Posts Tagged ‘peace treaty’

Stalin Note

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The Stalin note was a diplomatic paper. On March 10, 1952, Joseph Stalin’s deputy foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko, delivered three identical documents to his postwar Allies–the United States, France and Great Britain. The Stalin note was the first of four pieces of correspondence on the same subject, all initiated by Marshal Stalin. The paper proposed a peace treaty between the four Allies and the East- and West-occupied Germanys to end the country’s artificial division.

Content of the Stalin Note

In this diplomatic note, Stalin proposed German reunification but attached several stipulations. Aside from other requirements, he proposed reunification of East and West Germany, providing that the occupying powers withdraw their armed forces and liquidate all of their bases in Germany. He further demanded that once reunited, Germany would be required to forfeit her right to enter into a military alliance with any power, that had taken part in WWII. Stalin suggested a four-power conference to act on his proposal by signing a peace treaty with Germany.

Four-power conference

The conference never took place. Germany and the three Western Allies feared that a peace treaty of this nature could result in the reunited Germany’s inability to protect her borders. They also recognized that signing this peace treaty would mean that the reunited Germany would be barred from aligning herself with the Western powers. As history shows those interpretations prevailed. The Cold War continued to heat up over the next three decades, and East and West became more firmly entrenched in their respective blocs. Germany remained divided until the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) collapsed in 1990.

The question remains

Historians have been divided ever since on the intent of the Stalin note. The questions remain (1) Did the West German, Western European, and American leaders miss a much earlier opportunity for German reunification? (2) Were the Soviets offering a sincere path toward German reunification in 1952 or was the Stalin Note a ploy to facilitate the incorporation of Germany into the Eastern bloc? Opinions differ to this day.


For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.