Soviet Policy toward East Germany Reconsidered: The Postwar Decade

By Ann L. Phillips | Go to book overview

gary, convened to broaden the base of support for Moscow's Peace Movement and National Front initiatives. Only the founding members of the Cominform, with the exception of Yugoslavia, were in attendance. Furthermore, East Germany was not included as a full and equal member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance until almost two years after its founding. The Prague Conference of Foreign Ministers in October 1950 marked the beginning of the GDR's regular participation in bloc affairs. The formal integration of the GDR into the Soviet bloc did not begin until after the formation of the two German states.

Even after the GDR's official initiation into the bloc in 1950, East Germany did not enjoy equal status with other East European countries. When the Warsaw Treaty Organization was established in 1955, the GDR, although a founding member, was not integrated militarily with the other Pact forces until 1956. And, as previously mentioned, East Germany did not enjoy the full protection of Treaties of Friendship and Mutual Assistance with the entire bloc until 1967.


CONCLUSIONS

In sum, the Kremlin pursued a combination of political and economic policies unique to East Germany in response to the unsettled German question and the open border with the West. These policies expressed a political decision to modify the socialist transformation of the economy and delay political integration of East Germany into the Soviet bloc in order to promote reunification on acceptable terms or use the reunification issue to prevent incorporatian of West Germany into the Western camp.

The exception to the restrained quality of the policies which set the GDR apart from the bloc was the reparations policy. This policy underscored a primary interest in Germany as a source of resources needed to rebuild the devastated Soviet economy. The same priority did not hold for East Europe, as was reflected in the difference in economic burdens imposed as well as the early political consolidation of the bloc. This policy, nevertheless, went hand in hand with the policies common to all which served to guarantee availability of badly needed industrial supplies. Political

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