BLOCKADE: Berlin and the Cold War by Eric Morris

BLOCKADE: Berlin and the Cold War

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It is not clear why Morris has chosen the Berlin blockade of 1948-49 as the centerpiece for this history of the Cold War from 1945 to 1961. Morris -- a lecturer at Sandhurst, the British Royal Military Academy -- transcends mere military lore with a broad, rather urbane cold-warrior approach, conceding Western blunders and affronts. In discussing the Berlin question, he traces Stalin's need for guarantees against future German rearmament and revanchism, as well as for reparations, but tends to alibi Allied actions as ""lack of policy."" The book doesn't quite grasp the significance of Western currency reform, a move to penetrate the Eastern European economies, which, like the outflow of skilled workers from East Germany ten years later, was intolerable to the Russians. The blockade itself is well-narrated; more interesting is the counterpoint between Berlin's internal life and global Cold War events -- the Marshall Plan, the formation of NATO, the birth of the Adenauer government, etc. Despite Cold-War intensification, Morris argues that, with the Korean War settled, the 1954 Big Four meeting could have reached a significant accord on Berlin. The book hints that JFK sought a confrontation in Berlin in 1961, the year of the Wall, but fails to pursue motivations. Now de-militarizing negotiations may bear fruit. Competent but too constrained in building an explicit thesis. This might also be viewed as a semi-official British feeler for further rapprochement.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1973
Publisher: Stein & Day