US position – US were worried that negotiations over the issues of a united Germany would bring divisions within the West as important non US diplomats were afraid of a United Germany
Secondly they feared that a United Germany may turn towards Communism – something the US definitely wanted to prevent
So how could they deal with the threat of Germany?
The West firstly focused on strengthening Western Germany – rather than a united Germany – Eisenhower and Dulles believed strengtheing the Western bloc with Germany in it was the most important thing, not unification, believed that by integrating West Germany into Europe it would neutralise their threat
Both E and Adenauer the president of Germany believed that unification could only happen if the Soviets agreed to their demands, Adenauer, would only accept unification with Germany being in the West
So with the lack of Soviet movement in their direction the West began to look to rearm West Germany – this became a fact when W. Germany became a member of Nato in May 1955, West Germany becomes a fully independent state in 1955
The issue of an independent Germany had been avoided until 1990, East and West Germany would stay separate from each other, coexistence of the two pseudo states
With debates breaking down between East and West over the unification of Germany the Soviets had to take action regarding their part of Germany – these were crucial questions. How were the Soviets supposed to behave towards their satellite countries in Eastern Europe in the wake of the Post-Stalin thaw? Would a policy of liberalisation be followed or would they continue with the Stalinism of 1948-53? The issue initally came to a head in East Germany. East Germany was the most difficult conundrum due to the division of the country – and even more important due to the position of a divided Berlin. The clear problem for the Soviets was the thousands of East Germans from escaping to the West through the city of Berlin. This desire to escape only got stronger as West Berlin began to see the benefits of Marshall plan money. These escapes were a propaganda catastrophe for the Soviets as it showed that the wealth was recovering economically better and was freer. One way of strengthening their control in East Germany was through converting the economy to Stalinist models. In 1952 they began a policy of forced collectivisation East Germany This policy however backfired and by Early 1953 – 100,000 East Germans had fled to West Berlin as a result. This provoked great alarm in the upper Soviet echelons, Soviets worry about GDR economic collapse and the re-emergence of an armed West Germany. Something needed to be done to deal with the situation, didn’t want the West to win a propaganda war.
In light of the death of Stalin there existed the possibility of liberalising policy -This led to a questioning of the collectivisation program – Presidium in Moscow May 1953 – condemned forced collectivisation. New Soviet leadership was worried about the attractiveness of West Berlin – needed to show that they could also provide good economic conditions
Various proposals put forward: Molotov for example argues for relaxation of military rule in East Germany, Beria even planned to give up control of East Germany This led to a Relaxation of controls in GDR – change in policy in Eastern Europe
Soviets reduce subsidies to the country, GDR slows rate of change, collectivisation abandoned – popular acceptance sought – cultural and religious freedoms, attacks stop on artisans