and economically rejuvenate the Combined Economic Area. The Americans, however, also had less altruistic motivations for this move: this increase in economic welfare for the Germans would decrease any possibility of them turning to Communist ideologies. The Americans were particularly fearful after the speech made by Molotov in Paris, in which Molotov attacked what he saw as British imperialism, downplaying Soviet interests in Europe by saying that Russian troops were provided by treaties. If Germans continued to be impoverished in the West, they might turn to the Communist ideology from the Russians, and the Americans sought to avoid this. Also, Bizonia had the effect of limiting Soviet influence in event of unification. In the even that Germany was unified and dominated by Russia, Bizonia would divide the country economically and socially, making it less possible for Russia to wield influence over the Bizone. ...read more.

Conclusion

This showed how Cold War tensions, contributed to by the Russian insistence on reparations and deindustrialisation, and the Soviet refusal of the Marshall Plan, had intensified to a state where the West could no longer be under the pretence of quadripartite control any longer. Yet, there had been signs already, since 1945, that the West had been prepared to split Germany up into two. The agreement that the Soviets could only take reparations from its zone could be thus interpreted as a step towards that direction. The creation of Bizonia in 1946 was a preparation for this, in the sense that the borders of Bizonia could be a natural border for the separation of Germany. The West however, then in 1946, did not want to outrightly declare independence for West Germany, leaving a possibility for both sides of Germany to be reconciled. 3 years later, the merger of France's zone into Bizonia, into the Federal Republic of Germany, was an extension of this attempt to limit the influence that Russia would have over Germany. This move was prompted by the increasing tensions of the Cold War elsewhere and from the build-up of tensions caused by previous conflicts, and provided a confirmation of these tensions while causing existing tensions to increase as well, by showing very clearly to the Soviets that it had an interest in continuing to influence West Germany, and that then, clearly, the West is aligned against the East in the non-military grab for Europe, against Communist ideology at all costs. Comments: First 2 and half pages very good. After that the essay loses its focus + clarity somewhat. And why does it end here? The whole issue on Berlin is missed out. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. What were the Main Causes of the Cold War? and Which of these Causes ...

    wasn't over Communism but a hatred of two powerful and well-equipped nations. On 7 December 1941, the Japanese shockingly destroyed a large part of the American Pacific Navy. This attack on the USA, brought them almost instantly out of isolation and left the US fearful of possible further attacks, angry

  2. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    The BEF: what happened in Belgium? * When Germany declared war on Belgium on 3 August 1914 the Belgian government appealed to Great Britain for help. * The German army also met much stronger opposition in Belgium than had been expected.

  1. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    It was difficult to imagine two more different societies. For a brief period after the United States granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union in 1933, a new spirit of cooperation prevailed. But by the end of the 1930s suspicion and alienation had once again become dominant.

  2. Superpower Relations 1945-90

    Were there any benefits to living in the East? * All citizens of the countries of Eastern Europe had a job. * Prices were controlled at a low level. Rent, electricity, gas and telephone charges were minimal by western standards. * Public transport was very cheap and very reliable.

  1. Why Was Germany At The Centre of Cold War Tensions 1945 - 1961

    These issues would come to a head in the post war peace conferences of Yalta and Potsdam. The decisions taken at Yalta and Potsdam would become crucial in shaping the fundamental structure of the Cold War. How to deal with Germany was obviously very high on the agenda at these

  2. How True is it to say that the period 1953-1962 saw a relaxation of ...

    Problems developed as the Russians seemed to be trying to drain the Soviet sector of resources whilst the three Western powers were trying to rebuild their zones of occupation. However, the Austrian state treaty of May 1955 meant that Austria did not become a divided nation.

  1. Assess the view that the US Policy of Marshall Aid was motivated mainly by ...

    and moral initiative in the emerging Cold War'', thus strengthening Judt's argument that aid favoured American interests as well as containing communism. Balfour suggests a main objective of the Marshall Plan was to ''win the mouths and minds of the West European peoples so as to prevent them from turning Communist'', again focusing on America's fear of communism.

  2. Account for the tensions between the Islamic World and the West

    This view is one of the targets of said critique and has meant that globalisation and modernisation is on a direct collision course with Islam in the 21st Century. However the image of a simplistic split between the modern West and traditionalist Islam is not always well founded.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work