Macmillan, Khrushchev and the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1960  book cover
1st Edition

Macmillan, Khrushchev and the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1960

ISBN 9780415649810
Published November 1, 2012 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

This new study casts fresh light on the roles of Harold Macmillan and Nikita Khrushchev and their efforts to achieve a compromise settlement on the pivotal Berlin Crisis.

Drawing on previously unseen documents and secret archive material, Kitty Newman demonstrates how the British Prime Minister acted to prevent the crisis sliding into a disastrous nuclear conflict. She shows how his visit to Moscow in 1959 was a success, which convinced Khrushchev of a sincere effort to achieve a lasting settlement. Despite the initial reluctance of the French and the Americans, and the consistent opposition of the Germans, Macmillan’s subsequent efforts led to a softening of the Western line on Berlin and to the formulation of a set of proposals that might have achieved a peaceful resolution to the crisis if the Paris Conference of 1960 had not collapsed in acrimony. This volume also assesses Khrushchev’s role, which despite his sometimes intemperate language, was to secure a peaceful settlement which would stabilize the East German regime, maintain the status quo in Europe and prevent the reunification of a resurgent, nuclearized Germany, thereby paving the way for disarmament.

This book will be of great interest to all students of post-war diplomacy, Soviet foreign policy, the Cold War and of international relations and strategic studies in general.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. Background to the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1960  A. Nikita Khrushchev’s Personality and Foreign Policy Objectives  B. Harold Macmillan’s Personality and Foreign Policy Objectives  C. Background to East-West Relations and the Berlin Problem  2. Soviet Policy on the Berlin Question, November 1958-February 1959  3. British Reaction to the Soviet Initiative on Berlin November 1958-February 1959  4. The Prime Minister’s Visit to the Soviet Union 21 February-3 March 1959  5. Britain Seeks to Convert her Allies to the Macmillan Initiative  6. The Geneva Foreign Ministers Conference 11 May-5 August 1959  7. East-West Negotiations on an Interim Agreement for West Berlin September 1959 until the Paris Summit Conference, May 1960  8. The U-2 Crisis May 1960  A. The Story Unfolds 1-16 May 1960  B. An Analysis of Soviet Reaction  C. A Lost Opportunity.  Conclusion 

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Kitty Newman gained her PhD at the London School of Economics for her research on the relations between Britain and the Soviet Union and the Search for an Interim Agreement on West Berlin from November 1958 to May 1960. She also holds a Diploma in Russian from the University of Surrey.


' of the best books on this period of history that I have read.'
Sergei Khrushchev (son of Nikita Khrushchev), Brown University, Rhode Island, USA

'...a valuable contribution to the historiography of this critical cold war period and suggests a way for scholars to explore the dynamic relationships between the major figures of the period.'
Laura Madokoro, The International History Review

'Dr Newman's lucid and thoroughly-researched account sheds significant new light on the role of Harold Macmillan in developing East-West detente in the late 1950s. She provides us with a much fuller picture than those who see the Cold War principally through the lens of Superpower relations.' 
Prof. John W. Young, University of Nottingham, UK

'Dr Newman boldly suggests that in the late 1950s Khrushchev and Macmillan
both believed there was a real opportunity to open talks on the German
question. When these failed the Cold War continued. Only with access to
ex-Soviet archives and a nuanced understanding of Macmillan's aims, can
readers appreciate that lost moment in recent history.'

Prof. Anita Prazmowska, LSE, UK