history

Eastern_Europe

  EAST GERMANY

 

How the Separation of Germany
Contributed to the Disintegration
of Communism in Eastern Europe.

By David Eisenstein

 

After the downfall of Hitler's Third Reich, the division of East and West Germany, separated the "Land In the Middle of Europe." The continued shifts in boundaries only clarified Germany's uneasy role in Europe. After an evil dictatorship by Hitler, and the horrors brought about by Word War II, for nearly fifty years the division of Germany appeared to insure stability into the Cold War.

"A nation of former Nazi's seemed to be being transformed into two nations, one of Democrats, the other of Communists-and each appeared to be a model instance of its type" (Fulbrook, 1). These two Germany's, created by the superpowers, faced each other on the Iron Curtain, which ran down the inner-most frontier of the largest divided nation. East and West Germany were almost polar opposites. They saw everything in black and white. They were each other's greatest enemies. This was shown on April26, 1960. The East German Ministry of Cultural Affairs issued as order that the word "Germany" would no longer be used in any documents. The two German states would henceforth be called the "German Democratic Republic "and "West Germany".

 

Germany had failed to develop a well-settled properly fused society. Since the greatest concentrations of heavy industry lay in the Western zones of occupation, a portion of reparations from those zones was to be turned over to the Soviets. The Russians, whose country had suffered enormous devastation from many years of warring, felt justified in seizing as much German industrial equipment as they could. The question then arose of how to deal with the country as a whole. The Soviets made the most changes, which were in line with their Communist ideology; they socialized much of industry and affected a radical, agrarian reform that distributed land to farmers in Communist fashion. Russia believed that the best hope for united and free Germany lay in establishing a new government for at least part of the country so as to bring about political stability. This political stability would be supported by a Communist foundation to ensure rapid economic recovery. The Marshall Plan shocked the Soviet leaders in Moscow. They would no longer be able to use poverty in Western Europe to spread Communism. Moscow's reaction to the Marshall Plan was swift. The military governors of the Soviet Union announced that they would inspect all freight shipments coming into West Berlin. The officials of the United States would not agree to this because the Soviet leaders had agreed to allow open traffic through a corridor connecting West Berlin with West Germany. By July1, 1948, the Soviet Union had blocked all land and water routes into West Berlin. The people of West Berlin could not survive long without food and other necessities for survival. They would be forced to become part of Communist East Germany

 

By the Nineteenth Century the idea of Socialism in Eastern Europe had been called into question. Communism in Germany could not be efficient because it lacked the essential properties needed for rational allocation of resources. The disintegration of Communism is primarily due to the lack of market conditions. Tangible goods hold more value than cash, which becomes the preferred medium of economic exchange.

Another large problem with Communism was private ownership. Private initiative is the leading force for market performance. If workers interests are tied to the company he or she works for, he or she will work more efficiently. As time continues and technology matures, the crisis lay in the Soviet system, which was no longer, an attractive political model for the future. There was no longer a monolithic Communist movement

Why did Communism fall? According to F.A. Hayek "a system thought out behind a desk, by the mind, cannot succeed". Some say Communism and the social system itself carried the seeds of destruction. Others proclaim that a system not based on market forces is never viable. For a political system to prevail, it must be based on the fundamental elements of a Democracy. 

 

Works Cited
  1. Fulbrook, Mary The Two Germanies, 1945-1990, HPI Inc. New Jersey,Copyright 1992
  2. Pike, David The Politics of Culture in Soviet-Occupied Germany, Stanford University Press, California, Copyright 1992
  3. Adam, Jan Why Did the Socialist System Collapse in Central and Eastern European Countries?, ST. Martin's Press, Inc. New York, Copyright 1996
  4. Fowkes, Ben The Rise and Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, ST. Martin's Press, Inc. New York, Copyright 1993

 

 

 

 

 

 

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