("It is far easier to make war than to make peace" - Georges Clemenceau - French Statesman, 1919)
2009 is the year for a lot of milestone anniversaries. The Moon landing in 1969, Tiananmen Square, the reunification of Germany, the first open elections in Glasnost-era Soviet Union and Solidarity's sweep to power in Poland - all in 1989. Pretty impressive year.
Post World War 2 has always been a fascination with me. Certainly the Cold War, the dissolving of former colonies and the emergence of Nuclear Superpowers were major factors in shaping Foreign Policy as we know it today. The role of Secretary of State became much more prominent during this time, probably more than any other in our history. George C. Marshall is mostly remembered as the author of The Marshall Plan and the system of Foreign Aid in helping rehabilitate countries devastated by the war.
But antagonisms between the Soviet Union and the former Allies began pretty much from the get-go, when the question of what to do about Germany came up.
Germany was unified in 1989 - it didn't happen overnight. Beginning in 1947, as this clip from Marshall's return from a failed London Conference points out, The Soviet Union was dead against any idea of unification. A stand which would eventually lead to the construction of the infamous Berlin Wall
The issue was simple - it was whether or not Germany was to continue divided, or whether the Allies could agree to recreate a unified Germany. Unless this could be achieved, all other questions relating to Germany would remain academic.