1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe

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Overview

"Mary Sarotte's 1989 reinterprets, in a striking manner, the end of the Cold War in Europe. Based on extensive multiarchival research, it suggests a Bismarckian preeminence for West German chancellor Helmut Kohl in driving the course of events. All students of this subject will henceforth have to grapple with this provocatively persuasive argument."—John Lewis Gaddis, Yale University, author of The Cold War

"Sarotte makes an essential contribution to the literature on the revolutions of 1989. Her focus is on Europe and Germany, East and West, in the context of the international system. The research is stunning, including new archival sources and revealing interviews with the historical figures involved. Her narrative is fast-paced—like the events themselves—and highly readable. Scholars, students, and the informed public at large will enjoy and learn a lot from this impressive book."—Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University, author of Fires of Hatred

"The first international history of the diplomacy that produced the miracle of German reunification, this will be the starting point for all research on the international history of reunification from now on."—O. A. Westad, London School of Economics and Political Science, author of The Global Cold War

"Challenging conventional wisdom, Mary Sarotte questions why the West opted to extend existing Euro-Atlantic structures east in the wake of German unification, instead of creating a new system that would have included Moscow. Based on new archival material and extensive interviews with participants in these events, she argues convincingly that the United States and its partners missed a one-time opportunity to devise a post-Cold War architecture that would have made Europe more secure."—Angela Stent, Georgetown University, author of Russia and Germany Reborn

"Sarotte has written a major book about one of the most important events at the end of the Cold War—the international negotiations which culminated in the unification of Germany. Notably, she has managed to get access to primary sources that would be the dream of any historian. She vividly describes the efforts of powerful individuals to create order out of fast-moving and chaotic circumstances. This is a terrific book."—A. James McAdams, University of Notre Dame, author of Germany Divided

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
A hugely impressive study that looks beyond 1989 to the many-faceted battle to shape the new Europe.
Philadelphia Inquirer
[1989] is a work of coruscating intelligence and inspired scholarship that brims with provocative conclusions, well-argued and documented. It will appeal to casual readers and scholars alike who want to revisit how history turned on its hinges 20 years ago.
— Mike Leary
New York Times Book Review
Sarotte's focus is on Germany. . . . [She] describes a host of competing conceptions of post-cold-war Europe that flourished, mutated and perished in the maelstrom of events that led up to German unity. . . . Two decades later . . . [t]here are still nuclear missiles aimed across the continent. It's hard to imagine that it could have been otherwise—but, Sarotte shows us, it could have been.
— Paul Hockenos
New York Review of Books
A great virtue of Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989 is that she makes the problem of hindsight bias explicit, and systematically explores the roads not taken.
— Timothy Garton Ash
London Review of Books
Much the most exciting of these books is Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989. In contrast to the other authors, Sarotte treats the uprisings and collapses of that year as a prelude to the biggest change of all: 'the struggle to create post-Cold War Europe', as her subtitle puts it. . . . Sarottte [is] a lucid and compelling writer.
— Neal Ascherson
NewYorker.com
Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989 . . . shows why this post-Cold War world, and not a different one, came out of the dramatic events of 1989, and why the result was bound to pit the U.S. against Russia again in the twenty-first century.
— George Packer
Suddeutsche Zeitung
[A] truly great book. . . . [A] whodunit of world politics that uses sources from Germany, the USA, Russia and other countries to reveal both the details and the drama of the year of German unification in an unprecedented fashion.
— Stefan Kornelius
Foreign Affairs
Sarotte's readable and reliable diplomatic history will no doubt take its place as the classic overview of this period. It is sensible, balanced, and well documented, drawing on what is now an extensive international body of primary and secondary sources.
— Andrew Moravcsik
Financial Times
The tragic hero of 1989, for Sarotte, is Gorbachev. He was, and is still seen by many Russians as a King Lear figure: a man prepared to give away what he should have retained to a west bent on extracting as much as possible from the Soviet collapse—under the cover of honeyed words and rhetoric of a new age.
— John Lloyd
Economist
[A] scrupulous account of the high politics and diplomacy of 1989. With remarkable diligence, [Sarotte] has interviewed almost all the surviving participants, and quarried government archives and other libraries for documents that illustrate the decision-making (and lack of it) that year. The result is a tale of hypocrisy and indecision in high places.
Foreign Policy blog
Your humble blogger's all-time favorite historian, Mary Elise Sarotte, has just published her magnum opus, 1989, about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the year of diplomacy that led to a reunified Germany ensconced within NATO and the European Union.
— Dan Drezner
Dissent
Mary Sarotte's 1989, shows how the Wall's opening was not planned but was the immediate consequence of a bungled press conference by an East German official.
— Mitchell Cohen
Vogue.com
[A] fresh analysis of the year's events and their after-effects.
— Megan O'Grady
Australian
This is a cracker of a read, a fast-paced policy study of a year that transformed Europe and the world. Mary Elise Sarotte sets out how fairly standard politicians saw the chance to extend democracy and the market economy throughout the Soviet empire and took it. . . .This is a book for everybody who understands that politics is the application of policy and, when done well, can transform the world for the better.
History Today
Sarotte has a good feel for the internal politics of all four external powers which, as a result of the 1945 settlement, had a continuing stake in Berlin and the broader issue of Germany's fate. But she is especially good on Germany.
— Archie Brown
Choice
'On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall opened and the world changed.' With this simple statement, Sarotte begins her timely, highly readable book in which she revisits the remarkable events in Europe between November 1989 and the end of 1990, with a focus on Germany. . . . Stimulating reading for a general audience, students, and faculty/researchers.
International Journal
Sarotte's outstanding book shows that Europe's prefab post-1989 order was a messy improvisation, but at no point during the collapse of communism did conditions favourable to the alternatives cohere.
— Richard Gowan
H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews
[1989] is widely and deeply-researched, gracefully written, and admirably concise. I especially liked the author's ability to express the human dimensions of her story by combining an analysis of big issues and long range trends with carefully-chosen vignettes and contemporary quotations. The book is full of astute and totally convincing judgments.
— James Sheehan
Organiser
This book sets the record straight on several issues [and] popular misconceptions and exposes the truth behind the positions of the major players. It is a valuable book that helps understand the international political power play.
— Vaidehi Nathan
Current History
Sarotte's book . . . conveys a much-needed appreciation that history, even at its hinges, is anything but simple.
— William W. Finan
American Historical Review
Mary Elise Sarotte has produced a first-rate scholarly book. It is thoroughly researched, well written, intelligent, and full of interesting vignettes that complement the larger story she tells.
— Michael Bernhard
International Affairs
Mary Elise Sarotte's . . . lucid and thoughtful book . . . very effectively combines a detailed historical narrative with a conceptual framework which clarifies the significance of what happened, and of what failed to happen.
— Roger Morgan
Diplomacy and Statecraft
The prose and style are lucid. . . . [1989] is valuable to students, academics and general readers alike in learning more about these epochal happenings. . . . [T]his is an excellent work which is likely to become a key text for this period.
— Alex Spelling
Central European History
[T]his book truly underscores the necessity of entering a post-triumphalist phase in writing the history of what came after the Wall came down. This book provides a wonderful example of how an enlightened diplomatic history can contribute to this endeavor.
— Andreas W. Daum
European Review of History
Sarotte skillfully weaves short biographical paragraphs into her diplomatic history. These grant the reader some insight into the persons actually involved. The added juicy details and lucid style also make her study more attractive than the average diplomatic history. Her digressions . . . are nice to read and a welcome break from the many descriptions of diplomatic meetings and their political outcomes (although cleverly and eloquently written). . . . In conclusion, the book deals with exciting times in an exciting way.
— Mare van den Eeden
Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs
The lion's share of Sarotte's book is directed toward the struggle between the US and the USSR and provides a fresh and insightful interpretation of Germany and the rebuilding of Europe. 1989 sheds light on many dark chapters of the past that continue to influence the present global political system.
— Lior Alperovich
Süddeutsche Zeitung

[A] truly great book. . . . [A] whodunit of world politics that uses sources from Germany, the USA, Russia and other countries to reveal both the details and the drama of the year of German unification in an unprecedented fashion.
— Stefan Kornelius
European History Quarterly
Using multiple data from interviews with historical figures involved, biographies and extensive archival sources, she recounts the conversations, communiqués and personalities central to the events. This is a major contribution to scholarship in this field.
— Larry Ray
New York Times Book Review - Paul Hockenos
Sarotte's focus is on Germany. . . . [She] describes a host of competing conceptions of post-cold-war Europe that flourished, mutated and perished in the maelstrom of events that led up to German unity. . . . Two decades later . . . [t]here are still nuclear missiles aimed across the continent. It's hard to imagine that it could have been otherwise—but, Sarotte shows us, it could have been.
New York Review of Books - Timothy Garton Ash
A great virtue of Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989 is that she makes the problem of hindsight bias explicit, and systematically explores the roads not taken.
London Review of Books - Neal Ascherson
Much the most exciting of these books is Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989. In contrast to the other authors, Sarotte treats the uprisings and collapses of that year as a prelude to the biggest change of all: 'the struggle to create post-Cold War Europe', as her subtitle puts it. . . . Sarottte [is] a lucid and compelling writer.
NewYorker.com - George Packer
Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989 . . . shows why this post-Cold War world, and not a different one, came out of the dramatic events of 1989, and why the result was bound to pit the U.S. against Russia again in the twenty-first century.
Foreign Affairs - Philip D. Zelikow
Sarotte's book is compact and highly interpretive. Yet Sarotte has thoroughly mastered the original source material in all the key countries. She distills it with great skill, constantly enlivening her account with a sensibility for what these changes meant in life and culture. Hers is now the best one-volume work on Germany's unification available. It contains the clearest understanding to date of the extraordinary juggling performance of Kohl.
Financial Times - John Lloyd
The tragic hero of 1989, for Sarotte, is Gorbachev. He was, and is still seen by many Russians as a King Lear figure: a man prepared to give away what he should have retained to a west bent on extracting as much as possible from the Soviet collapse—under the cover of honeyed words and rhetoric of a new age.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Mike Leary
[1989] is a work of coruscating intelligence and inspired scholarship that brims with provocative conclusions, well-argued and documented. It will appeal to casual readers and scholars alike who want to revisit how history turned on its hinges 20 years ago.
Foreign Affairs - Andrew Moravcsik
Sarotte's readable and reliable diplomatic history will no doubt take its place as the classic overview of this period. It is sensible, balanced, and well documented, drawing on what is now an extensive international body of primary and secondary sources.
Foreign Policy blog - Dan Drezner
Your humble blogger's all-time favorite historian, Mary Elise Sarotte, has just published her magnum opus, 1989, about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the year of diplomacy that led to a reunified Germany ensconced within NATO and the European Union.
Dissent - Mitchell Cohen
Mary Sarotte's 1989, shows how the Wall's opening was not planned but was the immediate consequence of a bungled press conference by an East German official.
Vogue.com - Megan O'Grady
[A] fresh analysis of the year's events and their after-effects.
Süddeutsche Zeitung - Stefan Kornelius
[A] truly great book. . . . [A] whodunit of world politics that uses sources from Germany, the USA, Russia and other countries to reveal both the details and the drama of the year of German unification in an unprecedented fashion.
History Today - Archie Brown
Sarotte has a good feel for the internal politics of all four external powers which, as a result of the 1945 settlement, had a continuing stake in Berlin and the broader issue of Germany's fate. But she is especially good on Germany.
International Journal - Richard Gowan
Sarotte's outstanding book shows that Europe's prefab post-1989 order was a messy improvisation, but at no point during the collapse of communism did conditions favourable to the alternatives cohere.
H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews - James Sheehan
[1989] is widely and deeply-researched, gracefully written, and admirably concise. I especially liked the author's ability to express the human dimensions of her story by combining an analysis of big issues and long range trends with carefully-chosen vignettes and contemporary quotations. The book is full of astute and totally convincing judgments.
Organiser - Vaidehi Nathan
This book sets the record straight on several issues [and] popular misconceptions and exposes the truth behind the positions of the major players. It is a valuable book that helps understand the international political power play.
Current History - William W. Finan
Sarotte's book . . . conveys a much-needed appreciation that history, even at its hinges, is anything but simple.
American Historical Review - Michael Bernhard
Mary Elise Sarotte has produced a first-rate scholarly book. It is thoroughly researched, well written, intelligent, and full of interesting vignettes that complement the larger story she tells.
International Affairs - Roger Morgan
Mary Elise Sarotte's . . . lucid and thoughtful book . . . very effectively combines a detailed historical narrative with a conceptual framework which clarifies the significance of what happened, and of what failed to happen.
Diplomacy and Statecraft - Alex Spelling
The prose and style are lucid. . . . [1989] is valuable to students, academics and general readers alike in learning more about these epochal happenings. . . . [T]his is an excellent work which is likely to become a key text for this period.
Central European History - Andreas W. Daum
[T]his book truly underscores the necessity of entering a post-triumphalist phase in writing the history of what came after the Wall came down. This book provides a wonderful example of how an enlightened diplomatic history can contribute to this endeavor.
European Review of History - Mare van den Eeden
Sarotte skillfully weaves short biographical paragraphs into her diplomatic history. These grant the reader some insight into the persons actually involved. The added juicy details and lucid style also make her study more attractive than the average diplomatic history. Her digressions . . . are nice to read and a welcome break from the many descriptions of diplomatic meetings and their political outcomes (although cleverly and eloquently written). . . . In conclusion, the book deals with exciting times in an exciting way.
Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs - Lior Alperovich
The lion's share of Sarotte's book is directed toward the struggle between the US and the USSR and provides a fresh and insightful interpretation of Germany and the rebuilding of Europe. 1989 sheds light on many dark chapters of the past that continue to influence the present global political system.
European History Quarterly - Larry Ray
Using multiple data from interviews with historical figures involved, biographies and extensive archival sources, she recounts the conversations, communiqués and personalities central to the events. This is a major contribution to scholarship in this field.
Washington Post Gerard DeGroot

A hugely impressive study that looks beyond 1989 to the many-faceted battle to shape the new Europe.
From the Publisher
"[1989] is widely and deeply-researched, gracefully written, and admirably concise. I especially liked the author's ability to express the human dimensions of her story by combining an analysis of big issues and long range trends with carefully-chosen vignettes and contemporary quotations. The book is full of astute and totally convincing judgments."—James Sheehan, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews

"This book sets the record straight on several issues [and] popular misconceptions and exposes the truth behind the positions of the major players. It is a valuable book that helps understand the international political power play."—Vaidehi Nathan, Organiser

"Sarotte's book . . . conveys a much-needed appreciation that history, even at its hinges, is anything but simple."—William W. Finan, Current History

"Mary Elise Sarotte has produced a first-rate scholarly book. It is thoroughly researched, well written, intelligent, and full of interesting vignettes that complement the larger story she tells."—Michael Bernhard, American Historical Review

"Mary Elise Sarotte's . . . lucid and thoughtful book . . . very effectively combines a detailed historical narrative with a conceptual framework which clarifies the significance of what happened, and of what failed to happen."—Roger Morgan, International Affairs

"The prose and style are lucid. . . . [1989] is valuable to students, academics and general readers alike in learning more about these epochal happenings. . . . [T]his is an excellent work which is likely to become a key text for this period."—Alex Spelling, Diplomacy and Statecraft

"[T]his book truly underscores the necessity of entering a post-triumphalist phase in writing the history of what came after the Wall came down. This book provides a wonderful example of how an enlightened diplomatic history can contribute to this endeavor."—Andreas W. Daum, Central European History

"Sarotte skillfully weaves short biographical paragraphs into her diplomatic history. These grant the reader some insight into the persons actually involved. The added juicy details and lucid style also make her study more attractive than the average diplomatic history. Her digressions . . . are nice to read and a welcome break from the many descriptions of diplomatic meetings and their political outcomes (although cleverly and eloquently written). . . . In conclusion, the book deals with exciting times in an exciting way."—Mare van den Eeden, European Review of History

"The lion's share of Sarotte's book is directed toward the struggle between the US and the USSR and provides a fresh and insightful interpretation of Germany and the rebuilding of Europe. 1989 sheds light on many dark chapters of the past that continue to influence the present global political system."—Lior Alperovich, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

"Using multiple data from interviews with historical figures involved, biographies and extensive archival sources, she recounts the conversations, communiqus and personalities central to the events. This is a major contribution to scholarship in this field."—Larry Ray, European History Quarterly

Publishers Weekly
The fall of the Berlin Wall might have brought forth a radically changed geopolitical landscape, but instead yielded a redux of the cold war status quo, according to this incisive history of German reunification. USC international relations professor Sarotte (Dealing with the Devil) spotlights West German chancellor Helmut Kohl as the key figure, the man who seized the moment to annex East Germany while others dithered. Through adroit, sometimes misleading diplomacy and offers of aid to the collapsing Soviet economy, Kohl outmaneuvered Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, both unifying his country and advancing NATO's borders a long step eastward. East Germany's post-Communist leadership, who imagined an independent, quasi-socialist East Germany, come off as hapless idealists easily bulldozed by Kohl. The author embeds her interpretation in a sharp-eyed, fluent narrative of 1989–1990 that sees the realpolitik behind the stirring upheavals. Sarotte's claim that the outcome—a bigger NATO, still squared off against a truculent post-Communist Russia—might have been different feels more wistful than convincing, but she offers a smart and canny analysis of the birth of our not-so-new world order. Photos. (Nov.)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Mary Elise Sarotte is professor of history and of international relations at the University of Southern California. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "Dealing with the Devil" and "German Military Reform and European Security". She has served as a White House Fellow and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Read an Excerpt

1989

The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe
By Mary Elise Sarotte

Princeton University Press

Copyright © 2009 Mary Elise Sarotte
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-691-14306-4


Introduction

CREATING POST-COLD WAR EUROPE: 1989 AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF ORDER

A whole generation emerged in the disappearing. -East German Jana Hensel, age thirteen in 1989

This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. -Barack Obama, in Berlin, 2008

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall opened and the world changed. Memory of that iconic instant has, unsurprisingly, retained its power despite the passage of time. Evidence of its enduring strength was apparent in the decision by a later icon of change-Barack Obama-to harness it in his own successful pursuit of one of history's most elusive prizes, the U.S. presidency. While a candidate in 2008, he decided that the fall of the wall still represented such a striking symbol that it was worth valuable time away from American voters in a campaign summer to attach himself to it.

He also knew that lasting images had resulted from the Cold War visits of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan to divided Berlin, and hoped to produce some of his own on a trip to the united city. In particular, Obama wanted to use the Brandenburg Gate, formerly a prominent site of the wall, as the backdrop for his first speech abroad as the clear Democraticnominee in summer 2008. However, the politics of the memory involved were still so vital that the right-of-center leader of Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel-herself a former East German-decided to prevent Obama from appropriating them. She informed him that he did not have her permission to speak at the gate. It might be too evocative and look like an attempt by the German government to influence the U.S. election. Supporters of Obama's opponent, Senator John McCain, welcomed Merkel's decision; they derided the Berlin visit as an act of hubris that revealed a candidate playing statesman before his time. Undeterred, Obama chose instead to deliver his address as near as possible, at the Victory Column just down the street. The less emotional venue still drew two hundred thousand people to share the experience. "This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom," he told the cheering crowd. "When you, the German people, tore down that wall-a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope-walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened." The speech and the campaign succeeded brilliantly. Later in 2008, on the night that would turn Obama into the first African American president, he even returned in spirit to Berlin. In his victory speech in Chicago, he intoned a list of great changes. After remembering the dawn of voting rights for all and the steps of the first men on the moon, he added simply, "a wall came down in Berlin."

Although Obama could celebrate the collapse of the wall as an example of peaceful change, no one knew whether or not that would be the case in 1989. Its opening had yielded not only joy but also some extremely frightening questions. Would Germans demand rapid unification in a massive nationalistic surge that would revive old animosities? Would Soviet troops in East Germany stay in their barracks? Would Gorbachev stay in power or would hard-liners oust him for watching the wall fall while failing to get anything in return? Would Communist countries in the rest of Central Europe subsequently expire violently and leave bloody scars? Would centrally planned economies immediately implode and impoverish millions of Europeans? Would West European social welfare systems and market economies be able to absorb these new crowds, or be swamped by them? Would millions of young East Europeans like the thirteen-year-old Jana Hensel, who would later write the best-selling After the Wall about the shock of the transformation, be able to master the personal and psychological challenges of such a massive transition? Would international institutions survive the challenges to come or descend into disabling disagreements about the future?

There was little doubt, in short, that history had reached a turning point; but the way forward was not obvious. With hindsight we know that the transition stayed peaceful, but why is less clear-through design, dumb luck, or both? Put another way, how can we best understand what happened in 1989 and its aftermath?

A generation of analysts has interpreted this year as a period of closure. I see it differently: as a time not of ending, but of beginning. The Cold War order had long been under siege and its collapse was nearly inevitable by 1989. Yet there was nothing at all inevitable about what followed. This book seeks to explain not the end of the Cold War but the struggle to create post-Cold War Europe. It attempts to solve the following puzzles: Why were protesters on the ground able to force dramatic events to a climax in 1989? Why did the wall open on November 9? Why did the race to recast Europe afterward yield the present arrangement and not any of the numerous alternatives? Why did the "new" world order in fact look very much like the old, despite the momentous changes that had transpired?

To answer these questions, I examined the actors, ideas, images, material factors, and politics involved. Remarkable human stories emerged at every turn-from a dissident who smuggled himself back into East Germany after being thrown out, to the television journalists who opened the Berlin Wall without knowing they were doing so, to the pleading of Gorbachev's wife with a Western diplomat to protect her husband from himself, to the way that Vladimir Putin personally experienced 1989 in Dresden as a Soviet spy.

I will describe my findings in detail in the pages to come, but a few of them merit highlighting here. This book will challenge common but mistaken assumptions that the opening of the wall was planned, that the United States continuously dominated events afterward, and that the era of German reunification is now a closed chapter, without continuing consequences for the transatlantic alliance. I will show how, if there were any one individual to emerge as the single most important leader in the construction of post-Cold War Europe, it would have to be Kohl rather than Bush, Gorbachev, or Reagan; how Mitterrand was an uneasy but crucial facilitator of German unity, not its foe; and how Russia got left on the periphery as Germany united and the EC and NATO expanded, generating fateful resentments that shape geopolitics to this day. More broadly, I will question the enduring belief of U.S. policymakers that "even two decades later, it is hard to see how the process of German unification could have been handled any better." From a purely American point of view, this belief is understandable; but it is not universally shared. The international perspective in these pages will yield a more critical interpretation of 1989-90. To cite just one example, the former British Foreign Minister Hurd does indeed think that better alternatives were conceivable. In 1989-90 there was a theoretical opportunity "which won't come again, which Obama does not have, to remake the world, because America was absolutely at the pinnacle of its influence and success." Put another way, "you could argue that if they had been geniuses, George Bush and Jim Baker would have sat down in 1990 and said the whole game is coming into our hands." They would have concluded that "we've got now an opportunity, which may not recur, to remake the world, update everything, the UN, everything. And maybe if they had been Churchill and Roosevelt, you know, they might have done that." But Hurd finds that "they weren't that kind of person, neither of them. George Bush had famously said he didn't do the vision thing." In short, "they weren't visionaries, and nor were we." Hurd remembers that they played it safe, which was sensible and indeed his preference, but that they may have let a big opportunity go by.

In exploring these questions, this book will focus on the contentious international politics of German unification that were at the heart of the creation of post-Cold War Europe. Many nations contributed to the demise of the old order over a series of decades in the past, but it was the contest over the terms of German unity that decided the future. The dramatic months of transition between November 1989 and the end of 1990-the focus of this book-produced decisions about political order that have shaped international relations in the decades since.

This transition was swift, but its brevity does not negate its importance. Changes do not need to be slow moving to be significant. Astronomers believe that the entire universe arose from a single instantaneous Big Bang, the consequences of which still determine life today. There is obviously an interplay between long-term and proximate causes; but the emphasis here will be very much on the events immediately surrounding the collapse of the wall and on the ways in which the new order emerged.

The argument of the book is as follows. For roughly a year following the collapse of the old order in November 1989, various groups of actors-some leaders of nation-states, and some not-competed and struggled vigorously to re-create order in a way most advantageous to themselves. The longer-term goal, of course, was to dominate that order in the post-Cold War world. Ultimately, Bonn and Washington, working together, would win this competition, but that was not a foregone conclusion. The legacy of their victory still has profound consequences for international relations today.

To explain how they won, I contend that we should follow the lead of the main participants in events by adopting their own metaphoric understanding of what was happening. Again and again, in multiple languages, key actors in 1989-90 employed the terminology of architecture to describe what they wanted: to start building anew, to construct a European roof or a common European home, to create a new transatlantic architecture, and so on. Leaders consciously proposed a number of competing blueprints for the future and described them as such. This metaphoric understanding, on top of its grounding in historical evidence, is an apt one for a study centered on Berlin, where so much real architecture went up after the wall came down. As a result, I will use this metaphor as the organizing strategy for the pages to follow; it will, I hope, make sense of a story playing out on many levels and in many locales simultaneously. This book thus conceives of the competition of 1989-90 as an architectural one, where various models of future order-some more promising than others-competed against one another.

I must acknowledge that the use of phrases evocative of building-such as "constructed" and "fabricated"-has become a common scholarly method of questioning whether an objective reality exists. That is not the sense in which such phrases will be employed here, however. Rather, the metaphor is a more simple-minded one. It is the adoption of terminology from a field that has a similar goal to politics; in other words, politicians and architects want the same thing. They are both seeking permission to fabricate the future. Moreover, the idea of an architectural contest is helpful because it creates an awareness of ongoing episodes of competition. In such a contest, winning the selection round by no means guarantees that the victor will actually get to erect anything. It is one thing to wow the clients with a model, but quite another to get it actually built. Like politicians, architects must continue to cater to their supporters as they remove old detritus, prepare the site, and secure the necessary building permits. They rarely have the luxury of beginning work on a green field-the architectural equivalent of a blank slate. But there are consolations; one is that the process is path dependent. Put another way, once the foundation is laid according to the new blueprints, it is hard to remove. The normative power of the factual, a favorite concept of German theorists, comes into play; facts on the ground are difficult to change. The legacy of both architectural and political decisions will last for decades, centuries, and even millennia, once the concrete is poured. It is therefore crucial to be the first to lay that foundation.

The competition of 1989-90 centered on a specific future building site-that is, the center of divided Europe. Despite the fact that the Cold War conflict took place across the globe over a number of decades, it originated in Europe, and this book shows that the endgame was European as well. Europe was the site of the culminating round not only of a contest of geopolitical power but also of modernities. Put another way, the Cold War was not just a military standoff but also a conflict between two completely different visions of modernity: a Western versus a Soviet one. Ensuring victory for the Western model would, participants in events believed, signify not just a material but also an ideological triumph in the contest to define what was modern. Indeed, years later, both the Reagan and Bush presidential libraries would choose to display portions of the former Berlin Wall as trophies on their grounds; each wanted to lay claim to the success. In short, 1989-90 was the final round in a competition that was long-running, multi-layered, and profoundly significant.

During this final round, what specific models for the future did the key actors propose? This book will describe them in detail, after an introductory summary (in chapter 1) of why November 1989 became the moment that the models were launched. Chapters 2 through 4 will then focus on the four major variants, listed here in the chronological order in which they appeared.

(1) To begin with, in late 1989, there was the Soviet restoration model. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) hoped to use its weight as a victor in the Second World War to restore the old quadripartite mechanism of four-power control exactly as it used to be in 1945, before subsequent layers of Cold War modifications created room for German contributions. Moscow wanted to strip away those layers and revert to the legal status it had enjoyed at the start of the occupation. This model, which called for the reuse of the old Allied Control Commission to dominate all further proceedings in divided Germany, represented a realist vision of politics run by powerful states, each retaining their own sociopolitical order, whether liberal democratic or socialist, and pursuing their own interests.

(2) Next and almost contemporaneously, there was Kohl's revivalist model. This variant represented the revival, or adaptive reuse, of a confederation of German states. Such a Germanic confederation had not actually existed since the nineteenth century (Nazi expansion notwithstanding). It had endured rhetorically, however, into the period of détente-"two states in one German nation" was a common phrase-and it was now to be revived in reality for two twenty-first-century Germanies. This latter-day "confederationism" blurred the lines of state sovereignty. Each of the Germanies would maintain its own political and social order, but the two would share a confederative, national roof. There were echoes of this idea on a large scale; Mitterrand speculated about creating a Europe of confederations, yet neither Kohl's version nor the French idea was ever fully developed. Originally intended as serious options, they (like Gorbachev's initial restoration model) would be overtaken by events more quickly than anyone imagined.

(3) Next, in early 1990, there was Gorbachev's challenge to his own original plan: a heroic model of multinationalism. Gorbachev dropped the restoration concept entirely and instead proposed to build a vast new edifice from the Atlantic to the Urals: the fulfillment of his desire to create a common European home of many rooms. States under this model would retain their own political orders, but cooperate via international economic and military institutions. This model was heroic in the architectural sense of the word, which is much more ambivalent than the popular usage; indeed, "heroism" is a term that has fallen into disrepute among architects. The era of heroic modernism in the twentieth century produced a number of utopian design exercises, sometimes explicitly in the service of political regimes, that proved to be illusory or misguided. Gorbachev's vision fit into this pattern: it was sweeping in intent, but it was also fatally uncompromising. Ironically, former East German dissident movements, having done so much to unsettle Soviet control, proposed a similar model. They wanted new construction as well, though of a more limited expanse. Their goal was the construction of an improved socialism in East Germany, with a curiously prescient kind of "property pluralism" that would allow both private property and state intervention in times of economic crisis.

(4) Finally, the Western allies, and Kohl in particular, responded in 1990 with the fourth and winning proposal: the prefab model. In other words, the United States and West Germany convincingly made the case for taking the West's prefabricated institutions, both for domestic order and international economic and military cooperation, and simply extending them eastward. This institutional-transfer model had the advantage of being quick, and dealing in known and successful commodities, such as the West German Basic Law, the West German currency (or DM), and the Article 5 mutual defense guarantee of NATO, to name a few. Indeed, the fact that both the EC and NATO were structurally capable of expansion (and had already been enlarged from their original footprints) provided useful precedents. The prefab model was the one model that proposed to harmonize both domestic and international institutions in Eastern Europe to preset Western standards. Moreover, it helped Kohl to justify his drive for rapid unity to skeptical West Europeans. When faced with the question of how to reconcile his neighbors to a process that might well threaten the delicate balance of strength within the EC, Kohl, already one of the more pro-European leaders of his generation, could argue that German unity was an extension of European integration. Just as West and East would unify within existing German structures, so too would West and East join under the existing EC institutions.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from 1989 by Mary Elise Sarotte Copyright © 2009 by Mary Elise Sarotte. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Preface: A Brief Note on Scholarship and Sources xi
Abbreviations xvi
Introduction: Creating Post-Cold War Europe: 1989 and the Architecture of Order 1

Chapter 1: What Changes in Summer and Autumn 1989? 11
Tiananmen Fails to Transfer 16
The Americans Step Back 22
The Status Quo Ceases to Convince 25
East German Self-Confidence Rises 28
Television Transforms Reality 38

Chapter 2: Restoring Four-Power Rights, Reviving a Confederation in 1989 48
On the Night of November 9 50
What Next? 62
The Four (Occupying?) Powers 65
Candy, Fruit, and Sex 68
The Portugalov Push 70
Specters Revive 76
The Restoration and Revival Models Fall Apart 81

Chapter 3: Heroic Aspirations in 1990 88
The Round Table 92
Counterrevolution? 95
The Consequences of the Brush with a Stage of Terror 99
Emerging Controversy over Reparations and NATO 103
"NATO's Jurisdiction Would Not Shift One Inch Eastward" 107
Property Pluralism 115

Chapter 4: Prefab Prevails 119
The Security Solution: Two lus Four Equals NATO 120
The Political Solution: Article 23 129
The Economic Solution: Monetary Union 132
The Election Campaign and the Ways of the Ward Heeler 135
The Results of March 18 142
Reassuring European Neighbors 145

Chapter 5: Securing Building Permits 150
The First Carrot: Money 152
The Washington Summit 160
The Second Carrot: NATO Reform 169
Breakthrough in Russia 177
Pay Any Price 186

Conclusion: The Legacy of 1989 and 1990 195
Counterfactuals 196
Consequences 201
Acknowledgments 215
Notes 219
Bibliography 287
Index 309

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