THE COMMUNISTS TAKE OVER
International politics in 1947 revolved around the German question. The Soviets understood that a shift had taken place in U.S. policy on Germany and feared that Germany was being organized against them. Although it was clear that a settlement based on each power having a free hand in their own zone was an impossibility, the splitting of Germany was not implemented immediately. The new Secretary of State George C. Marshall, was reluctant to break with the Soviets being afraid that the Germans would play the U.S. off against the Soviets. When the Soviets offered to unify Germany on the western model in return for reparations from current West German production, Marshall was ready to accept limited deliveries. Eventually Stalin's offer was rejected because for the United States, a unified Germany was no longer an attractive alternative. Western Europe would be unified behind a common policy of defending Western civilization, and West Germany would be a central partner in this arrangement. In late 1947 settlement on a unified basis was no longer an alternative, as this would involve bringing the Russians into the Ruhr region and giving them control of the western zones. By 1948, historian Marc Trachtenberg argues, the need for an integrated Western Europe, of which West Germany was a part, had become a dogma of U.S. policy.1 The Russians themselves kept two stakes in the fire: on the diplomatic front they tried to keep the options open for a unified Germany, while at the same time worked toward the Sovietization of their own zone of occupation.2 The rift between the great powers over the fate of Germany was not the only development that pointed toward continental division. Secretary of State Marshall's July 1947 speech offered American assistance to freedom loving nations, but there was an implicit indication that the parts of Europe already occupied by the Soviet Union would not benefit from it. Although some architects of the Marshall Plan originally conceived it to promote European economic and in consequence political unity, in reality it contributed to the opposite. Initially Stalin seems to have considered Soviet and limited East European participation. But when it turned out that the terms were at odds with the Soviet Union's exclusive domination of the region and involved foreign meddling in its domestic economy, the Soviets walked out and ordered their satellites to
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956: Between the United States and the Soviet Union. Contributors: LÁszlÓ Borhi - Author. Publisher: Central European University Press. Place of publication: Budapest. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 111.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.