8 Nov 2022


The Berlin Crisis: The Conflict Between the Soviet Union and the United States

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The Berlin crisis of 1961 was marked by a cold war conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States that involved the status of the divided Berlin city of Germany. According to Taylor (2012), the crisis was the final military European incident in the Cold War era that involved the occupational practices implemented and the status of Berlin. The Berlin crisis culminated in the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. The wall split the city into West Berlin and Eastern Berlin. As the events unfolded, the congress of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union was held in Moscow together with their counterparts from the Community Party in China. 

The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Great Britain had carried out meetings in what came to be referred to as the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam conference. These conferences were held by the countries at the helm of the Second World War, and as such, it was hoped that such implementations such as the division of Berlin would not occur on the part of the Soviet Union. Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, failed to keep his word with regards to ensuring that free elections are held for the poles and the parliamentary elections which occurred under his rule. The respective leaders of the United States and Great Britain were criticized for failing to be more assertive with Stalin. 

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In both the Potsdam and the Yalta conferences, Stalin assumed a position of power due to the substantial attacks that were carried out by the Red Army towards Berlin in the year 1944. It is also worth noting that had it not been for the action of Great Britain and the United States in invading Normandy from June 6, 1944, the Soviet Union would have taken all the Eastern Europe colonies. Also, the Soviet moved swiftly and annexed nations such as Poland, Baltic States, and Czechoslovakia. The other countries were subjugated to States and were henceforth ruled by communism. 

During the 1960s, Berlin was still divided with the Soviet Union controlling the east and the United States controlling the west. The United States guaranteed freedom in the west. Very many refugees were migrating from East to West Berlin each day, leading to an embarrassment on the part of the Soviet Union. Due to the heavy migration, Khrushchev ordered the closure of the border by the construction of the wall. The people who migrated to seek for freedom in the west were majorly refugees and skilled and qualified workers. The Soviet Union thought that the West Berlin was a center for U.S. espionage. Kempe (2011) asserted that at the Vienna summit that was carried out in June 1961, Khrushchev ordered that U.S. leave the West Berlin within six months. However, Kennedy did not bow down to his wishes and instead went ahead and gave the west freedom. 

The hope for the future is first to see a Germany that is free from imperialism. Both the Soviet communists and the United States capitalists should give Germany the chance to exercise self-rule. Secondly, hope is that Germany will be a more united country and the wall will crumble ensuring that all Germans live in unison irrespective of their political affiliations. In conclusion, the Berlin crisis was an extension of the ideological war that marked the Cold War period between the communists and the capitalists. The United States showcased the strength of the capitalist system by offering freedom to the members of the West Berlin. The Soviet, on the other hand, experienced massive emigration from the east, a sign the communist system was on the verge of rejection in Germany. 


Kempe, F. (2011).  Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the most dangerous place on earth . Penguin. 

Taylor, F. (2012).  The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961-9 November 1989 . A&C Black. 

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