The Shaping of Postwar Germany

The Shaping of Postwar Germany

The Shaping of Postwar Germany

The Shaping of Postwar Germany

Excerpt

In the disturbed and dangerous world of today, few international problems are more persistent or more critical than those arising from the postwar situation of Germany. The defeated aggressor that was to have been eliminated from the power structure and prevented from ever again becoming a threat to world peace has recovered economically and regained its position as the leading industrial state in western Europe, and has been rearmed at the bidding of the victors as a vital factor in the new power balance. At the same time the interplay of forces involved in the balance has resulted in a partition that does violence to German national sentiment, and a competition for influence over German affairs that is a potentially explosive feature of the postwar power rivalry.

Basically of course what happened to Germany during the war and its aftermath was something that the Germans brought on themselves; and if that were the only aspect to be considered, other peoples could regard it with equanimity. What puts a sharp check on complacency is the all too evident fact that the consequences were not confined to Germany, but fell on others as well. This is a situation that still obtains, and neither the Soviet Union nor the free nations of the West can look with indifference on developments that may result either in changes in Germany's external relations or in new trends in German internal affairs.

The root of this situation clearly lies in the postwar antagonism that arose between the two great power blocs. If Russia and the West could somehow compose their differences, a settlement could be reached that would end the position of Germany as a bone of contention between the rival groups. This is not to say that it could be dictated without regard to the views and interests of the Germans themselves. What might have been possible . . .

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