How far do you agree that the actions of the USSR were primarily responsible for the division of Germany in 1949?
Actions of the USSR contributing towards division
Stalin’s determination to create a buffer zone and attitude towards Germany
* Stalin wanted to protect the USSR from future conflicts with Germany
* Stalin had gained influence in many eastern European countries as the Russian armies advanced for Germany.
* Stalin’s encroachment on this territory broke down war cooperation with the west that was in place and tension builds.
* A good example of this is Soviet actions regarding Poland.
* Poland already had a pro-communist government supported by the USSR.
* Five million Germans had been forcibly expelled form Polish territory.
* Parts of eastern Poland had already been incorporated into the USSR.
* Potsdam meeting in 1945 showed clear differences in attitude towards the treatment of Germany.
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* The SED quickly suppressed any opposition by using its influence over mass organizations.
* East Germany was no longer democratic and the application of democracy to German politics was agreed in 1945 at Potsdam.
* The Red Scare became a prominent issue in America.
* Stalin also set up Cominform, which organized various socialist parties throughout the eastern bloc.
Stalin’s Berlin Blockade
* From June 1948 to May 1949 Stalin imposed the Berlin Blockade.
* The blockade removed the Allies ability to transport supplies to western Berlin via land or river.
* The allies began to supply western Berlin by air and Tempelhof Airport.
* The result of this was increased tension between the USSR and the western Allies.
Actions of the Allies contributing towards division
Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan
* March 1947, The Truman Doctrine stated USA was firmly intent on preventing the spread of communism throughout the world.
* This increased the divide between the USSR and the Allies as Churchill had made the ‘Iron Curtain’ in March 1946.
* The Marshall Plan aimed to prevent the spread of communism by reducing the desire for change in European countries.
* Within 4 years, 13,000 billion dollars was given in aid to European countries under threat of a communist take over.
* Stalin responded with Comecon which was supposed to give aid to guide states in to communist hands.
Western introduction of Bizonia and Trizonia
* In January 1947, British and American zones in Germany were merged to increase economic and industrial power as well as increase political stability and reduce the chance of communist influence.
* This broke agreements that were made at Potsdam in 1945 and angered Stalin as he saw this as a directly anit-soviet move.
* In June 1948, the Deutschmark was introduced into the Western zone.
* This also broke agreements at Potsdam and increased tension between the soviets and the Allies.
Allies denial of wholly united Germany
* The London conference in late 1947 ended with hostility as Stalin had proposed that Germany be completely united and the Allies had denied this request for fear of the spread of communisn.