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Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft Paperback – May 25, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0674353251 ISBN-10: 0674353250

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (May 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674353250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674353251
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Written by two former members of George Bush's National Security Council staff, this book is an exhaustive investigation into the delicate diplomatic maneuvering that led to the creation of a unified Germany in 1989-90. The authors studied American, German, and Soviet documents and interviewed many key figures in the decision-making arena. The result is a detailed and fascinating account of behind-the-scenes discussions and deliberations. Although much of the book is dominated by Helmut Kohl's perception and pragmatic skills, other diplomatic deeds stand out as well. Gorbachev's crucial role is analyzed, as is the frequently uncertain position of the Bush administration. There are over 100 pages of descriptive reference notes and a comprehensive index. An important contribution to the literature of European politics and international relations; highly recommended for academic libraries.?Thomas Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Zelikow and Rice have drawn on thousands of still-classified documents in the American archives. But their industry has not stopped there: to tell the Soviet and German sides of the story, they consulted the East German and Russian archives and interviewed a host of European leaders. The quality of their writing and the depth of their research ensure that their exemplary study will serve as the starting point for all future work on German foreign policy after the Cold War. (Jacob Heilbrunn New York Times Book Review)

[A]s a work of diplomatic history it is nothing short of monumental. By virtue of having been active participants in the innermost circle of American decision making...the authors offer us a gem of a study in two related ways. First they draw on a bevy of primary documents from U.S., Russian, and German sources that have hitherto eluded everybody else and which, alas, will remain, at least in part, elusive to mere mortals for years, maybe even decades. Second, to the authors' great credit, they have succeeded in harnessing the richness of their detailed data to write a veritable page-turner. Anyone interested in recent politics...will find reading this book a truly rewarding experience...Simply put, this book offers an insider's look at the innermost workings of the top elites of the United States, the Soviet Union, West Germany, East Germany, Britain, and France in the forging of a united Germany...Rather than a book of political science, one should see the Zelikow/Rice study as a fascinating play whose outcome one knows yet whose players one gets to meet only through the details of this study. (Andrei S. Markovits International Relations)

For the first time, the inside story--what the policymakers thought and did behind the scenes--is recounted by two participants, using interviews and secret documents...[The book] conveys the sweeping changes devised by a handful of leaders and their aides as they sought to capitalize on a rare, momentary acceleration of history. It also captures the candid exchanges among leaders about long-range fundamentals in Europe." (Joseph Fitchett International Herald Tribune)

The book is a rich quarry for contemporary historians...[The] accomplishment [of German reunification could not] have found more astute chroniclers than Zelikow and Rice...Germany Unified and Europe Transformed will for many years remain the definitive treatise on German reunification and on a brilliant chapter in the annals of American statecraft. Indeed, it will--or at least should--be read as a standard textbook. (Josef Joffe Foreign Affairs)

[This] book is remarkable indeed, and very exciting...This superb piece of contemporary historiography will be indispensable to all students of Germany's unification, and powerfully assists our understanding of how the Cold War ended and the `New Europe' of the 1990s came into being. (Roger Morgan International Affairs)

This is a remarkable book for a number of reasons. The first is because Philip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice take a complex story--the peaceful reunification of Germany within the Western alliance--and turn it into a suspenseful, engaging, and illuminating account of successful statecraft...This book will long stand as the definitive account of a diplomatic success story. (Thomas Alan Schwartz American Historical Review)

An important behind-the-scenes account of how East Germany was folded into West Germany at breakneck speed--an event that precipitated the demise of the Soviet Union. The authors, both of whom served on the National Security Council in the Bush White House, persuasively argue that, far from being a passive bystander, the Bush Administration was actively involved in stage-managing the dénouement of the Cold War. They also argue that the historic opening of the Berlin Wall, in November 1989, was actually the result of a bureaucratic error. (New Yorker)

The book is full of fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses and anecdotes that bring to life the tremendous problems and the personalities, many of whom are now part of history, involved in those momentous months of intense negotiations...[Zelikow and Rice] have produced a detailed yet highly readable and informative work that no student of international politics should miss. (John Taylor Political Studies)

Can nations learn from history? If so, why in [the case of German unification] and not in others? How could German unity be achieved at all, given a long-established (but rarely expressed) conviction among the influential that it could make 'everything' break down?...Those seeking answers to these questions have a new study to turn to, in many ways the best so far, written by Philip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice on the unification of Germany and the various bilateral and multilateral negotiations that surrounded it...The authors were members of the National Security Council in the Bush administration, and thus participated directly in the decision-making process and diplomatic events surrounding German unification. Equally important, the book is based on the US government's 'official history'--traditionally composed after important negotiations--with its privileged access to all records of conversations, telegrams and Central Intelligence Agency documents. Zelikow wrote that history and was allowed to use it as the basis for this study, which he co-wrote after both he and Rice had interviewed many of the major actors involved and consulted governmental archives not only of the defunct German Democratic Republic but also of the Soviet Union, to which they were given access...The study is written in the best traditions of historical sociology. It analyzes negotiations and examines the motivations of governments, the role of individuals, and the internal economic, political and social situations. Overall, it provides fascinating reading and a welcome respite from the increasingly dull products of contemporary political science scholasticism in the US and Europe. (Karl Kaiser Survival)

A work of scholarship...written with the conviction and excitement which derive from direct involvement in the events described...Not the least illuminating aspect of Germany Unified is the light it throws on the respective contributions of politicians and of officials, in the US, Germany and elsewhere, to the drama...[E]ssential reading for anyone concerned with the conduct of foreign policy today...It is gratifying that events of this magnitude should have elicited a record of this quality. Read it. (Michael Alexander Royal United Services Institute Journal)

[I]t is the book's 'insideness', the extent to which the authors were not merely observers but participants in the negotiations, which gives it its value. The book is rich with quotations as well as anecdotal evidence. (Hugo Miller Historical Journal)

A valuable, highly readable contribution to the literature on German reunification. (Choice)

A remarkably complete history of the reunification of East and West Germany...The book is very well written and exhaustively researched. It may well become the standard account of a landmark event of 20th-century European history (Virginia Quarterly Review)

Point after point the two authors list, at every step supporting their assertions and interpretations with documents and interview material...The two show two kinds of insights into the events of the eleven months between the fall of the Wall and the conclusion of the '2+4' Treaty: First Zelikow and Rice succeed in pulling off, what most as a rule portray superficially or through colorful personality publications about the international dimension of German unity, a work of undeniably long, continuing value. Thereby they do not just settle for the saying, 'documents don't lie,' but always try again and again to cross-check their study of the documents and hard-won knowledge from their experience with interviews of the actors in the international negotiations. Second, Zelikow and Rice show clearly that accurate historical writing cannot just be done on the basis of memoirs...and newspaper articles. (Peter M. Wagner Die Welt)

In one of the most extraordinary accounts of contemporary diplomatic history, Zelikow and Rice, both on the National Security Council staff during the events they describe, use normally inaccessible records and interviews with many of the players to describe the unification of Germany, itself one of the most remarkable events of the postwar world...In its scope, insight, and suspense, this account sets a standard for the genre. (Kirkus Reviews)

This book is an exhaustive investigation into the delicate diplomatic maneuvering that led to the creation of a unified Germany in 1989-1990. The authors studied American, German, and Soviet documents and interviewed many key figures in the decision-making arena. The result is a detailed and fascinating account of behind-the-scenes discussions and deliberations. (Library Journal)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Martha Healy on June 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
While it seems that you either hate or love this book, this "liberal with half a brain" or maybe more than half, found it interesting and well written. It added to my information about this fascinating period of change in the world. Well researched from two insiders points of view. When reading, you have to remember the background of the writers and not take everything as gospel. If you're interested in gathering information about how things work, this is a good book to read.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Pranay Gupte on September 19, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Condoleeza Rice and Philip Zelikow have put together a fascinating, highly readable reconstruction of world-changing events that signalled the end of the Cold War and ushered in a wholly new frame of reference in geopolitics. This is definitely a work that foreign-policy "junkies" will relish, but one that general audiences would enjoy, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Claffey on January 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
A really powerful narrative of a Black Swan Event.

Europe transformed is a great description of what happened in the years 1989-91. The text makes clear that these events were almost entirely unforeseen and accelerated beyond anybody’s control. The diplomacy struggled to keep pace with events on the ground.

From a US perspective, it would be impossible to imagine (say in 1985) that the USSR would withdraw political support from its Warsaw Pact allies, that East Germany would dissolve into a unified German state which would remain a member of NATO , that Soviet divisions would voluntarily leave East Germany and US forces remain. Yet, beginning in 1989 that’s exactly what happened.

The book takes a very favourable view of US diplomacy as practiced by the first Bush presidency, however I think two key meetings involving Gorbachev set the context. In one, a report of a Soviet planning meeting, Gorbachev asks his advisers what reaction they have to public protests in East Germany. He makes only one precondition – there will be no Soviet Military Intervention. By ruling out the threat of force, Gorbachev exposes the basic unacceptability of communism to the people of Eastern Europe. As the Warsaw pact nations relax their oppression of their peoples, East Germans start to migrate to economic freedom in the West, restarting a drain on East Germany that the berlin wall was built to address. Without the threat of force, free people choose economic freedom.

A second meeting, between Gorbachev and Bush, Gorbachev, while conceding the inevitability of German Unification, voiced his outright opposition to the united Germany being a member of NATO – which was the policy of both Bush and Kohl (the West German Chancellor).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This gives in detail the torturous negotiations leading to the unification of Germany. The close working between President Bush and Chancellor Kohl and their diplomats is something that was new to me. This book was actually recommended to me by a good friend in Germany and I'm glad to have found it.
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