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By Blood, Not Ballots: German Unification, Communist Style

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Journal article

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On 13 May 1990, the Soviet Ambassador to West Germany, Yuli Kvitsinsky, left Bonn for Moscow to receive instructions on how to handle the growing drive for German unification. The four powers with residual rights in Germany as a result of their victory in World War II had just ended their first meeting on that topic, and Kvitsinsky realized that the Soviet government had yet to work out its own approach to this burning issue. The existence of the DDR or GDR, German Democratic Republic was only a question of months, and we faced the choice in the time remaining whether to engage actively in the solution of the issue or to simply accept what those in the West would create without our contribution. Although Kvitsinskys boss, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, had realized as early as 1986 that in the near future the German question would define Europe, Kvitsinsky found little support for a diplomatic solution outside his own ministry. It was disturbing that ... many duties of the Supreme Soviet did not wish to accept the developments, that a massive attack against the foreign minister appeared in the press, and we were overwhelmed With criticisms from other government departments, especially from the military. Apparently unknown to the Soviet Ambassador were the far-reaching plans drafted decades earlier by communist leaders for an alternative, more favorable, and most bloody solution to the German question. These plans called for a rapid military strike across the German plains to the Atlantic if and when possible. The plans were premised upon the retention of East Germany within the Warsaw Pact and the use of East German territory as the key staging area for a massive nuclear and conventional attack. Eleven well-trained East German divisions five of which were unknown to the West were assigned to the attack. Their mission entailed offensive action followed by unification of West and East Germany under a common communist regime.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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