Berlin--Pivot of German Destiny

By Charles B. Robson | Go to book overview

Preface

WHEN PREMIER NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV TOOK HIS ABRUPT DEparture from the stillborn summit conference in Paris, he flew directly to East Berlin. There he made a speech outlining the policy the Soviet Union proposed to follow in the new phase of the cold war. The place and circumstances of his statement, as well as its specific content, indicate that the status of Berlin is to continue to be a focal issue in world politics.

The most surprising features of Mr. Khrushchev's address are the mildness of its tone and the moderation of its diction, and its acceptance of the need for time in order to work out solutions of the issues now causing tensions between the East and West—including the issue of the status of Berlin. In these particulars the speech of May 19, 1960, in East Berlin contrasts sharply not only with Khrushchev's blustering utterances made just previously in Paris, but with his note of November 27, 1958. That document had the character of an ultimatum because it made positive demands and set a specific time limit for acceptance. Later this blatant threat was transformed into the more moderate attitude displayed intermittently by Khrushchev on the path to the summit, especially at Camp David. Apparently this gain was not altogether lost in the resounding collapse of the latest summit conference.

-vii-

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