On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered a major speech on the Cold War with the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall as a back drop. In staging this speech, President Reagan hoped to draw a parallel with the historic speech delivered in Berlin by President John F. Kennedy in July 1963. It was in this speech that President Kennedy spoke the famous phrase: "All free men, wherever they….
Following World War II, Germany was divided into two countries, with West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) becoming integrated into Western Europe and East Germany (German Democratic Republic) falling behind the Iron Curtain, with the Soviet Union in control. After the historic and spontaneous dismantling of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, East and West Germany were on the verge of….
Telephone Call from Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Federal Republic of Germany to President George H. W. Bush
After the historic and spontaneous dismantling of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, East and West Germany were on the verge of reuniting. Helmut Kohl, the West German chancellor and later chancellor of the reunited Germany, and George H. W. Bush, president of the United States, engaged in ongoing conversations in the months leading up to reunification, which eventually took place on October 3,….
The new Secretary General of East Germany, Egon Krenz, traveled to Moscow on November 1, 1989 to meet in person with Gorbachev and assess the situation in East Germany and discuss possible paths forward. Throughout the lengthy meeting, Krenz and Gorbachev spoke openly about the challenges that now faced the GDR. Gorbachev, for the most part, remained hopeful that the new GDR leadership could….
As events in Eastern Europe and especially in East Germany continued to pick up the pace, speculation began to grow, both within the two Germanies and internationally, that German reunification was once again a topic for debate. The West European had already speculated that West Germany might abandon its commitment to NATO and the European Community in favor of reunification. West German….
In this telephone conversation between West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and U.S. President George H. W. Bush on October 23, 1989, the two leaders discuss the revolutionary events in Hungary, Poland, and East Germany. It is clear from Kohl's summary of West Germany's approach toward Eastern Europe that he preferred a slow course of reform, based primarily on economic reforms supported by new….
The level of unrest in East Germany had been increasing throughout the summer of 1989 and a major focal point of concern for both the East German security forces and international observers concerned the very prominent visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to attend the GDR's 40th anniversary celebrations. This cable sheds light not only on the events leading up to Gorbachev's visit, but also on the….
Anatoly Chernyaev was Mikhail Gorbachev's chief foreign policy advisor during the dramatic events of 1989. In this excerpt from his personal diary, Chernyaev speaks about preparing Gorbachev for his official state visit to East Germany on the occasion of the GDR's 40th anniversary in October 1989.
There are several interesting elements that can be seen in this short excerpt. The first….
Once the Soviet Union and its East European Allies formed a military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, in May 1955, the Communist states formed a seemingly impenetrable block of land behind an "Iron Curtain." However, numerous conflicts continued to affect the member states of the Warsaw Pact. Poland and East Germany, for example, continued to engage in border disputes over the reestablished….
At the end of World War II, Germany was divided into four zones of occupation, with each being overseen by one of the Allied powers: the U.S., Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. With the beginning of the Cold War shortly thereafter, this divide became permanent, with the Soviet zone in East Germany becoming a separate country (the German Democratic Republic), and the other three….
President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met for a four-day summit, their second together, in Washington and Camp David beginning on May 31, 1990. Discord had grown dramatically within the Soviet government concerning the drastic changes that had occurred in the Soviet bloc during the previous year. The following excerpt from a State Department report produced for Bush….
As the Communist Parties throughout Eastern Europe lost power throughout the fall of 1989, the issue of the treatment of minorities inside those countries gained increased prominence. The ongoing plight of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria and the tensions among the nationalities of Yugoslavia were two areas of international concern. The Soviet Union faced its own minority issues with the….
This speech was delivered by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on June 8, 1990. In her speech, she articulated two main points: one that expressed her support for continued reform and another that affirmed her support for a unified German state (something she was initially hesitant to support). When addressing the issue of reform inside the Soviet Union, Thatcher welcomed the new Soviet….
Margaret Thatcher held an impromptu press conference outside of her official residence, No. 10 Downing Street, on the morning following the initial opening of the Berlin Wall. In her remarks, it is clear that she is hesitant to reply directly to the idea of a unified German state. Instead, she expressed a desire to move slowly and to facilitate the internal growth of democracy from within East….
As part of a public demonstration of support for the newly-elected governments in Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, traveled throughout the region in September 1990. Not only did this provide her an opportunity to discuss important matters for Britain's foreign policy but also she could use the attention she brought with Western journalists to allow the new….
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the prospect of a powerful reunited Germany worried nations in both the Eastern and Western blocs. Soviet officials suggested in repeated messages to the US that the four allies empowered to govern Germany at the conclusion of World War II—Britain, France, the US, and the Soviet Union—meet in order to relinquish their occupation rights and….
On 3 October 1990, the constitution of West Germany was extended to cover the five states of East Germany, reunifying Germany as a single country under one law. Congratulations were extended to the new country from around the world, including from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which could celebrate the reunification as one of its own achievements. NATO was a military alliance….
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a founder of Solidarity, who became Poland’s first noncommunist prime minister in forty years, visited Washington for three days of meetings in March 1990 as European and American diplomats were engrossed in negotiations to devise a plan for German reunification that would be acceptable to all nations involved. The Polish government feared that a powerful reunited Germany….
On October 3, 1990, the East and West German states officially united into a single sovereign state—the Federal Republic of Germany. The terms for unification were hammered out in a series of agreements including both the Unification Treaty, that dealt with domestic issues, and the Two-Plus-Four Agreement, that dealt with issues of foreign policy. In a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House,….
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and U.S. President George H. W. Bush kept in close contact throughout the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and Germany's unification on October 3, 1990. The process of German unification was complicated by the fact that there was never an official treaty ending World War II. Thus, the four victorious powers (France, the United….