Germany's Cold War: The Global Campaign to Isolate East Germany, 1949-1969 (The New Cold War History)
William Glenn Gray
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Using newly available material from both sides of the Iron Curtain, William Glenn Gray explores West Germany's efforts to prevent international acceptance of East Germany as a legitimate state following World War II.
Unwilling to accept the division of their country, West German leaders regarded the German Democratic Republic (GDR) as an illegitimate upstart--a puppet of the occupying Soviet forces. Together with France, Britain, and the United States, West Germany applied political and financial pressure around the globe to ensure that the GDR remain unrecognized by all countries outside the communist camp. Proclamations of ideological solidarity and narrowly targeted bursts of aid gave the GDR momentary leverage in such diverse countries as Egypt, Iraq, Ghana, and Indonesia; yet West Germany's intimidation tactics, coupled with its vastly superior economic resources, blocked any decisive East German breakthrough.
Gray argues that Bonn's isolation campaign was dropped not for want of success, but as a result of changes in West German priorities as the struggle against East Germany came to hamper efforts at reconciliation with Israel, Poland, and Yugoslavia--all countries of special relevance to Germany's recent past. Interest in a morally grounded diplomacy, together with the growing conviction that the GDR could no longer be ignored, led to the abandonment of Bonn's effective but outdated efforts to hinder worldwide recognition of the East German regime.
East German government as a product of Soviet administrative ﬁat; the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (ussr) could pave the way for uniﬁcation any time merely by withdrawing support for the sed administration and agreeing to hold free elections in eastern Germany.≥π In this way the Allies deﬂected attention away from their own plans for rearming West Germany, a project that promised to deepen the country’s division still further by tying the Federal Republic politically and militarily to the
missions. Two months later a more perfunctory arrangement—chambers of commerce—ﬁnally won Yugoslav approval.≤≥ As Yugoslavia’s behavior demonstrated, the gdr was seldom the author of its own successes in the mid-1950s. Its fate remained closely tied to that of the Soviet Union and thus to the general ebbs and ﬂows of the Cold War. Ulbricht’s policy in the nonaligned world, like Khrushchev’s, was opportunistic; the East saw openings wherever the West was in disrepute.≤∂ From this standpoint, the
for this could lead to a certain sense of normalcy about the existence of two German states.∞∞≥ Brentano insisted that no ﬁnal decisions had been taken; the government would consult the Bundestag, the new cabinet, and Germany’s nato allies before proceeding further. This statement was an attempt to share the political responsibility for his cautious line on Eastern policy, preempting any debilitating attacks from the opposition parties.∞∞∂ Brentano’s stance had important consequences for press
efforts to block worldwide acceptance of the gdr. But neither Brentano nor 98 scrambling for africa Scherpenberg enjoyed complete control over the Foreign Ofﬁce, and in practice the exigencies of the Berlin Crisis took precedence over concerns about a consistent application of Bonn’s isolation strategy.π∞ The lower priority accorded the Hallstein Doctrine was most evident in Bonn’s handling of Yugoslavia. Throughout 1958, Belgrade rather than Bonn had pushed for a resumption of diplomatic
normalization of relations with Israel would disrupt the traditional German-Arab friendship and even drive the Arab states to recognize the gdr. Material aid to Israel, in the form of economic support, would have to substitute for conventional diplomatic ties.≥π Tellingly, even the advocates of diplomatic relations with Israel generally endorsed the Hallstein Doctrine as a tool of West German diplomacy; they merely disputed the right of the Arab leaders to interfere with the warming of relations