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  • Created on: 20-11-16 20:51




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Following the Second World War, the USSR & America had been unable to agree on how Germany should be governed. Consequently, Germany had been divided but the USSR refused to recognise West Germany & America refused to acknowlage East West Germany.

The East german goverment was extermely unpopular and therefore many East germans fled to West Germany. West Germany was highly attractive as its citizens enjoyed greater freedom and wealth than those of East germany. Indeed between 1949-1961, 2.7 million East germany refugees,many whom were highly skilled escaped to west germany. berlin was the entre of east germanys refugee problem becaus it was easy for east germans to get from east berlin to west berlin and fromt here to west germany 

The refugee problem was disatster for Krushchev becuase it prived that many people preferred the captitalist west to the communist east. In november 1958 e declared that the whole city of berlin offically belonged to east germany and he also issued an ulyimatum, gving US troops six months to withdraw 

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The Geneva Summit, Camp David, & Paris Summit

The Geneva summit

The meeting took place May 1959. Talks were held in a 'summit' meeting in Geneva between foregin representatives from the USA & the USSR. No solution to this problem was agreed to at this meeting. However, it did lay down the groundwork for Khrushchev to visit the USA and to hold face-to-face talks with Eisenhower.

Camp david

In September 1959, Khrushchev & Eisenhower met at a second summit meeting at Camp David, the US country retreat.During the Camp David Summit, the two leaders spoke frankly. Despite not agreeing on a solution to the problem, it was decided that a further summit meeting would be held between the two leaders. Additionally, Khrushchev agreed to withdraw his 6 month ultimation.

Paris summit 

The meeting took place in Paris in May 1960; it was a disaster. Just before the conference the USSR had shot down an American spy plane over Russia & had captured its pilot. Khrushchev walked out of the meeting in protest when Eisenhower refused to apologise

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The Berlin Wall

  • Khrushchev knew that the USSR could not win a nuclear war. In 1961, America had almost 20 times more nuclear weapons then the USSR. Additionally, American nuclear weapons were able to reach the USSR, whereas Soviet weapons could not reach the US. Kennedy's refusal to retreat called Khrushchev's bluff, forcing the Russian leader to back down.
  • Khrushchev could not force the Americans to leave West Berlin, but he still had to solve the refugee issue. His solution was to build a wall separating East & West Berlin, making it impossible for East Germans to flee to the West.
  • On the night of August 12 1961, East German troops secretly erected a barbed wire fence around the whole of West Berlin. In the coming months the fence was reinforced & eventually became a heavily guarded wall. Soviet tanks were deployed to block further western access to the East, causing a day-long stand-off with US tanks on October 27. Finally, after 18 hours, the tanks began to pull back - one by one. The crisis had passed. Kennedy commented 'it's not a very nice solution, but a wall is a hell of a lot better then a war'.

The impact of the wall

  • it stopped east germans escaping to west and ended the refugee crisis
  • it allowed khruschev to avoid war with amercia
  • it became a powerful symbol of the division of germany and the divison of europe 
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