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Neuerscheinung: 2011 legte Manfred Wilke ein neues Standardwerk zum Bau der Berliner Mauer vor. Auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse ausgezeichnet, erscheint sein Buch nun in englischer Übersetzung.



"The Path to the Berlin Wall"

Critical Stages in the History of Divided Germany

Translated from German by Sophie Perl, April 2014, ca 412 pages, ca 2 ills, bibliog., index,

ISBN 978-1-78238-288-1 Hardback ca. $100.00/£63.00, E-ISBN 978-1-78238-289-8,

The long path to the Berlin Wall began in 1945, when Josef Stalin instructed the Communist Party to take power in the Soviet occupation zone while the three Western allies secured their areas of influence. When Germany was split into separate states in 1949, Berlin remained divided into four sectors, with West Berlin surrounded by the GDR but lingering as a captivating showcase for Western values and goods. Following a failed Soviet attempt to expel the allies from West Berlin with a blockade in 1948–49, a second crisis ensued from 1958–61, during which the Soviet Union demanded once and for all the withdrawal of the Western powers and the transition of West Berlin to a “Free City.” Ultimately Nikita Khrushchev decided to close the border in hopes of halting the overwhelming exodus of East Germans into the West.

Tracing this path from a German perspective, Manfred Wilke draws on recently published conversations between Khrushchev and Walter Ulbricht, head of the East German state, in order to reconstruct the coordination process between these two leaders and the events that led to building the Berlin Wall.

Manfred Wilke has been a research associate at the Ludwig Boltzmann-Institute for Research on War-Consequences since 2006. From 1985-2006, he was Professor of Sociology at the Berlin School of Economics, during which he participated in both Enquéte Commissions of the German Bundetag on the history of the SED dictatorship. He also served as Research Director of the Research Association on the SED State at the Freie Universität Berlin from 1992-2006.