Berlin Crisis and German Reunification

December 24, 1958

Report Outline
Diplomatic Duel Over Status of Berlin
East-West Conflict on Future of Germany
German Roles in World Power Blocs
Permanent Division Vs. German Reunification

Diplomatic Duel Over Status of Berlin

Pressure for High Level Conference on Germany

Decisive changes in the condition of divided Germany and divided Berlin seem in prospect for the year 1959, although the form they will take cannot now be foreseen. Russia's ultimatum of Nov. 27, calling for removal of Allied forces from West Berlin within a period of six months clashed head on with prior (and subsequent) Western pledges to remain in the Communist encircled city. Both sides have threatened use of force under certain circumstances, and it is recognized that Berlin has the possibility of becoming the Sarajevo of a third world war. Western statesmen are convinced, however, that Moscow neither wants nor can afford global war at this time. And cautious hopes are expressed in Western capitals that developments out of the Berlin crisis will open the way to negotiations with Russia for a general European settlement.

The final paragraph of the communique on the Berlin problem, issued Dec. 16 after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, read as follows:

The Council considers that the Berlin question can only be settled in the framework of an agreement with the U.S.S.R. on Germany as a whole. It recalls that the Western powers have repeatedly declared themselves ready to examine this problem as well as those of European security and disarmament. They are still ready to discuss all these problems.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 22, 1989  A Primer on German Reunification
Apr. 19, 1985  German Reconciliation
Feb. 25, 1983  West Germany's ‘Missile’ Election
Jan. 14, 1970  German Reconciliation
Jan. 29, 1969  West German Prosperity
Mar. 30, 1966  German Border Question and Reunification
Aug. 18, 1965  West German Election, 1965
Feb. 24, 1965  War Guilt Expiation
Jul. 01, 1964  German Question
Sep. 01, 1961  Captive East Germany
Aug. 23, 1961  West German Election, 1961
May 04, 1960  Berlin Question
Dec. 24, 1958  Berlin Crisis and German Reunification
Aug. 21, 1957  German Election, 1957
Oct. 19, 1955  European Security
Jun. 15, 1955  Germany and the Balance of Power
Oct. 19, 1954  German Rearmament
Jan. 19, 1954  West German Recovery
Mar. 12, 1953  Harassed Berlin
Apr. 26, 1950  German Problem
Feb. 18, 1948  Rehabilitation of the Ruhr
Oct. 23, 1946  Future of Germany
Nov. 25, 1944  Transfers of Populations
Nov. 01, 1940  Economic Controls in Nazi Germany
Mar. 09, 1939  Foreign Trade in German Economy
Apr. 02, 1936  Germany's Post-War European Relations
Nov. 02, 1934  The Coming Saab Plebiscite
Apr. 23, 1931  The Austro-German Customs Union Project
Feb. 05, 1929  The Rhineland Problem
Nov. 07, 1924  German National Elections December, 1924
Apr. 30, 1924  The German National Elections
Cold War
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
U.S. at War: Cold War
War and Conflict