Harassed Berlin

March 12, 1953

Report Outline
Increasing Soviet Pessures on West Berlin
Status of Occupying Forces in Berlin
Unique Position of Free Berlin

Increasing Soviet Pessures on West Berlin

Berlin, former capital of the Kaiser's Empire, the Weimar Republic, and Hitler's Third Reich, has been and remains the focal center in Europe of the postwar struggle between East and West. Vitally affected by the embittered relations between the victors in World War II and the ever-widening gap between the two parts of occupied Germany, the city holds a unique front-line position in the cold war. For the last ten months Berlin has suffered steadily increasing Soviet harassment, which makes life difficult for all Eerliners and is further isolating the section of the city still functioning under free institutions.

Whether the death of Stalin will lead to relaxation of the tension in Berlin is a matter of conjecture. Any appreciable easing of the East-West conflict, while the new leadership in Moscow consolidates its power, might bring the city a welcome period of relief from present strains. On the other hand, any new shooting war in Europe, precipitated by some reckless action of Stalin's successors in the Kremlin, would have Berlin as its first victim.

Mounting East-West Tension in Berlin

For almost eight years, Berlin has stood as a multinational “island” some 110 miles inside Soviet-controlled East Germany. It has maintained links with West Germany and with surrounding areas of East Germany, but the Russians have been in position to cut those links at any time. Since the breakdown of joint occupational control of Berlin in 1948, the “opposing but physically-joined halves” of the city have been ruled by two rival municipal governments.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 22, 1989  A Primer on German Reunification
Apr. 19, 1985  German Reconciliation
Feb. 25, 1983  West Germany's ‘Missile’ Election
Jan. 14, 1970  German Reconciliation
Jan. 29, 1969  West German Prosperity
Mar. 30, 1966  German Border Question and Reunification
Aug. 18, 1965  West German Election, 1965
Feb. 24, 1965  War Guilt Expiation
Jul. 01, 1964  German Question
Sep. 01, 1961  Captive East Germany
Aug. 23, 1961  West German Election, 1961
May 04, 1960  Berlin Question
Dec. 24, 1958  Berlin Crisis and German Reunification
Aug. 21, 1957  German Election, 1957
Oct. 19, 1955  European Security
Jun. 15, 1955  Germany and the Balance of Power
Oct. 19, 1954  German Rearmament
Jan. 19, 1954  West German Recovery
Mar. 12, 1953  Harassed Berlin
Apr. 26, 1950  German Problem
Feb. 18, 1948  Rehabilitation of the Ruhr
Oct. 23, 1946  Future of Germany
Nov. 25, 1944  Transfers of Populations
Nov. 01, 1940  Economic Controls in Nazi Germany
Mar. 09, 1939  Foreign Trade in German Economy
Apr. 02, 1936  Germany's Post-War European Relations
Nov. 02, 1934  The Coming Saab Plebiscite
Apr. 23, 1931  The Austro-German Customs Union Project
Feb. 05, 1929  The Rhineland Problem
Nov. 07, 1924  German National Elections December, 1924
Apr. 30, 1924  The German National Elections
Cold War
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
U.S. at War: Cold War
War and Conflict