• A shared environment: German-German relations along the border, 1945-1972

      Grady, Tim; University of Chester (SAGE, 2015-03-20)
      The division of Germany into two militarised blocs during the Cold War fundamentally shaped the lives of people living in both East and West. Yet, as recent scholarship has increasingly highlighted, there were also numerous areas of contact and interaction, whether in the cultural, political or social sphere. One largely overlooked aspect of these Cold War relations, which this article explores, is the environment. Focusing on the history of the shared German environment from the end of the Second World War through until the early 1970s, the article argues that on a local level, environmental problems helped to ensure the survival of cross-border relations. Despite their repeated efforts, the two states failed to divide the German landscape in half. Rivers, lakes and forests continually crossed the fortified border, while animals and plant life traversed from one side to the other too. In attempting to maintain this shared border landscape, both East and West Germans were repeatedly forced into dialogue. Although relations gradually faded as the border regime was strengthened, it proved impossible for either side to escape fully the entangled German environment.