Berlin and Cuba

Jim Broderick looks at the crisis management of two moments when the spectre of nuclear war shadowed relations between the superpowers.

The status of Berlin had been an ongoing problem to the Allies since the conferences of Yalta and Potsdam in 1945 when the ‘Big Three’ (Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union) had agreed to divide the defeated Germany into four occupied zones. They also split Berlin, which was located some 110 miles inside the Soviet zone, into four sectors each governed by a military commander from the respective victorious powers. But divisions among the Allies soon emerged concerning the future of Germany in general and Berlin in particular. Instead of treating Germany as a single economic entity – as decided at Potsdam – the Soviet Union governed its zone as if it were an independent unit and opposed Western moves for German reunification along democratic lines.

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