Cycling Over Berlin: The Deadline and Wall Crises

Vinod K. Aggarwal and Pierre Allan

Diplomacy, Force, and Leadership: Essays in Honor of Alexander L. George, 1993

This chapter attempts to follow some of Alexander George’s exacting standards in analyzing two crises: the 1958-1959 Berlin Deadline crisis and the 1961 Berlin Wall crisis. It shows how one can use three variables from different levels of analyses to predict actors’ constrained preferences in a given situation. The chapter also shows the fundamental similarities between the two crises, both with respect to actors’ evaluations of options as well as to the outcomes. It presents an examination of the Berlin Deadline crisis. The chapter discusses the Berlin Wall crisis and compares it to the earlier one. It defines the issue domain as politico-military bargaining over Berlin within a larger US-Soviet strategic context. The principal actors were Nikita S. Khrushchev, leading the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower leading the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Berlin lay over a hundred miles within communist territory.

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