Where Berlin And America Meet

Our common history isn’t all pleasant, but seeing it firsthand is deeply moving

Berlin’s history intersects with America’s at many points, and tourists who seek these intersections will arrive at the first of them sooner than they expect. Americans who came of age soaking up reruns of Twelve O‘Clock High, The World at War, and Victory Through Air-power may find that flying into Berlin is a slightly disconcerting way to approach the place.

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Visiting The Cold War Today

From Berlin to Washington to Area 51, landmarks of the era are opening up to tourists.

Berlin, on a Cold War day only George Smiley could love: John Le Carré’s hero would recognize the chill rain of this false spring. But the Kurf’fcrstendamm remains thick with tourists. Berlin’s revived status as a political and cultural capital may be the main lure for these visitors, but seeing the places most associated with the Cold War is a big draw too. Americans want to see the monument to the Berlin airlift, the markers commemorating the former Soviet military headquarters, and, of course, the Wall itself.

 
 
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The Last Days Of The Third Reich

Forty years ago, a tangle of chaotic events led to the death of Hitler, the surrender of the Nazis, and the end of World War II in Europe

The last time Grand Adm. Karl Doenitz saw his Führer was on April 20, 1945, Adolf Hitler’s fifty-sixth birthday. The celebration, held in the Führerbunker , a dank catacomb buried deep beneath the Reich chancellery, twenty feet lower than Berlin’s sewer system, was hardly festive. Read more »

“To Bring You The Picture Of Europe Tonight…”

In 1938 the European correspondent for CBS was in Austria when the Nazis marched in. He wanted to tell the world about it—but first he had to help invent a whole new kind of broadcasting.

I FIRST MET ED MURROW at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin on Friday, August 27, 1937, He had sent me a telegram three days earlier inviting me to dinner. I was not in the best of moods. After three years as a newspaper correspondent in Berlin, I was out of a job, very nearly broke, and my wife.Tess, was pregnant. Read more »

“yes, By Damn, We’re Going Back To Berlin”

After two false starts, the B-17s got through. A pilot relives the 8th Air Force’s first successful daylight raid on the German capital .

IN MARCH THE NIGHTS were long and black over the airfield at Bassingbourn, which lies just north of London. Its latitude is about the same as that of Hudson Bay, and this proximity to the Arctic Circle means long summer days and long winter nights. During the cold months the B-17s of the 91st Bombardment Group took off in the dark: a blackout was strictly enforced, all the windows had heavy curtains, and even the flashlights had recessed bulbs. Read more »

The Man Who Planned The Victory

An Interview With Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer

In 1936 the Germans permitted a captain of the U.S. Army to attend their War College as an exchange student. What he learned there helped him develop the master strategy with which the Allies won the war. At eighty-six, one of the last of the commanders looks back. Read more »

When Bunkers Last In The Backyard Bloom—d

The fallout-shelter craze of 1961

It all began on the evening of July 25, 1961, when President John F. Kennedy went before television cameras to explain to his countrymen the grave meaning and still graver consequences of the deepening crisis over Berlin. The Russians were threatening American access rights to that isolated city, the President told an audience of 50,000,000 tense and expectant Americans. Those rights might be terminated on December 31 when Premier Khrushchev signed, as he threatened to do, a separate peace treaty with East Germany.Read more »

Chickens To Moscow

Marjorie Daw Johnson, for many years a vocational teacher in Madison, Wisconsin, died in 1975 at the age of ninety-three. Among other mementos, she left this account of her entirely unforeseen experience as a courier to the Soviet Union in the days before the United States recognized that country. It is published here for the first time by permission of Dr. David B. Johnson, her nephew and executor of her estate.

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How Not To Fly The Atlantic

On May 20, 1927, when Charles A. Lindbergh took off on his famous solo flight, he was only one of several aspirants for the title of first man to fly an airplane nonstop between New York and Pans. Five men had already died attempting the feat. Two more planes were preparing to take off. For some weeks, Roosevelt Field on Long Island had been swarming with fliers, backers, and mechanics nursing, testing, and perfecting the planes that would attempt the unprecedented flight.Read more »