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The Importance of East Germany in the Cold War

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The Berlin Crisis of East Germany was a defining period of the Cold War, during which both superpowers fought for control over the most highly contested nation in Europe. It can be seen that the major factor in this crisis was the division of Germany into two sectors; East and West Germany and the subsequent attempts by the two superpowers to control both. Following the rapid spread of the Soviet grip over Europe, it was in the interests of the USSR to gain control of Germany in its entirety; that is East and West Germany. Their interests were parallel to the desires of Capitalist America which also sought a degree of control over Germany. This resulted in the divisions of Berlin becoming the ground on which the Communist-Capitalist struggle was most profound and the region over which control would seemingly determine the outcome of the Cold War. Another important factor was the Berlin Blockade and the subsequent Berlin Airlift which was a turning point in Soviet control over East Germany. With the shift in Soviet control over East Germany, so too, came the shift in Soviet control over the Cold War. The Cold War was a twentieth century ideological conflict between the two world superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as their respective allies over political, economic and military issues; often depicted as the struggle between capitalism and communism. ...read more.


In East Germany, the economy dragged and individual freedoms were severely restricted. Tampke (1988) believes ?East Germany suffered insurmountable economic difficulties.? Efficient deep-sea ports were non-existent and there was also no ship building. Both however were badly needed for the development of foreign trade.? By the late 1950s, many people living in East Germany wanted out. No longer able to stand the repressive living conditions of East Germany, they would pack up their bags and head to West Berlin. Cowie (1979) is strongly of the opinion that ?West Berlin had become a ?shop-window? for Western Liberalism and an escape route from East Germany and the communist bloc.? Although some of them would be stopped on their way, hundreds of thousands of others made it across the border. According to the Editors of Salem Press (1992:34), ?between 1961 and 1989; 77 people were killed while trying to cross the wall, but about 40,000 escaped successfully.? Once across, these refugees were housed in warehouses and then flown to West Germany. Soviet leader Khrushchev, who called the wall a "hateful thing,? believed he had to construct the wall due to the appalling East Germany economy. Khrushchev felt that industry would have collapsed if he did not do something soon to prevent the mass flight of East Germans to the West. Consequently, the Berlin Wall was constructed. The division between East and West in the long run helped stabilise East Germany, and the Cold War, by stopping the drain of workers which eased pressure off of the economy. ...read more.


His text was non-bias and very accurate; however, he did not provide adequate conclusions or opinions. Ostermann, C. 2001. Uprising in East Germany, 1953. Central European University Press, Budapest. Ostermann offered extensive conclusions regarding the economic and social hardships within East Germany during the Cold War. The text gave me an extensive range of information regarding the problems faced by East Germans which helped me develop a personal opinion regarding the war. Ostermann is a very reliable and accurate source that made reference to other texts I have used. Phillips, S. 2001. The Cold War: Conflict in Europe and Asia. Heinemann, Melbourne Phillips was a very useful source as it contained a great definition of the Cold War as well as thorough conclusions regarding the division between East and West. Phillips is a reliable author that wrote an accurate, non-bias text that helped me in the essay. Smith, J. 1989. The Cold War: Second Edition, 1945-1991. Blackwell, Malden. Smith is a reliable author that has been cited in other history texts. His novel was very accurate and reliable as it provided me with many conclusions that helped in the creation of my thesis. Tampke, J. 1988. Twentieth Century Germany: The Weimar and Nazi Years. Thomson Publishing, Melbourne. Tampke was a very reliable, relevant and accurate source as it provided a wide assortment of facts and opinions regarding the economic, social and political state of East Germany without being bias. His text has been referenced in other novels, which has proven his credibility as a historian. ...read more.

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