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Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949 Paperback – March 28, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0521627177 ISBN-10: 0521627176
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Drawing the Line is an eminently readable book and it will be a welcome addition to the treasure chest of reseachers, scholars and students of international affairs." Pam K. Datta, Perspectives

"It is an exceptionally well written and prodigiously researched work." Thomas Schwartz, The Journal of American History

"Carolyn Eisenberg shatters the central myth at the heart of the origins of the cold war: that the postwar division of Germany was Stalin's fault. She demonstrates unequivocally that the partition of Germany was `fundamentally an American decision,' strongly opposed by the Soviets. The implications are enormous." Kai Bird, The Nation

"...exhaustive and impressive..." David M. Keithly, Politik

"Carolyn Eisenberg's Drawing the Line is the most comprehensive study now available of U.S. policy towards Germany in the critical 1944-1949 period." Steven P. Remy, H-Net Reviews

"This is a thorough, beautifully written study; it is unlikely to be superseded." Loyd E. Lee, Political Science Quarterly

"This book is a remarkable achievement. Its mastery of the complex US politics and diplomacy of the division of Germany and the beginnings of the cold war is truly impressive." Diethelm Prowe, The International History Review

"...a daring, provocative and challenging book...a must read for anyone interested in post-World War II international history." Melvyn Leffler, University of Virginia

"...massively documented and unsparing argument that not Russian, but American non-cooperation prevented Germanu unification. Even those who will dissent from the tightly argued case will remain in Eisenberg's dept for a closely reasoned and provocative monograph that masters some of the most intricate disputes of early Cold War history. This work is a major achievement and major challenge." Charles Maier, Diplomatic History

"Just when some thought we were approaching a consensus on the reasons why Europe and the United States sunk into nearly a half-century of Cold War, Carolyn Eisenberg forces us to rethink what we thought we knew...Her vast research and grasp of detail make us reconsider the historic events that triggered the Cold War." Walter LaFeber, Cornell University

Book Description

In this fresh and challenging study of the origins of the Cold War, Professor Eisenberg traces the American role in dividing post-war Germany. Drawing upon original documentary sources, she explores how U.S. policy-makers chose partition and mobilized reluctant West Europeans behind that approach. The book casts new light on the Berlin blockade, demonstrating that the United States rejected United Nations mediation and relied on its nuclear monopoly as the means of protecting its German agenda.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521627176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521627177
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By pnotley@hotmail.com on June 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a book all Americans should read, but probably won't. Although stylistically undistinguished, it tells a vitally important story about the origins of the cold war. Few criticisms of the Soviet Union's diplomacy are more damning than the way it imposed dictatorship in Eastern Europe. What Eisenberg's book suggests however, is that the partition of Germany was not the result of Stalinist bullying, but American preference for it over a neutral social democratic state. Relying on more than 70 sets of private papers and files, Eisenberg shows how the United States subtly weakened denazification, decarterlization and the American committment to ensure the war-ravaged Soviet Union its share of German reparations. Gradually they decided that economic recovery and political security required an American allied Germany even if the Soviet quarter remained a Communist dictatorship. As Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith bluntly put it "The difficulty under which we labor is that in spite of our announced position, we really do not want nor intend to accept German unification in any terms that the Russians might agree to, even though they seemed to meet most of our requirements." With Truman having only a vague idea of the real issues, the United States ignored Soviet plans for reunification, forced plans for currency reform, and refused international proposals for mediation of the Berlin Blockade crisis. The consequences of this decision were incalcuably tragic for Central Europe and the world.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Armen Pandola on May 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you read this book, you will understand a great deal about how the world came to be what it is today. This fine book, based on meticulous research, sets forth the reasons why the US wanted to divide Germany following the defeat of the Nazis. It reveals the hidden agenga of the US in working against a unified Germany and explains how the US was at the very least compliscent in the creation of the "Iron Curtain." One of those truly important books that all should read who are interested in world affairs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. L. Huff on June 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
- how some reviewers demand "let's get the facts straight," and then reiterate the tired propaganda of General George Patton? This is the rhetoric of faith, to keep the smug warm and fuzzy inside, but not of historic inquiry. In the latter, Carolyn Eisenberg has done a splendid job of separating fact from faith and outright fantasy.

When Yugoslav Communist Milovan Djilas went to Moscow during the war, he was (allegedly) told by Stalin: "This war is not like wars of the past. Today the victors must impose their social systems as far as their armies can reach." But what to do when the armies stop in the middle of a conquered nation? That's when diplomacy's deceitful dance begins its piroutte across the pages. Both sides will demand political and economic unity, but on their own mutually exclusive terms; and must finally retreat behind their own barricades rather than lose the ground taken by force.

The Soviet strategy was indeed masterful, as Ms. Eisenberg shows. By simply demanding fulfillment of wartime promises - reparations, the anti-fascist purging of the German government, and equality in central administration - the Soviets would thwart US plans to use German industry for West European recovery through the Marshall Plan. The foundations of the Berlin Wall were thus laid, not in 1961, but 1947. As US ambassador Walter Bedell Smith plainly stated (p. 359): "The difficulty under which we labor is that in spite of our announced position, we really do not want nor intend to accept German unification in any terms that the Russians might agree to, even though they seemed to meet most of our requirements," thus requiring "careful maneuvering to avoid the appearance of inconsistency and hypocrisy.
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1 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Eisenberg on November 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Listen, Ms. Eisenberg, let's get the facts. There was no bullying, and it was not America that divided Germany. It was one man, and only one man, that allowed Russia to go into Berlin and divide the city even though our military should have been the military to go in. That man, a demented Roosevelt that should never have been allowed in office for four terms, acted contrary to every sensible leader's position in the U.S. To even remotely claim that America made this decision is not only not acceptable, it is untenable, and should be deeply repented of. It is my opinion that you have made this position to sell a book, and to earn dollars doing it.
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Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949
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