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

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Introduction

Why Was Germany At The Centre of Cold War Tensions 1945 - 1961? The Cold War was a war of tension that ran for the majority of 20th century and throughout this time Germany was at the centre of many of the key conflicts a crisis points. This can be explained by a number of explanations. Foremost among these was the way that the Second Word War ended. When the war ended and the way it lead to there being a power vacuum in Europe this of course was a major reason for the break out of the Cold War in Europe. Another reason was the constant tension in Berlin. As was the point where the two ideologies clashed frequently and most noticeably, due to the sides developing different ideals and goals for there sectors that lead to tension between the two sides. Contributing to this factor economic prosperity of the FDR, which only served to highlight the differences between the two sides and in particular, the shortcomings of the Communist system. Yet one cannot overlook the idea that many of the crisis's of the Cold War were simply brought about simply because both sides were using Berlin as a bargaining chip to achieve their true goals, indeed it was Khrushchev who said "Berlin is the testicle of the West ... every time I want to make the West scream I squeeze on Berlin". ...read more.

Middle

This idea was furthered by Byrnes' Stuggart speech were the US put their loyalty to Germany ahead of that to Poland. The Berlin Blockade of June 1948 was one of the first crisis points of the Cold War. The crisis was caused by the Russians started to block all of the Allies supply routes for their sectors of Berlin. At this time Post war Berlin was in ruins with all four sectors possessing the worthless Riechsmark and the flourishing black markets. Tensions raised between 1947-1948 when it became apparent that the Western Allies were going to go ahead and create a separate West German state and incorporate West Berlin into this state. The Russian's see this a provocative act of others grouping up against them, they also see it unacceptable that the Allies should posses sections of Berlin as it is so far into their sector of Germany. Tensions are further heightened when the Russians learn of a secret conference in February 1948, The London Conference, in which is was decided that Marshal Aid should be implemented in all areas of West Germany and that a new currency should be introduced, the Deutschmark. Stalin learns of this and it becomes evident that the East and West have two incompatible visions for their sections of Germany and the introduction of the new currency was the catalyst for Stalin's creation of a blockade. On 24th June 1948 a full blockade of all supply lines to Berlin was established. ...read more.

Conclusion

To discuss this ultimatum the sides meet at a Summit in Paris, however talks here break down after one day when a US U2 spy plane is shot down over soviet territory. The deadline passes. Khrushchev then issues another deadline in 1961 after the Vienna conference. However this deadline passes too without any action. Then in the summer of 1961 the DDR convince Khrushchev of the need to seal of East Berlin and it is decided that a wall should be erected. At this point there are serious fears of war as tanks face off at Check Point Charley. Yet nothing happens indeed in the long run it turns out that the wall is in fact a force for stability in the Cold War in Europe and leaves both sides feeling victorious. With the West feeling that they have won a massive propaganda victory, in that the East have to seal their population in. While the East are satisfied with a peaceful resolution and the prevention of people leaving East Berlin. It was the people suffered the greatest cost of the Wall. In conclusion there were many reasons why Germany and in particular Berlin was at the centre of Cold War tension. To start with the way that war ended and the power vacuum that it left behind meant that Germany was always going to be a battlefield for which side to have supremacy. On top of that the way that the two ideologies were in such close proximities there were always going to be clashes and contrasts. ...read more.

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