Germany and the Cold War

Published on October 12, 2020 by

For more than four decades, divided Germany was the epicenter of the Cold War. The border severing East and West embodied the animosity between the US and USSR. The smoldering conflict threatened to escalate and destroy both German states.

The Cold War was persistently present in the two Germanys – both on the political and military level, but also in everyday life. On the one hand, there was the race for technical progress, the fear of bombs and rockets, the struggle for moral superiority over the other side: and on the other, doubt about each state’s policies, and those of their allies.

How did Germans experience this Cold War? How did it shape attitudes to life on both sides of the Iron Curtain? This three-part documentary asks political actors and decision-makers in East and West, but above all contemporary witnesses from divided Germany, what experiences they had in the period between 1945 and 1991. Who were the winners and losers in this brutal stand-off between communism and capitalism? The demonstrations on June 17, 1953, the construction of the Berlin Wall, the major demonstrations in Bonn against Pershing missiles, nuclear strike drills, employment bans in West Germany on members of the German Communist Party, the opening of the Wall, the collapse of the Eastern bloc – all were events that shaped people’s lives. This is their story and the story of Germany in the Cold War.

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