The Cold War was a unique international conflict partly because Josef Stalin sought socialist transformation of other countries rather than simply the traditional objectives. This intriguing book, based on recently accessible Soviet primary sources, is the first to explain the emergence of the Cold War and its development in Stalin's lifetime from the perspective of Soviet policy-making. The book pays particular attention to the often-neglected 'societal' dimension of Soviet foreign policy as a crucial element of the genesis and development of the Cold War. It is also the first to put German postwar development into the context of Soviet Cold War policy. Stalin vainly tried to mobilize the Germans with slogans of national unity and then to discredit the West among the Germans by forcing the surrender of Berlin. Further attempts to prevail deadlocked him into a confrontation with the newly united Western powers. Comparing Stalin's internal statements with Soviet actions, Gerhard Wettig draws original conclusions about Stalin's meta-plans for the regions of Germany and Eastern Europe.
This fascinating look at Soviet politics during the Cold War provides readers with new insights into Stalin's willingness to initiate crisis with the West while still avoiding military conflict.