The Berlin Wall and US-Soviet relations

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  • The Berlin Wall and US-Soviet relations
    • The Impact of the Wall
      • Western troops stayed in Berlin after wall was built
      • Solved refugee problem
      • Number of military alerts in Berlin declined. Kennedy said a wall was better than a war.
      • Seemed to suggest Soviets were not interested in unifying Berlin under communist rule (as Khrushchev demanded in Nov 1958)
      • Humiliation for USSR, propaganda victory for West (E. Germans preferred living in W. Germany and had to be forced to stay.
      • W. Berlin was a symbol of freedom (highlighted further by over 200 people  being killed trying to cross the wall)
      • Khrushchev mistakenly thought Kennedy had shown weakness by allowing wall to be built, encouraged him to think about deploying missiles to Cuba
      • Notorious barrier between the freedoms enjoyed in the west and those denied in the east
    • Kennedy's visit to West Berlin (1963)
      • Kennedy famously visited Berlin in 1963 and claimed 'Ich bin ein Berliner' ('I am a Berliner')
      • Speech was an expression of solidarity with people of W. Berlin.
        • The fact that Kennedy chose to visit W. Berlin personally and give his speech showed the US and NATO were prepared to defend W. Berlin from communist attack
      • Kennedy was speaking after the Cuban Missile Crisis adn was showing that he was not 'soft on communism'
    • The Iron Curtain divides East and West
      • Construction of the wall was he last remaining gap in the Ion Curtain, Europe was not completely divided
      • On either side of the Iron Curtain
        • Two Germanys
        • Two different ideologies
        • Two difference alliances (NATO and the Warsaw Pact)

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