After the failure of negotiations at the PotsdamConference, the cooperation between the victorious powers came to a standstill.Germany was divided into two parts but in 1946 there is no FRG and GDR yet.Berlin was divided in four occupations zones; the former capital was now thefocal point of the East-West conflict. Since Berlin was geographically in themiddle of the Soviet occupation zone, the Soviet Union wanted to raise theclaim over Berlin. After the Second world war, the Reichsmark had lost itssignification as official mean of exchange. The high war costs and theinflationary monetary policy drive the German currency into ruin.
The Americansand the British were considering a currency reform because they knew that thedecline in the value of money would significantly paralyze the development ofthe German economy, but the Soviets were against it. They feared that aneconomic boom in West Germany would induce many people in the eastern sector toflee their zone, consequently the soviet military administration blocked allroads to west Berlin, forcing the westerns powers to give up their claim toBerlin altogether. June 1948, marked the beginning of the Berlin Blockade, oneof the first crisis of the Cold war but also the worst. In this regard, thewesterner powers decided to build an airlift to provide food for people in WestBerlin. It meant that the United States flew with its own aircraft to Berlin toovercome the blockade of the Soviet Union. From June 24, 1948 to May 12, 1949the West Berliners were supplied with food exclusively from the air.
We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!
In theend, the Soviets finally gave in, as the Western occupying powers and West Berlinerswere eager to persevere. The attempt failed to place the entire city under solerule. This first crisis waslaunched by the Soviets but their goal wasn’t to launch a world war, theywanted to know how far the Westerners would go, what were they ready to do tosave Berlin.
This airlift was a success in West Berlin because no one died ofstarving but this is not the case in East Berlin. The means implemented by theWesterners were spectacular in order to show that they will not let themselvesintimidate by the Soviets. The Soviets attitude staid in the limits allowing toavoid the irretrievable, this is typical from the entry in the Cold War.
InWest two items predominate: the economic reconstruction and European securitythrough the U.S umbrella. It has as consequence an increase in thetensions between East and West and made an agreement impossible. In 1949, inaddition to the German division, there was also the division of Berlin intoEast/West half. The following years were characterized by continuous violationsof the transit routes between Germany and West Berlin. The Soviet governmentrepeatedly demanded the withdrawal of Western troops from all over Berlin. Aftera decade of relative calm, tensions flared again and the climax of thisconflict was marked by the Berlin crisis in 1958, when the Western powers andGermany were given an ultimatum. Nearly 3 million refugees flewfrom east to west since the end of the blockade while the Allies resisted.
TheBerlin crisis lasted until 1961 and was marked in August 1961 by theconstruction of the Berlin Wall. Indeed, there was no wall thatseparates GDR from FRD, the only wall was the one build in 1961 in Berlin.Between 1949 and 1961, 3,5 million West German flee via Berlin to West and onAugust 12 some 2,400 defectors left East Germany in a single day which is thelargest number that was ever identified. During the night of the 13thAugust 1961 the wall was build, people wanted to leave East Berlin but it wasnot possible anymore.
That night, Khrushchev gave the East German government permission tostop the flow of emigrants by closing its border for good. In just two weeks, the East German army,police force and volunteer construction workers had completed a makeshiftbarbed wire and concrete block wall–the Berlin Wall–that divided one side ofthe city from the other. The construction is made in ahurry but it was planned for two years but people had no idea how it would takeplace and how to do it. Until 1966, West Germany considered East as a Sovietarea of occupancy. The Government in West did not recognize GDR and GDR did notrecognize the other part of Germany. People were German, but German from WestGermany. What also happen is that East Germany did not want to recognize theOder-Neisse separation, this geographic separation between Poland and Germany.
Before 1945 Germany incorporated a part of Poland. The border lines weresensitive with the Oder Neisse line and it was not possible to access West.There was no diplomatic relation between FRG and the popular democracy. There is often a link that ismade between the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, because the most notable border wasmarked by the Berlin Well and its Checkpoint Charlie. The iron Curtain was marked by the Berlin Wall that was practicallyimpassable and that was built on the initiative of Khrushchev to separate theSoviet zone from the American-British-French West-Berlin zone. Its popularityas a Cold War symbol is attributed Winston Churchill thatused this term in a 12May 1945 telegram he sent to U.S. President Harry S.
Truman regarding his concern about Sovietactions, stating “an iron curtainis drawn down upon their front. We do not know what is going on behind”. Hewas concerned about “another immenseflight of the German population westward as this enormous Muscovite advancetowards the center of Europe”. The 26 June 1963 when J.F. Kennedy 35thpresident of the United States made a speech while he was visiting West-Berlinto celebrate the 15th year of the Berliner blockade and pronouncedthe famous words: “Ich bin ein Berliner”in this speech Kennedy wanted to show the support of the united states to theWest-German citizens that were living in the middle of communist territoriesthat were at that moment demarcated by the Berlin wall and that feared an invasionfrom the army of the Soviet bloc.
These tests of force will leavemarks during a long period of time, they were analyzed and considered assomething typical from the Cold war.