Using newly available material from both sides of the Iron Curtain,
William Glenn Gray explores West Germany's efforts to prevent
international acceptance of East Germany as a legitimate state
following World War II.
Unwilling to accept the division of their country, West German
leaders regarded the German Democratic Republic (GDR) as an
illegitimate upstart--a puppet of the occupying Soviet forces.
Together with France, Britain, and the United States, West Germany
applied political and financial pressure around the globe to ensure
that the GDR remain unrecognized by all countries outside the
communist camp. Proclamations of ideological solidarity and
narrowly targeted bursts of aid gave the GDR momentary leverage in
such diverse countries as Egypt, Iraq, Ghana, and Indonesia; yet
West Germany's intimidation tactics, coupled with its vastly
superior economic resources, blocked any decisive East German
Gray argues that Bonn's isolation campaign was dropped not for want
of success, but as a result of changes in West German priorities as
the struggle against East Germany came to hamper efforts at
reconciliation with Israel, Poland, and Yugoslavia--all countries
of special relevance to Germany's recent past. Interest in a
morally grounded diplomacy, together with the growing conviction
that the GDR could no longer be ignored, led to the abandonment of
Bonn's effective but outdated efforts to hinder worldwide
recognition of the East German regime.