From Yalta to Berlin: The Cold War Stuggle over Germany

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9780312066055: From Yalta to Berlin: The Cold War Stuggle over Germany
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The question of German unity was the most important and intractable problem to remain unsettled after World War II. It was also one of the least understood and, ultimately, one of the most important issues determining the political stability of the globe at the end of the twentieth century. W. R. Smyser explores "the German Question" and uses it to illustrate the story of how Germany was divided and then united against a background of global events and a continuing search for stable peace in an area that has not known it since the age of Charlemagne. Focusing on the personalities who controlled Germany's fate--FDR, Churchill, Stalin, De Gaulle, Adenauer, Kennedy, Brandt, Reagan, Bush, Gorbachev, Kohl and others--Smyser creates a masterful and engaging portrait of a country that has played a pivotal role in the history of the twentieth century.

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"No nation's fury, no nation's fate, had a greater impact on the twentieth century" than Germany's, writes W.R. Smyser, a onetime State Department official now considered a leading expert on Germany. In this eye-opening account, Smyser suggests the question of Germany is central to understanding the cold war. The country itself lies in the heart of Europe: "If one takes a map of Europe and draws one line from Paris to Moscow and another line from Stockholm to Rome, the two lines intersect remarkably close to the Brandenburg Gate," writes Smyser, in one of his characteristically smart observations. The author has a strong grasp of the leaders who quarreled over Germany between the end of the Second World War and its unification in the 1990s, and an especially good grasp of their motives. Using new archival information, he suggests that Stalin did not in fact want a divided Germany, and that President Kennedy, for his part, had the opportunity to prevent construction of the Berlin Wall but failed to take proper action. Despite all its agonies, the Cold War did have some positive effects: "It served as the essential incubator for a modern German state" and eventually allowed this most problematic of nations to become a peaceful member of the world community. As Smyser points out; the Cold War "ended as it had to end, not on the battlefield but on the streets, in the churches, atop the Berlin Wall and in the conference room. It ended so that all could win, and did." This is a winning account of how it happened. --John J. Miller

From the Publisher:

"Smyser's comprehensive and discerning book gives important historical perspective to the Cold War struggle. Its epicenter was Germany, arguably the country which has had the greatest impact on the twentieth century. He offers illuminating insights into powerful leaders and decisive turning points. A sweeping, lucid and scholarly work, From Yalta to Berlin brings fresh understanding to how the new Germany was created and what we can expect from it." --Henry A. Kissinger

"From Yalta to Berlin offers a fascinating description of transatlantic and German history since the end of World War II. Smyser carefully, yet dramatically, links personal recollections with sharp analyses in the best manner of American political science....Without provocation, but with historical perspective, lucid clarity and courage, Smyser shows the way to a renewal of our thinking, now that NATO and the European Union stand before new tasks....From Yalta to Berlin has the quality needed to make it a standard work on both sides of the Atlantic." --Dr. Richard von Weizsacker, Former President of Germany

"A first-rate chronicle of the Cold War struggle over Germany, so far the best post-war history of Germany; a historic thriller about the way the West interacted over half a century successfully to contain Soviet aggression and to overcome East-West conflict by unifying Germany and Europe. Smyser provides rich insights drawn from a lifetime's reflections on, and involvement in, German matters. This book is fascinating, literate, and perfectly timed." --Horst Teltschik, Former National Security Advisor to Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl

"The story of Germany's rise from ashes to the position of the most influential democracy in a unifying Europe is one of the extraordinary feats of any era. Smyser relates this incredible narrative by combining the careful research of a scholar with the cogent insights of a practitioner who was involved with U.S. policy toward Germany for much of the Cold War. He has written a wonderful history." --Robert B. Zoellick, Former Undersecretary of State and Lead U.S. Official during German Unification

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9780333619681: Diplomacy of the German Question, 1945-89

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Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999
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