The Importance Of Germany During The Cold War

Submitted By victoriouscalbear
Words: 2952
Pages: 12

For centuries, Central Europe had always been a subject of concern and an interest to countries and territories that border the area. Whether the area is in the form of separate individual states or a unified country under one ruler, Central Europe is the heart of Europe and it affects the whole Europe economically, politically, and militarily. This “German” question of whether having a unified country or separate states continues to resurface other familiar questions as history repeats itself once again. Can the interests of all Europeans be settled in the long run with a unified Germany? Or will she once again attest and prove herself in Europe? I will argue that Germany was of great significance and importance during the Cold War since she acted as a threat to the security of Europe, she played a great role in the economic health and welfare of Europe, and finally because of the battle between the Soviet Union and the United States of America to reunify Germany under their own ideology. Germany and Central Europe had always been a great empire since the age of Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious. Nevertheless, great empires have their downfalls as the difference in faith between the Hapsburg family and the German princes generated the Thirty Years War between the Catholics and the Protestants. But the war was not simply all about religion as territory and boundaries played a huge part. In 1521, the Hapsburg family controlled most of Central Europe and Spain, with Charles V ruling Spain, the Low Countries, Italian territories, and Portugal, and his brother Ferdinand I ruling Austria and the German territories: Bohemia and Hungary . As a result, the French were surrounded and threatened by the Hapsburgs and they regarded the Hapsburg as a permanent threat to their own boundaries. The resulting tension caused more wars and conflicts such as the War of the Spanish Succession . This enmity between the French and Central Europe did not stop and it continued in history into the formation of the Prussian state. During the 1700s, the Prussian state was a mere kingdom when Frederick III decided to upgrade his duchy into a kingdom. Although the kingdom was small, his son’s and his grandson’s annexation and expansion through wars created a prosperous and powerful Prussia. The success of Prussia continued when Wilhelm I appointed Otto von Bismarck as the Prime Minister of Prussia in 1862. As Prime Minister, Bismarck unified the separate states of Prussia into one German empire under Prussian rule and he waged successful battles against Austria and Denmark in order to secure a united German aristocracy behind the King of Prussia. This imbalance of power in Europe is further shown in Bismarck’s “Iron and Blood speech ” of 1862: “Yes, the great independence of the individual makes it difficult in Prussia to govern with the constitution; in France things are different… we’re perhaps too “well-educated” to support a constitution… We’re too hot-blooded, we have a preference for putting on armor that is too big for our small body.”
The speech implied that Prince Bismarck did not care about adhering to democratic ideals or the ballot. It also showed that Prussia may expand its borders as Bismarck described his people as “too hot-blooded.” In addition, Bismarck stated that Prussia’s borders according to the Vienna Treaties (1814-1815) were not favorable for a healthy, vital state; “it is not by speeches and majority resolutions that the great questions of the time are decided, but by iron and blood.” With the last phrase of his speech invoking the idea that territory disputes and other problems aren’t solved by speeches or diplomacy but by military means, nations around Prussia have a legitimate reason to be afraid of the military might of Prussia such as France.
About 300 years later after the Hapsburg incident , the French faced a similar situation. In 1869, the German Prince, Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was offered