1. Timeline of the blockade, 1948: January: The US and British Zones in Berlin and the rest of Germany merged into one economic unit, known as Bizonia. March: Soviet representatives walked out of the Allied Control Commission complaining that Western attitudes made it “unworkable”. The Commission had be established in 1945, to administer all the captured zones. April: The Allied zones were included in the Marshall Plan, Soviet troops began to hold up and search road and rail traffic, that entered West Berlin.
June: The Western powers announced plans to create a West German State and introduce a new currency, known as the western deutschmark, for their zones and western Berlin. The Soviet also economically retaliated by introducing its own currency, the ostmark, in the soviet zone and eastern Berlin. Late June – 24th June: Stalin openly accused the West of interfering in the Soviet zone, as a result he cut off roads, rail and canal traffic in an attempt to starve western Berlin of its resources.
Stalin was trying to force the Allies to pull out of their sectors and abandon plans for separate development on their German zones. Explain the causes of the crisis; what was most important and who was to blame? The causes of the Berlin blockade between the Soviet Union and the USA can only be catergorized into two separate reasons; that being short and long terms causes. The long-term causes of the blockade: The Soviet Union had ensured that the minority of the communist group took control of their eastern zone.
They tried, unsuccessfully, to secure communist control of Berlin’s city council, but was utterly crushed by the capitalist movement in a general election. The West, capitalist countries wanted to speed up the economic recovery of Germany, which had been devastated by war and was now facing serious shortages of food and fuel. The Soviet Union of course, wanted quite the opposite from the capitalist governments, their focus was to secure enough land safely and to be secured from a future attack, so there was this arising sense of pressure that was originally generated by Britain’s and the USA’s economic motivation.
As Berlin was at the heart of the Soviet controlled eastern Germany, the western allies at first we granted access to their sectors by road, rail, canal and air. Stalin did not want this method of “free trade” to continue, as they were differing causes, it could be seen as a deviation from both sides main causes. Stalin also noticed that from Western Germany, it was promoting capitalism and was becoming more appealing towards the poorer, communist Germans that remained within Eastern Germany, so there was this damage towards Stalin’s “sphere of influence”.
Short-term causes for the blockade: The Western Allies forged ahead by encouraging the economic recovery of their zones, especially, in providing a much-needed currency. The western zones received large quantities of “Marshall Aid”. In addition they set up free elections to establish democracy. This of course, opposed Stalin’s communist ideology, and he feared that he would loose control over eastern Berlin for good, a defence or policy of isolationism was needed to be adopted to stop the spread of capitalist influence.
In Conclusion, i think both sides, that being the USA and the USSR are to blame, yes they are both opposing systems, with heavier doses of influence upon each others areas, but the truth is there is always going to be a opposing system within the depths of another parties, what it think the two largest nations at the time did was morally wrong, because as the result of their “squabbling” and decoded telegrams the German people morally suffered more than from a war they had barely survived, its people were being dragged in and out of economic systems, the fear of another war and food and medicine shortages, it was the equivalent of another war on behalf of the Germans.
And if the Americans and the Soviets did have some political issues, as large powers at the time, it was their commitment to lead an example out of war, and that their differences could be solved under terms of negotiation rather than “secret telegrams” and the impression under both sides of “secret agents”, i truly think other countries at that time must have been shaking their heads – that is if they weren’t succumbed to capitalist or communist propaganda. What was Germany’s result? Germany was then confirmed as divided between the capitalist (Western sectors) to the communists (Eastern sectors), along the western side of Germany industry flourished, with loans provided by Britain and America, the vehicle and power industry thrived, creating jobs and business’ for millions of Germans. However across the border, eastern Germany was already experiencing food shortages, diseases and power outs, with all of Germany’s resources to be shared amongst its people and the Red Army, nothing was able to grow because there was no available currency, or no currencies that we worth anything.
The divided sectors of Berlin were hit the heaviest, not only during the war, but amongst the Americans and Soviets, the West was kept under heavy soviet surveillance, all communication was cut by Soviet attempts between western Germany and western Berlin, they experienced food shortages, and power outs, this was shortly changed, as western Berlin received air lifts, containing food, medicine and goods to the people, and continued to do so until June 1948. Eastern Berlin was heavily damaged, soviet controlled and contained a majority of the red army along its border as an act of intimidation, the city was not repaired and its people were to share all physical possessions with the red army, to what Stalin said; “To keep the communist bonds deep within Germany”. How were relations affected? The rivalry between the East and the West was greatly increased and became obvious.
It confirmed the divisions of Germany and Berlin. It led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, also known as NATO. Truman saw the crisis as a great victory, West Berlin had survived and stood up against the Soviet Union, without causing war. For Stalin it was seen as a defeat and humiliation, however this did not stop Stalin from announcing a victory on their behalf. Three key features of the German airlift: Demonstrated the relationship between the USA and the USSR, to what extent they were willing to go for Germany. How they resented each other despite the fear of another war. Communism and Capitalism could not cooperate peacefully.
What were the reasons for the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939: During 1939, Stalin had also received visits from German foreign ministers, Ribbentrop for example, visited Stalin on the 23rd of August 1939, the sensational claim was made shortly afterwards, that the two bitter enemies had signed alliegence to one another. The Nazi-Soviet pact was both agreed by Hitler and Stalin, that the two would not fight, but secretly also agreed to divide Poland between them. It seemed shocking that the soviet Union had signed an agreement with a country, whose leader wanted to wipe out communism. But Stalin wanted to stop the attack on his country, Britain and France had a deep suspicion of the Soviet Union and Stalin believed what they really wanted for Germany and the Soviet Union to go to war, so that they would both we weakened.
This pact would give both Hitler and Stalin the time they needed, for one to avoid a war on two fronts and the other to gain economic strength, and military influence across its vast population. Hitler did hate communism, but after signing the pact he knew that if he invaded Poland, he would not have to fight the Soviet Union. He did not believe that Britain and France would go to war to support Poland, so he believed that the pact would allow him to take a very large amount of Poland without war. Even if Britain and France did declare war, Germany;s eastern border was now secured by an alliance with the Soviet Union and he did not have to face the prospect of a war on two “fronts”.
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