In what ways did developments in Germany affect the Cold War between 1945?

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Introduction

In what ways did developments in Germany affect the Cold War between 1945 - 1961? On May 8, 1945, the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces, the "Wehrmacht", was signed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel in Berlin, ending World War II for Germany. Due to administrative purposes the Allied powers divided the country into four occupational zones. While located wholly within the Soviet zone, because of its symbolic importance as the nation's capital and seat of the former Nazi government, the city of Berlin was not considered to be part of the Soviet zone. Within this context, the developments taking place in Germany happened to have a vast impact on the tension build-up of the Cold War. To answer the question, not only diplomatic elements but also economic elements and elements of European Integration have to be taken in consideration. But in August 1961 when the conflict faced its climax because Khrushchev unexpectedly closed the borders and only two choices were left for Kennedy; to either surrender or use force against Russia's threat, the situation found its turning point. After the Third Reich was effectively abolished in the spring of 1945, the country was placed under military rule and divided into geographical zones reflecting the actual positions of the occupying armies.

Middle

As a result of these developments, the superpower tension reached a highpoint, which had a massive impact on the relations between Kennedy and Khrushchev and also showed acknowledgement that Cold War won't end soon. Furthermore, Russia's position was put under pressure when the 1953 protests in East Berlin against Communist rule took place as the weakness of support for the Communist government was revealed. It demonstrated that Soviet-style communism had not made any significant dent in East German political attitudes and exposed Russia's failure in a global context. The 'iron fist' respond from Russia and America's struggle to proceed made the ideological differences between the two superpowers even more apparent. Not only did the geographical division of Germany build up the tension, but also economical reasons strengthened the conflict. The role of business and 'corporate' interests was particularly prominent in the shaping of the Marshall Plan, officially called the European Recovery Program, which was a financial aid from the United States offered to many European, including Eastern European, countries that caused a massive economic boom from 1953 to 1957 in the West. Then again, Russia prohibited the Eastern European countries to accept the Marshall Plan since they did not want their sphere of influence to receive help from the United States.

Conclusion

In that way, no matter how enormous the Red Army itself was, the Russia was threatened by the NATO and West Germany was in a safer position. This European Integration of West Germany strengthened the whole European unity against Russia in a military, political and economical way. Nevertheless, Germany was where the two spheres met. The developments in Germany can definitely be seen as a key element for the process of the Cold War; its sheer significance is shown by the powerful symbol for seriousness of the Cold War to have a divided country in the middle of Europe. Due to its geographical location, Germany was the negotiating table for the two superpowers and the place where their armies met face to face. In economical comparison the FDR can be seen as the more successful state, whereas the Red Army's force and men power cast a shadow over the Western plans since it took drastic measures. But not only developments in Germany, but also the spread of communism in Asia and as well the Vietnam War have to be considered to evaluate the tension build-up between the USSR and the United States. 1 http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/germany.htm ?? ?? ?? ?? Magdalena Kupfersberger History SL - L6

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