Germany: The Root of the Cold War?

Essay by boykHigh School, 11th grade September 2003

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

Downloaded 52 times


by Stephen Davies

After Hitler's defeat in World War II, Germany was in turmoil, and the four major Allies -- France, Britain, the USA and Russia -- split the country, first to obtain reparations and then attempt to rehabilitate Germany so that it could eventually re-unite and become independent. But tension grew and developed between Russia and the West, especially the USA, eventually resulting in a war of influence and technological and ideological conflict, The Cold War.

At the Yalta and Potsdam conferences in 1945, the big three (Russia, Britain and the USA, represented by Stalin, Atlee and Truman) met, and it was decided to demilitarise, disarm, dismember, denazify and democratise Germany. The country was divided into British, French, American and Russian zones.

Meanwhile there was other conflict between East and West in Greece and Turkey. In 1947 American president Truman introduced the Truman Doctrine, the American foreign policy of anti-communism which guaranteed aid to 'free peoples' threatened by outside pressure.

America also introduced the Marshall Plan in 1947, utilised by Germany among other countries, which gave 15 000 million dollars to the reconstruction of Europe.

In Germany, on 24th June, 1948, Russia cut all transport links between democratic West Germany and West Berlin, 320 km into communist East Germany, depriving the citizens of food and fuel. Berlin had also been divided into French, British, American and Russian zones, and West Berlin was the former three combined.

Russia cut the links because she was unhappy about having a democratic capitalist presence in her midst, and wanted to own the whole of Berlin.

However, the West responded with the Berlin Airlift, led by General Lucius Clay, in which 2.5 million tons of food and fuel were flown from West Germany to West Berlin. The...