Between Containment and Rollback

Between Containment and Rollback

The United States and the Cold War in Germany

Cold War International History Project

by Christian F. Ostermann

Published by: Stanford University Press

416 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm

  • ISBN: 9781503606784
  • Published: September 2020


In the aftermath of World War II, American diplomats and policymakers turned to the task of rebuilding Europe while keeping Communism at bay, and they confronted a divided Germany. While the United States' interest lay in stabilizing and forming an alliance with West Germany, what happened in the "other Germany" was also a matter of concern. Based on recently declassified documents from American, Russian, and German archives, this book tells the story of U.S. policy toward East Germany from 1945 to 1953. As the American approach shifted between the policy of "containment" and more active "rollback" of Communist power, the Truman and Eisenhower administrations worked to undermine Soviet-backed Communist rule without compromising economic and nation-building interests in West Germany. There was a darker side to American policy in East Germany: covert operations, propaganda, and psychological warfare. This international history draws on previously untapped German and Russian sources, tracking relations between East German and Soviet Communists and providing new perspectives on the role of U.S. foreign policy as Cold War tensions coalesced.