Soviet Policy toward East Germany Reconsidered: The Postwar Decade

By Ann L. Phillips | Go to book overview
Save to active project

addition, the uncertainty of Germany's future and conflicting Soviet interests reduced the SED to an instrument of Soviet policy to a greater degree than in the rest of East Europe. At the same time, however, the SED enjoyed much greater administrative authority in the SBZ than any German political party in the Western Zones in the early postwar period. Nonetheless, it must be concluded that the Soviets developed their policy toward Germany largely irrespective of the interests or fortunes of the SED, although major shifts in policy orientation struck a responsive chord with some factions of the party.


The establishment of two German states in 1949 dramatically symbolized the perceived irreconcilability of interests of East and West. The division cannot be said to have occurred as a result of a plan on either side, but rather, to have developed in conjunction with the dynamic spiral of international tension between the two systems.

The proceedings of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences illustrate the lack of understanding of competing postwar goals while bringing to light the issues of fundamental disagreement which would ultimately undermine the alliance. Stalin himself prophetically stated toward the close of the Yalta Conference: "It is not so difficult to keep unity in time of war since there is a common aim to defeat a common enemy. . . . The difficult task will come after the war when diverse interests tend to divide the Allies. . . ." ( 181)

Charges that the United States "gave away" too much at Yalta were common in the 1950s as well as today. They seem to reflect a perspective which accords no legitimacy to Soviet interests or security requirements. It must be noted that at the time, U.S. concessions on reparations and Poland seemed to Roosevelt and Churchill to be matched in importance by Soviet concessions on the United Nations and French participation in the occupation of Germany. Stalin's preoccupation with the reparations and Polish issues was due to their direct importance to Soviet national security. By contrast, U.S. national security was not directly threatened by any of the matters at issue, as


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Soviet Policy toward East Germany Reconsidered: The Postwar Decade


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 270

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?