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Germany's Cold War: The Global Campaign to Isolate East Germany, 1949-1969

de 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with the growing conviction that the GDR could no longer be ignored, led to the abandonment of Bonn's effective but outdated efforts to hinder worldwide recognition of the East German regime.… (més)
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Interesting and well-sourced history of the various challenges experienced by officials in the Federal Republic of Germany as they developed strategies and tactics to try to maintain the relative isolation of the German Democratic Republic in the arena of international diplomacy during the 1950s and 1960s. Particular and repeated reference is made to the developing, non-aligned states that tended to exhibit some element of leadership in the community of governments that clearly adhered to neither "side" in the Cold War (at least at some points), including Yugoslavia, Egypt, Syria, India, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. As a reader, one gathers that leaders in Bonn faced constant assessments of the trade-offs between an assertive policy characterized by having clear consequences for actions that crossed certain (sometimes changing) lines and an attitude of tolerance and positive diplomacy. At any rate, the conclusion seems correct that the activities of the Bonn government (as well as the relative weakness of the SED government in Berlin/Pankow) did keep East Germany in relative isolation for several decades in the early Cold War. ( )
  Weisbrod08 | Jan 16, 2022 |
Straight-up diplomatic history of how the FRG spent the first twenty years of its existance trying to keep the DDR in the state of being a pariah. Among other things Gray offers a different perspective on Mid East politics, as Bonn was rather invovled in the region at this time. ( )
  Shrike58 | Dec 27, 2007 |
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I would most like to honor two individuals from an earlier generation, Dr. Gerald Glenn (1911-98) and Mrs. Margaret Gray (1908-2000). Neither will have the opportunity to hear me lecture or to read these words; but their sacrifices for my education made all the difference. It is to these two grandparents that I dedicate this manuscript.
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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.

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