However, 2. East-West Difference: The Second World War

However, the fact remains that the Marshall Plan saved a good part of Europe, particularly Greece, Turkey, Italy and later France, from falling a prey to communism, and made these countries safe. But for this timely aid, Europe’s millions would have been trampled upon by the communist steamroller. 2. East-West Difference: The Second World War paved the way for the emergence of the Soviet Union as a world power. After the war the Soviet Union was anxious to bring as much of Europe as possible under its influence. Romania, Hungary, Albania, Bulgaria and Poland had already been coerced into the commu­nist alliance.

In February 1948, the communists most cleverly manoeuvred a coup d’etat in Czechoslovakia when they seized complete control of the country by ousting President Dr. Benes. This fact alarmed the Allies, and it was feared that individually none of the West European countries would be able to face the Russian danger. The coup in Czechoslovakia led to strained relations between Russia and the USA. 3. Partition of Germany: In order to punish Germany and to ensure that it never again threatens the peace of Europe, it was partitioned into four parts. Each of the four victorious powers, Russia, Britain, France and USA, was awarded with a slice of erstwhile Germany. The victorious powers preceded a step further, when they partitioned the city of Berlin also into four parts.

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The three Western powers, however, united their parts and called it the Federal Republic of Germany; the Russians consolidated their wartime trophy and named it the German Democratic Republic or East Germany. 4. Berlin Blockade: In the middle of 1948, Russia imposed the Berlin Blockade, whereby the rail, road and canal links of the Western forces through the East German territory were stopped. The Western powers realised the grave threat from Russia, but they did not submit to this threat; they resorted to air operations to supply the West Berliners with necessities of life. They had to formulate measures to strengthen their de­fence. The blockade had to be lifted after ten months. Meanwhile, NATO was formed.

The sixtieth anniversary of the Berlin blockade was celebrated in May 2008


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