Summary of Germany as a Source of Tension
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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.