COLD WAR BERLIN
The wartime Allies who defeated Nazi Germany issued many lofty declarations promising a new and better postwar world. Many of these documents were hailed at the time as milestones marking the path to a civilization that was to provide justice and opportunity for all. The war had temporarily suspended the fundamental differences in ideology among the Western participants and their Soviet partner. The immediate aftermath was still imbued with hope that these differences would find sufficient resolution and permit continued cooperation in the pursuit of a lasting peace. The era of good feeling did not last long, however, as suspicion and distrust began to characterize the international conferences of the former Allies. It was soon evident that a new war, the Cold War, was emerging, and the first battles would be fought in Germany, and especially in the divided city of Berlin.
The disagreements between the West and Soviet Russia were not new, for there had been serious ideological differences since 1917. Russian communism had been a thorny issue in international relations for the entire period between the two world wars. It became a world crisis with the elevation of Soviet Russia to the status of a world power, and set the stage for a major confrontation with the capitalist West.
Prior to war’s end in 1945, the West and Russia were able to submerge controversial issues in the name of Allied unity, but with Germany’s defeat a situation was created that required a new kind of cooperation.