BY December 1947 the Council of Foreign Ministers, which had been established at Potsdam, had clearly failed to fulfil part of its avowed purpose, that of preparing a peace treaty to decide the future of the defeated Reich. The failure of the fifth Council meeting also brought the collapse of the whole Potsdam process, including, in 1948, the 'noble experiment' of the Control Council in Germany.1 Effective decision-making had now openly returned to the capital cities, which, it can be argued, it had never really left. By January 1948 Bevin could finally bring into the open his fears about Soviet intentions and his determination to build a Western Europe that could withstand the onslaught of communism. It was clear that a provisional government for the Western zones of Germany could not be far away -- and Bevin knew that he had much support from within Western Germany itself. The ideological battle for the heart and soul of the German people was now in full swing, combating 'fear to dull the hearts and distorted information to capture the minds of peoples powerless to resist'.2 Marshall Aid would, it hoped, serve as the basis for the economic recovery of Western Germany and Europe, and interim aid consolidated France's position in the Western camp, although the latter's economic competitiveness with Germany and her preoccupation with the possibility of a German revival were to colour Anglo-French and Franco-German relations in Europe for many years to come.3
So, less than three weeks after the collapse of the Council, Bevin elaborated to the Cabinet his policy on Germany and on a Western Union. Released from the shackles of Potsdam, Germany's future could now be seen within its ideological framework, revealing the need to create a democratic, Westward-looking Germany, not a police state with 'the revival of the Gestapo under another name'.4 The Western powers would have to secure Western Germany and Western Europe with American backing, and____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Impossible Peace:Britain, the Division of Germany and the Origins of the Cold War. Contributors: Anne Deighton - Author. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 223.
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