Summary of Germany as a Source of Tension

The two Germanys

  • Germany became two separate political spheres by 1949, divided by the Western and Eastern powers.

Economic differences between West Germany and East Germany

  • West Germany had a larger industrial output, larger population, and was larger geographically.
  • West Germany received Marshall aid and underwent an 'economic miracle' and had good living standards.
  • East Germany's leader was Walter Ulbricht.
    • He adopted a forced collectivisation of farms and of socialisation.
    • This was disastrous for the economy.

Political differences between West Germany and East Germany

  • West Germany had democracy.
  • East Germany had no free elections from 1946 onwards and was Stalinist and authoritarian.
  • East Germany not only protested but fled to the Wast. Some where contained.
  • As a result, there were no efforts by either side to unite Germany.
  • Khrushchev described Berlin as 'a fishbone in East Germany's gullet.'

Why did the Berlin Crisis develop?


Khrushchev and the crisis of 1958

  • West Berlin had political freedom and an open lifestyle which encouraged East Germans to migrate, leaving the hardship of the East, via Berlin.
  • It was mainly young and skilled East Germans that escaped, one-sixth of the German population.
  • The West used Berlin as propaganda and as an espionage hotspot, inside Eastern territory.
  • 1956 Khrushchev proposed a peace treaty.
  • 27 November 1957, Khrushchev demanded Berlin be demilitarised and Western troops withdrawal.
  • Clever diplomacy: If the West did not decide in six months he would surrender access routes to Western sectors to the GDR.

The Paris Summit and the U-2 incident, May 1960


Kennedy and fexible response