Essay on The Cold War and West Germany 1960-1970

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The Cold War and West Germany 1960-1970

During the formative years of the Cold War, Germany had become both the potential balancer and ideological battleground between the East and the West. After Stalin's death in 1953 tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union seemed to be improving. However, by the late 1950s when Khruschev took over power, hostility was on the rise due to his efforts to bully the United States into "détente through intimidation." Khruschev wished for, among other things, a reunited Germany under Soviet terms and conditions. The Soviet Union's efforts to intimidate the United States led to several global crises. "Ironically, two of these crises, the construction of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban
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Throughout 1960, East Germany's Walter Ulbricht had been pleading to the Soviet Union to do something to stop this influx of the intellectual class into West Germany but Khruschev was wary of making a definitive move. It wasn't until Ulbricht asked Khruschev for more economic aid that the Soviet leader realized how bad the situation was in East Germany and how deeply it depended on the West. "Ulbricht undercut his own argument with Khruschev, however, when he asked Moscow for more economic support and especially when he asked Khruschev to provide contingency aid in case West Germany used economic sanctions to retaliate against East German moves against West Berlin." (Smyser, Page 146.)
When Kennedy became president in 1961, he was eager to come to a more solid agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States in regards to Berlin for he feared that a confrontation would result in a nuclear war. Khruschev thought Kennedy weak and tried threatening him during their meeting in Vienna but in the weeks that followed the United States showed that they would not give in to the Soviets terms of unification. The United States made it clear that it would defend their rights to "the freedom of West Berlin, Allied rights in West Berlin, and Western access to West Berlin" but it made no move to fight for East Berlin. (Smyser, Page 156.) Thus, on August 13, 1961, barbed wire was rolled along the sector border between