Case 139 - The German Question and the Cold War
Painter, David S.
This case study is designed to highlight the link between two problems: the origins of the Cold War, and the resolution of the “German Question”: the belief that whoever controlled Germany could dominate the whole of Europe and tilt the global balance of power against its rival. Indeed, the country’s strategic, economic, and political importance made both East and West fearful of the prospect of a unified Deutschland aligning itself with the other side. This case asks students to analyze what the United States and its allies were likely to gain through negotiations with the Soviets versus what they could achieve, and to a large extent already had achieved, through negotiations among themselves. It could be paired with Case 147, “Deciding Germany’s Future, 1943-1945.”