- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (April 25, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674353250
- ISBN-13: 978-0674353251
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
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- #1395 in Books > Textbooks > Social Sciences > Political Science > Political Ideologies
- #1777 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Ideologies & Doctrines > Communism & Socialism
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Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft Reprint Edition
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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)
From the Back Cover
The ending of the Cold War division of Europe took place largely backstage, and this book lets us in on the strategies and negotiations, the nerve-racking risks, last-minute decisions, and deep deliberations that brought if off. It is the most authoritative depictions of contemporary statecraft to appear in decades. In a new Preface, the authors respond to questions raised in interviews, comment on new sources, and reiterate their theme that many outcomes to unification were possible.
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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). Bush stated that the unified Germany would be a sovereign nation and therefore would be free to join whatever military alliance (or none) that it wished. Gobachev agreed. In the light of history it seems the Soviet political policy planning was extraordinarily naïve or non-existent. As someone who lived through those years, I can see that there was a strong current of neutralism in (west) German public opinion, and Gorbachev may have expected this to be stronger than it actually was, but overall the book conveys an extraordinary level of improvisation and wishful thinking on the part of the Soviets.
The book is also very clear on the apprehension, indeed hostility, to German unification on the part of Britain, France and other European powers. However once the US backed (west) Germany policy, the other powers had only a choice of acquiescing or joining politically with the Soviets.
If there is a hero in this book it must be chancellor Kohl. Faced with the accelerating economic and political collapse of East German, he advances radical (at the time) policies of absorbing East Germany into, first, the German economy – by exchanging West German deutschmarks one-for-one with east German ostmarks, and then, using a clause in the West German constitution to absorb East Germany into West Germany, rather than have a drawn out political negotiation between two states. In light of the fast pace of events, it was the only policy which kept up with events on the ground, nonetheless years of OSt-politic left the West Germany political elite with a mindset that they had to support East German political structures. The tensions between Kohl and his foreign minister –Genscher – are very revealing of this clash. It does have to be said that none of these policies would have worked without the military and diplomatic protection of the US-Soviet agreements.
The book is high in its praise of President Bush and his diplomatic team, and its is difficult to deny their skill and the in-depth, layered structure of their policy-planning. Bush’s fundamental view that US forces and NATO were a stabilising force in Europe, whereas Soviet forces and the Warsaw pact were not, was key value-statement which informed policy in the period. Forcing the Soviets to that view was a game-changer, and represents, in my view, the key strength of the diplomacy of the period. The book praises Bush, for not stepping into the limelight – it is not hard to imagine President Regan rushing to the Berlin Wall with a sledgehammer – and thereby not humiliating Gorbachev. However, my view of Bush’s presidency is clouded by the picture of Brent Scowcroft toasting the Chinese leadership a number of months after the Tien-An-Men Square massacre.
At this remove, there’s an element of ‘be careful what you wish for’ about the events of these years. The removal of military oppression from Eastern Europe is an unalloyed good, however the collapse of Communism has left an embittered Russia in its wake – some of the bitterness, and paranoia, is due to the expansion of NATO to the Russian border. The use of West German economic might initially meant that East Germany swopped to an overvalued currency overnight, which instantly destroyed its ability to sell its goods to other Eastern Block countries, with devastating consequences. And a longer term economic problem, was that Western European leaders devised the Euro currency as a method of tying the reunited Germany more firmly into a wider European market. This currency was not fully formed, as became evident during the 2008 world banking crisis, and the short comings of the infrastructure of the Euro (no inter-EU transfers, no bank resolution structure, no EU-wide deposit insurance) is resulting in extreme hardship in some EU countries and the rise of rejectionist, insular and right-wing parties through the region.