The post-Stalin thaw and the bid for peaceful coexistence: The Berlin Crisis 1958 - 1962

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The Berlin Crisis 1958 - 1962

The status of West Berlin

  • The status of West Berlin became contentious in the late 1950s due to West Germany's "economic miracle".
  • This led to two problems for Khrushchev:
    • The growing self-assurance of the West German government manifested itself in military as well as economic developments.
      • West Germany was building up its conventional forces and the Foreign Affairs Minister was arguing for access to nuclear weapons. This provoked genuine alarm in the USSR where there was still apprehension of an economically strong and militarised Germany at the centre of Europe.
    • An increasing number of East Germans were escaping to West Germany in order to benefit from their prosperity.
      • Ulbricht put pressure on Khrushchev to resolve the situation.

Khrushchev's policies

  • He decided to address the Berlin situation and needed to reassert his own position after…

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