Many factors have resulted in making Germany the essence of the East-West conflict. it can be attributed to the fact that the deterioration in collaboration amongst allies at the Yalta conferences, which can also be tracked to the early 1900’s when the Bolshevik Russian Revolution lead to the birth of a communist state that invigorated the conflict with the west. The USSR didn’t emerge till late after the World War 2 for the simple reason that USA and itself were secluded. There are many factors that resulted in this deep rooted conflict. Firstly the age old sin of suspicion, USSR believed that a conflict with the west was predestined while there was no actual proof that Stalin followed the Marx and Leninist ideology. Another draw back for the east was that democracy of the west was not understood; allies were unable to consistently involve themselves but reverted to parliamentary advice portraying the lack of faith. There lied deep-seated conflicts between Roosevelt and Stalin, the leader of the west was more idealistic while the leader of the east was more concrete in his dealings. Stalin being a dictator had external enimies to ensure that the internal stability was maintained. Another drawback was the death of President Roosevelt, as Stalin respected him a great deal and the following leaders like Truman were not interested in international politics and unwilling to extend goodwill with USSR. Post Word War 2, USA and USSR stood have giants with varied international social systems which had to result in a altercation. (Snell 139).
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As both America and USSR emerged as superpowers and promised a lot. The foreseeable contest seemed eminent and quite contrary to promoting peace and tranquility. Especially when dictators like Italy, Germany and Japan who attempted to amalgamate social and capitalist elements were strongly erupting onto the international scene. With this in motion the twentieth century seemed to be in a perpetual state of war. And these rivalries did not only take forms of wars but art and slogans to portray the enemy. The use of misinformation was used as an active tool to demoralize peace. The portrayal of a Wall Street shark and a capitalist hyena was used to encourage images that induced anti-capitalism. With this conflict between the east and west, Germany stood with many problems in its midst, Germany was now brutally divided into zones of occupation. The declining of the Morgenthau Plan by which Germany was now reduced to an agricultural country. All German industries were forced to adherer its production capabilities to military purposes. And all those convicted of war crimes were to be trialed. These problems were magnified when Britain and America grumbled that Stalin had not provided adequate support to all areas of the Red Army. Just at the time of the Nazi run Germany which played an active role to mollify the conflict in an anti-Hitler federation, occupied Germany some after mid 1940’s become the cornerstone of this alliance. The Pax Americana achieved the thought of a liberal and democratic system. To put in words, both parties at the Potsdam Conference appeared to be in unison on jointly administered Berlin and the punitive and dispossession of Nazi War criminals. The instilling of democracy in Germany including the Nuremberg Trials. (Lavy 198).
The international rivalry between the victorious powers resulted in the formation of two German states. With the aid and support of the resulting superpowers Germany was established in 1949 including the territory of three western zones and the GDR in the Soviet Union. The development of Germany was to induce to the world that propaganda was wrong, but both sides wished for this to be temporary. Still propaganda seemed only the right way to establish a strong German government. The east-west conflict was resultant of the heartbreaking division of Germany. All kinds of conflict and all attempts of unity were a result of the east-west conflict post 1945. With this the commitment to FRG deepened the division of Germany, the implementation of the FRG principle with respect to political and military implementation would contribute to the severity of the situation. Germany found itself in the midst of the east-west conflict meaning, that was just the dawn of its problems. Germany was the child of the long cold war; the western allies still believed that the menace of Germany wasn’t entirely over; but the slow implementation of the FRG, keeping in mind that the FRG was not sovereign. At the dawn of 1944, Roosevelt had confidently proposed to Stalin tat USSR, USA and Britain hold a meeting in January. The condition was if the Nazi should have dispersed earlier then the meeting should be held earlier. Roosevelt felt for Germany’s future, it felt that USA needed to be directly involved in shaping and molding its future. His perception was also that the western allies have made considerable progress against the Third Reich. Both the returning of German armies and the massive revolution against Hitler had implied that Germany’s fall was closer then anticipated. (Zimmer 221-238).
Unfortunately, the fate of Germany at the end of the war laid at Potsdam, the symposium called for Germany to be equally considered as an economic unit, and made it imperative for political unity to prevail. For Germany to possess a title of being called a country, was arrived at this conference. As discussed earlier, America and Great Britain form the beginning of the postwar era had been vouching for a better future of Germany, and these countries actively pursued these policies till late 1946. In all this time a conscious effort was made to implement the Potsdam policy. After weeks and months of persistent frustration, and after the state of events became apparent that the Soviets had no intention of letting go of their hold from the eastern territory that the attempt to better east-west relationship was discarded. Its is then that America and Britain had to move away and employ the western strategy of reorganizing the western zones economically and politically, trying to impose them in a military sense.
In hope which will lead to the formation of the Federal Republic and organization of the west. From the inception stages the general consensus and policy implementation play a vital role in arguments about responsibility of the causes of the cold war and separation of Germany. Britain and America were clear of fault. Germany didn’t not question the bona fide of the western policies implemented. The ideology of the west was to run Germany as a pure unit, but with constant hindrances from the USSR depleted any efforts. The sole blame of the failure of the Potsdam policy lay upon the hands of the Soviets including the division. All these implications were of prime political importance. This general perception proved to be great pillar on which West Germany was legitimized, but it also provided fuel for fire in the east-German conflict. The British and American people now portrayed to Germany to depict Russia as the violator and enemy of National rights. In other words the Westerners were trying to show sympathy for Germany’s nationalism. The Soviets believed that America and Britain were ready to trigger Germany’s patriotism. The west found a way a loophole to break communism. They used Germany to stir up revolt for Russia, and although they kept themselves at a distance they did prominently imply that a policy against the Soviet will be supported whole heartedly. The Soviet therefore found it imperative to prevent the west from pursuing any policy in Germany. (Lavy 198).
The strategy was simple enough to block the west before the situation went out of control. A lot of political tension was being generated and this crux of this lied in the mechanics of international politics, through and after the Cold War. The history of the Cold War and World War 2 along with the policy making contributed to the Cold war as well as involving Germany. (Lavy 198).
The foundations of the Potsdam policy was laid in early 1946, but its fundamentals prevailed in all accounts of Cold War by the Americans. In reality the reason for there Potsdam policy was not for the betterment of Germany’s future of to treat it as a political and economic unit, but to accept the division of Germany to East and West. The core policy makers in America like James Brynes unfortunately developed these policies whole heartedly believing that the partition of Germany was unavoidable. The soviets conceived western policy to be threatening and in turn West Germany was organized without and against them. The German made believe that Russia is the enemy, and it seemed as if the west were supporting Germany. It seemed to be an allegory which was portraying to view the War in an altered historical terms. With the base of two dominant systems and documents of the Potsdam policy were unambiguous and never cleared just like the unitary policy and the Byranes plan. (Snell 139).
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Lavy, George. Germany and Israel. west Virginia : Routledge, 1996.
Snell, John. Wartime Origins of the East-West Dilemma over Germany. New Orleans: Hauser Press, 1959.
Wettig, Gerhard. Stalin and the cold war in Europe. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.
Zimmer, Matthias. Germany- Phoenix in trouble. Alberta: University of Alberta political culture, 1997.