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Conflict and Negotiation: Analytical Paper

Autor:   •  April 21, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,813 Words (8 Pages)  •  906 Views

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The Berlin Crisis of June 1961 is a prime example of a historical event depicting the results of negotiation. The crucial conversation between both Khurshchev and Kennedy attempted to reach a mutual understanding with their two varying opinions but resulted in more tension as emotions are dealt with.

To illustrate, after skilled East German workers flowed into West Berlin, Nikita Khrushchev, former Soviet Union leader that succeeded Stalin, was motivated to sign a peace treaty he believed would put the western zones of Berlin under control of East Germany and clearly achieve peace. Meanwhile, President Kennedy adamantly held his position on America’s promise to protect the rights of West Berliners/Germans.

The two world leaders met in a conference on June 1961 and made the condition of Berlin the primary issue. For example, Khrushchev tried to convince Kennedy and claimed that the current situation of Berlin is “intolerable,” believing that signing the treaty that would allow East Germany to take control of Berlin’s western zones would improve and benefit the city of Berlin in the long-run. He also demanded that the United States end its military presence in West Berlin.

However, Kennedy refused to both conditions, not wanting to give up the positions he believed were vital for protecting Western Europe. As a result, tension immediately rose between the two world leaders. A frustrated Khrushchev tells Kennedy, “I want peace, but if you want war, that is your problem” while Kennedy replies, “It is you, not I who wants to force a change.” Though the conference was supposed to ease the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it actually made tensions rise even more. Kennedy, upon returning to America, asked Congress to increase military spending while Khrushchev demanded the construction of a wall in between West and East Berlin.

This wall became known as the Berlin Wall, which is seen as a physical manifestation of the tensions between the two Germanys, with the East being communist and the West being democratic. In response, Kennedy sends U.S. troops to the democratic West Berlin. Though Russian and American tanks moved in within sight of each other, attacks were not fired but the tensions between the countries remained high (Lapsansky-Werner 622).

The constant disagreements between Khrushchev and Kennedy revealed the form of dialogue used in failed hopes to reach a shared meaning. Within Crucial Conversations, the term ‘shared meaning’ is defined as a mutual place where, “people willingly act on whatever decisions they make” (Patterson 23). Khrushchev tried to create a mutual understanding by offering the possibility of peace between the two Berlins if East Berlin was able to take control of West Berlin.

However, this shared meaning failed because Kennedy refused his offer because he wanted the situation to remain the same. This is because

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