Cover of Between Containment and Rollback by Christian F. Ostermann
Between Containment and Rollback
The United States and the Cold War in Germany
Christian F. Ostermann


July 2019
416 pages.

Cloth ISBN: 9781503606784



In the aftermath of World War II, American diplomats and policymakers turned to the task of rebuilding Europe while keeping Communism at bay, and they confronted a divided Germany. While the United States' interest lay in stabilizing and forming an alliance with West Germany, what happened in the "other Germany" was also a matter of concern. Based on recently declassified documents from American, Russian, and German archives, this book tells the story of U.S. policy toward East Germany from 1945 to 1953. As the American approach shifted between the policy of "containment" and more active "rollback" of Communist power, the Truman and Eisenhower administrations worked to undermine Soviet-backed Communist rule without compromising economic and nation-building interests in West Germany. There was a darker side to American policy in East Germany: covert operations, propaganda, and psychological warfare. This international history draws on previously untapped German and Russian sources, tracking relations between East German and Soviet Communists and providing new perspectives on the role of U.S. foreign policy as Cold War tensions coalesced.

About the author

Christian Ostermann is Director of the History and Public Policy Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, including the Cold War International History Program, the North Korea International Documentation Project, and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.