Germany's Unification

The division of Germany disappeared along with the Cold War that created it. Unification occurred with surprising ease and swiftness and, most important, without major bloodshed. Thus it contrasted strikingly with the dramatic origins of Europe's division, brought about by the devastating war unleashed by Hitler's Germany and the global confrontation that Stalin's Russia forced upon the world. A change of such a tectonic magnitude as the breakdown of the entire postwar international order can only result when longer-term developments create the necessary preconditions, and when an unusual confluence of forces triggers the decisive events. Both elements came together to bring …

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