Importance of Berlin in Cold Waradmin / January 13, 2019
Cold war is the difference between the Communist and the Democratic nations. They were directed by the Soviet Union and the United States respectively. All means were adopted in this war such as; economic war, diplomatic quibbling and military clashes etc. The cold war was fought everywhere whether Asia, Africa or any outer space (Chung, Para 1).
Causes of the Cold War: Before the Second World war there were some economic and political differences between the United States and the Soviet Union and these differences became more powerful after the Second World War (Chung, Para 2).
The main causes were; Economic: The United States was interested in supporting free trade in the whole World but The Soviet Union did not show any interest in this venture as it feared if it would trade with the West, it would be influenced by the West.; Power rivalry: Both the powers wanted to dominate each other; Ideological: The United States and the Soviet Union both have different systems of government. The United States is governed by democratic people whereas; the Soviet Union is governed by the Communist Party (Chung, Para 2).
After World War II, Germany as well as its capital Berlin was divided into four zones and controlled by each of the allied forces: United States, Great Britain, France and Soviet Union (Rosenberg para 3).
The atmosphere turned hostile and aggressive, with the collapse of relationship between USSR and rest of the three allied forces. Germany was turned into West versus East or democracy versus Communism with the development of this new relationship between the forces (Rosenberg para 4).
United States, Great Britain and France formed the West Germany (The Federal Republic of Germany) together from their occupied zones, followed by USSR forming East Germany (The German Democratic Republic) (Rosenberg para 4).
This same division was done for Berlin (Rosenberg para 5).
With the help of the three allied forces West Germany saw a rapid growth in the region, where as the East under USSR was pilfered by them, equipments and valuables were shipped to Russia. The economy was in a poor shape, people were restricted of freedom. As a result, East Germans started migrating to West Germany in hope of getting a better life (Rosenberg para 6).
The easiest approach to West Germany was through West Berlin. East Germany with the help of USSR tried many times to take over West Berlin but was unsuccessful in front of combined forces of the USA, Great Britain and France (Rosenberg para 7).
The Berlin Crisis: Russia stopped land traffic between Berlin and West Germany, when the western nations were feeling insecure (Chung, Para 7). The western nations made efforts to stop Russian efforts which became the reason of conflict between the East and the West. This was known as Berlin Crisis (Chung, Para 7).
Confrontation over Berlin (1948): The bitter relationship between the Soviet Union and the United states before 1948 already made the Berlin crisis predictable. The Western powers wanted to introduce a new currency in German economy (Chung, Para 10).This currency reform in 1948 also created Berlin Crisis.
The shortage of food and inflation in Germany resulted the growth of money circulation in the post war years. The Soviet Union felt insecurity of its domination in East Germany so when the new currency was introduced in West Berlin, The soviet Union stopped all land communication between West Berlin and Germany’s other zones (Cold war 1: The Berlin crisis, Para 5). Blockade of Berlin started on June 24, 1948 (Chung, Para 12).
Due to these crises, almost two million citizens had to starve in Berlin. General Clay, the military governor of the American zone said, “When Berlin falls, West Germany will be the next” (Chung, Para 14).
The Western nations started supporting Berlin by supplying food and other necessary things by air flights as they wanted to stop Russian Communism. May 9, 1949 was the day when Stalin realized that he would not be able to remove western nations from Berlin so he decided to end Berlin Blockade (Chung, Para 15).
Significance of the Blockade:
Soviet Union was strong-minded to show strength and determination even in the moments of defeat from the allied nations, worsening the chances of Cold War (Chung, para16). Also some events where in USSR was not in agreement with the allied nations, led to blockade in East and West Germany.
The major three events were; the Truman Doctrine and the institution of the Marshall Plan and European Recovery; the London conference of 1948; and the London Program which called for a separate, economically revitalized West Germany (Chung, para16).
In desperation, finally, East Germany decided to build a wall separating East Berlin from West Berlin just past mid night of August 12-13, 1961 (Rosenberg para 8).
While the Berliners were asleep, trucks with soldiers and construction workers started tearing up streets entering West Berlin. All the connection to west was severed including phone lines. The border was covered with barbered wires and concrete posts (Rosenberg para 8).
The Berlin wall also played an important role in this war. It was so big that it totally cut off West Berlin from East Germany, stretching over hundred miles (Rosenberg, para 9).
The making of Berlin Wall shows the heightened tension between the Allied forces and USSR during the Cold War period. It was a primitive solution by USSR to the rise of mass emigration of East Germans to West, resulting in brain drain (Explain the significance of the Berlin Wall in the Cold War, para1).
The wall was the result of Khrushchev’s show of power in Berlin. Even the slightest dissent was treated with the iron fist by the Russian ((Explain the significance of the Berlin Wall in the Cold War, para 2).
It also symbolizes Russia’s failure in developing the East Germany and provided enough scope for the citizens to stay back ((Explain the significance of the Berlin Wall in the Cold War, para 3).
Germany was divided as a result of the disagreement between the allied forces (USA, Great Britain, France and USSR) at Yalta and Potsdam about the future structure of the German Government.
It also started the Cold war between the USSR and the now combined forces of United States, the Great Britain and France. The construction of wall also negated Germany’s importance in the cold war ((Explain the significance of the Berlin Wall in the Cold War, para 4).
As the construction of Berlin wall had significance so is its demolition. The construction symbolizes the divide between the West and East, while the destruction symbolizes victory of democracy in East. It also symbolizes the failure of communism as doctrine by the Soviet Union ((Explain the significance of the Berlin Wall in the Cold War, para 5).
The role of Berlin Wall during its existence, from construction to demolition, was largely symbolic. Its construction represents the existence of conflict between the USSR and the remaining allied nations. While the demolition represents the end of communism or Soviet Union ((Explain the significance of the Berlin Wall in the Cold War, para s6).
Chung, Tien Kan. “Cold War: 1945-1960” 2007. Web. 12 December 2010
“Cold War 1: The Berlin Crisis” 2002. Web. 12 December 2010
“Explain the significance of the Berlin Wall in the Cold War”. April 4 2010. Web. 12 December 2010
Rosenberg, Jennifer. “The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall”. 2010. Web. 12 December, 2010