The Foreign Service Journal, November 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2019 81 precludes the development of a “special” American link with the SED [Socialist Unity Party of the GDR]. Here Moscow has a formi- dable advantage over the United States in the realm of all-German affairs, for while the Soviet Union has been able to forge a wide ranging consultative relationship with Bonn ever since Brandt launched his concept of peaceful engagement with the USSR and Eastern Europe in the fall of 1969, Washington has only one foot anchored in German politics, namely Bonn. At least on the Ger- man level, American influence is asymmetrical. As one tangible consequence, U.S. policy towards East Germany is robbed of that potential dynamism gained when domestic American leverage can be used against the Soviet Union, as has occasionally been the case in relations between Washington and Warsaw, and frequently the case with Belgrade. In terms of the GDR, the Soviet Union cannot be shortcircuited. … It should come as no surprise that a more dynamic West German foreign policy toward Eastern Europe since late 1969 has put an end to the extremely close, and from Bonn’s end, dependent, collaboration between ourselves and West Germany. A suppressed tradition of all-German nationalism, temporarily eclipsed by the rise of Adenauer and the premature death of Kurt Schumacher, has been an unavoidable consequence of West Germany’s emergence as Europe’s second strongest power. In recognition of changes at work in intra-German relations, and the on-going sensitivity of Berlin issues, Washington has every incentive to keep West Berlin out of the domestic politics of the Federal Republic. If Washington has the responsibility and obligation to remind Moscow of its responsibilities toward the maintenance of West Berlin’s security, it also has the obligation and responsibility to keep West Germany party politics from complicating the gradual establishment of political relaxation in one of Europe’s most sensitive areas. —John Starrels, professor at George Washington University. He participated in the briefing of John Sherman Cooper, the first U.S. ambassador to the German Democratic Republic. Excerpted from his article by the same title in the April 1975 FSJ . Anno 1990: Impressions from Germany FSJ APRIL 1990 At the old demarcation line, the watchtowers stood empty, and the dogs were gone. … From Leipzig station, I walked over to the brightly restored Nikolaikirche, birthplace of the 1989 revolution, and joined the parishioners streaming into the now traditional Monday 5:00 p.m. service … By this mid-January night the future of the GDR had already been decided: it was to have none. West German film crews were passing live to their audience Leipzig’s quasi-unanimous vote for unity. Jens-Otto Reich of Neues Forum, Rudolf Bahro, Pastor Fuehrer himself, all those who thought the second German state should have the chance to show that it could develop into something decent, durable, and socialist, had been overrun. For better or for worse—and I met many ordinary East Germans who regarded unity as an unavoidable necessity rather than a patriotic duty— the revolution had become all-German. … I doubted then as I do now that East Germany is as economi- cally bankrupt as its people say. … I discerned an air of expec- tancy as I watched people in Leipzig and East Berlin go about their business in a normal manner. … East Germany will be part of a unified German state that will not have come into existence by humiliating powerful nations, as was the case with the German Empire in 1871. If ever a region was primed for a takeoff, it is the current GDR. —Peter Semler, at the Foreign Service Institute’s Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs, from his article by the same title in the April 1990 FSJ. Bonn Voyage: Bumps Along the Autobahn FSJ MARCH 2000 In those days [1962-1989], there was no denying the importance of America’s embassy in Bonn. It was the vital center of U.S. policy in Europe. From it, and from consulates general and America houses administered by USIS to pro- mote American culture throughout West Germany, American diplomats engaged the events and crises of Europe’s postwar history as both observers and participants. With their German and other European partners, they wrote a proud record of accomplishment in pursuit of democratic ideals during difficult and dangerous decades. Then, one November night in 1989, people pushed, and “The Wall” came tumbling down. Within days, Berlin began to reunite, and Germans and Americans alike were confronted with an utterly changed world. While staff in U.S. embassies in East Berlin and Bonn raced to keep abreast of political events, embassy administrators on both sides of the former East-West divide contemplated the bewildering management challenges