Matthias Uhl

War over Berlin? The USSR's Strategic Situation during the Berlin Crisis in 1948-49 and 1958-62. A Comparison

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Soviet Union, Berlin Blockade, Berlin Wall, Strategic Politics

Analyzing in particular Russian primary sources, this essay compares Soviet military and strategic politics during the Berlin blockade (1948-49) and the crisis that led to the erection of the Berlin Wall (1958-62). The paper underlines similarities and differences in the USSR's diplomatic conduct and shows how the Soviet strategic situation played a substantial role in the outcome of the confrontations. In both crises, despite Soviet leaders wishing to modify Berlin's status quo, they tried to avoid a direct war given USSR's strategic inferiority and attempted to fill this gap by increasing defense spending. The paper also focuses on Stalin and Khrushchev's different diplomatic strategies and the influence of the atomic dimension on the resolution of both crises.

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