• Short Summary

    FEARS OF A NEW EAST-WEST CRISIS OVER BERLIN ARE MOUNTING WITH THE APPROACH THIS MONTH OF THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE ERECTION OF THE BERLIN WALL - THE JAGGED LINE OF FORTIFICATION THAT SLICE THROUGH THE HEART OF THE DIVIDED CITY.

  • Description

    FEARS OF A NEW EAST-WEST CRISIS OVER BERLIN ARE MOUNTING WITH THE APPROACH THIS MONTH OF THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE ERECTION OF THE BERLIN WALL - THE JAGGED LINE OF FORTIFICATION THAT SLICE THROUGH THE HEART OF THE DIVIDED CITY. UNEASE IN BERLIN HAS RISEN SINCE THE U.S.-SOVIET TALKS ON THE CITY REACHED APPARENT DEADLOCK LAST MONTH. ADDING TO THE UNEASE HAVE BEEN RECENT SOVIET FLIGHTS IN THE BERLIN AIR CORRIDORS, TOGETHER WITH THE DISPUTE EARLY THIS MONTH ON U.S. HELICOPTER FLIGHTS OVER BERLIN, AND THE CURRENT VISIT OF EAST GERMAN LEADER HERR WALTER ULBRICHT TO THE SOVIET UNION.

    THE WALL FIRST CAME INTO BEING AUGUST 13, 1961 WHEN THE EAST GERMAN REGIME SEALED THE EAST-WEST BERLIN CITY BORDER, THUS HALTING THE EXODUS OF EAST GERMAN REFUGEES INTO WEST BERLIN. THE BAN WAS ENFORCED BY SETTING UP BARBED WIRE BARRICADES ON THE EAST-WEST CITY BORDER AND BY REDUCING THE NUMEROUS CROSSING POINTS TO A FEW CLOSELY GUARDED CHECKPOINTS. EAST GERMAN POLICE SET UP MACHINE - GUN NESTS ALONG THE BORDER AT THE BRANDENBURG GATE AND EAST GERMAN MILITA WITH SOVIET TANKS IN RESERVE TOOK UP STRATEGIC POSITIONS. A FEW DAY LATER, THE WIRE BARRIERS WERE REINFORCED WITH CONCRETED SLABS AND BLOCKS. THE WALL GREW TO A MASSIVE BARRICADE 16 FT. HIGH AND FOUR FEET THICK IN PLACES, STRETCHING FOR 25 MILES ALONG THE SECTOR BORDER. THEN CAME FORTIFICATIONS: TRIPLE BARBED WIRE FENCES FLANKED WITH TANK OBSTACLES AND WATCH TOWERS.

    EAST GERMAN LEADER HERR WALTER ULBRICHT, FILMED INSPECTING EAST GERMAN TROOPS AT THE BERLIN WALL DURING AUGUST LAST YEAR, TOLD THE WORLD THAT THE WALL WAS A FRONTIER "THE SAME AS OTHER NATIONS ERECT FOR THEIR OWN SECURITY." AND IT WOULD REMAIN, HE SAID, UNTIL THE SOVIET UNION SIGNED A PEACE SECURITY WITH EAST GERMANY. THE WEST FEARED THAT SUCH A TREATY WOULD RESULT IN EAST GERMANY CUTTING ACROSS ROUTES TO WEST BERLIN ACROSS EAST GERMANY TERRITORY. WEST BERLIN NOW FOUND ITSELF FACING ITS WORST CRISIS SINCE THE 1948 SOVIET BLOCKADE.

    TO MANY BERLINERS THE WALL BECAME A GRIM JOKE; TO OTHERS IT WAS SEEN AS A MONUMENT TO THE GRIEF OF A DIVIDED NATION. THE EAST GERMAN REGIME HAILED IT AS "A WALL OF PEACE." WEST GERMANS DUBBED IT "THE WALL OF SHAME," CLAIMING ITS SOLE PURPOSE WAS TO STEM THE FLOW OF DISCONTENTED EAST GERMANS INTO WEST BERLIN. EITHER WAY, ERECTION OF THE WALL HEIGHTENED WORLD TENSION AND BROUGHT ABOUT A WORSENING IN EAST-WEST RELATIONS THAT CAME PERILOUSLY CLOSE TO FLASHPOINT DURING THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.

    WITHIN A FORTNIGHT OF THE WALL BEING BUILT, THE WESTERN POWERS BROUGHT TROOP REINFORCEMENTS TO STRENGTHEN THEIR WEST BERLIN GARRISONS. THE FIRST WESTERN MILITARY REINFORCEMENTS -- A CONVOY OF U.S. TROOPS -- DROVE INTO THE CITY AUGUST 20 TO A WARM WELCOME FROM WEST BERLINERS, REMINISCENT OF LIBERATION DAY, 1945. THEN CAME A SHOW OF STRENGTH BY BOTH EAST AND WEST WITH TANKS AND ARMOURED TROOP CARRIERS RANGED MENACINGLY AT CHECKPOINTS ON THE CITY BORDER. ONE OF THE TENSION POINTS WAS 'CHECKPOINT CHARLIE' IN WEST BERLIN'S FRIEDRICHSTRASSE, WHERE ARMED TROOPS AND TANKS FACED EACH OTHER ONLY YARDS APART ON EITHER SIDE OF THE BORDER.

    NEXT MONTH, SEPTEMBER, 1961 THE COMPULSORY EVACUATION OF EAST BERLINERS ALONG THE CITY'S SECTOR BORDER SPARKED TWO INCIDENTS WHICH ILLUSTRATED THE TENSION AND FRUSTRATION ON BOTH SIDES OF THE DIVIDING WALL. WHILE EAST BERLIN POLICE WERE SUPERVISING REMOVAL OF OCCUPANTS AND FURNITURE IN THE BERNAUERSTRASSE DISTRICT, THEY WERE JEERED AND CATCALLED BY A WEST BERLIN CROWD GATHERED AT THE FRENCH SECTOR BORDER. THE POLICE TOSSED SMOKE BOMBS TO DISPERSE THE CROWD, WHO PROMPTLY THREW THEM BACK. THE EAST GERMANS RETALIATED WITH DRENCHING SPRAY FROM HIGH-POWER WATER CANNON.

    MEANWHILE, IN ONE OF THE BUILDINGS BEING EVACUATED, A 77-YEAR-OLD WOMAN DECIDED SHE WOULD RATHER JUMP FROM AN UPSTAIRS WINDOW INTO WEST BERLIN THAN BE FORCIBLY REMOVED FROM HER HOME. THE HOUSE WAS IN EAST BERLIN BUT THE STREET OUTSIDE OPENED INTO WEST BERLIN. AS SHE HUNG OUT OF THE WINDOW, TWO EAST BERLIN POLICE HELD HER HANDS AND TRIED TO PULL HER BACK INTO THE HOUSE. A WEST BERLIN YOUTH PERCHED ON A LOWER WINDOW LEDGE, JUMPED UP AND GRABBED HER ANKLES. THE TUG-OF-WAR WENT ON UNTIL THE WOMAN FELL TO SAFETY INTO A CANVASS HELD BY WEST BERLINERS. SIMILAR EXITS IN BUILDINGS ALONG THE CITY BORDER WERE BRICKED UP BY EAST GERMAN WORKERS, BUT ESCAPE SIDE - SOME DARING, SOME FATAL - WENT ON FOR MONTHS. TODAY, FEW EAST GERMANS DARE TO BREAK THROUGH THE CORDON OF GUARDS AND CLAMBER THE WALL INTO WEST BERLIN, FOR TO DO SO MEANS ALMOST CERTAIN DEATH.

    FRESH HOPES FOR A SETTLEMENT OF THE BERLIN DISPUTED CAME LAST MONTH AT THE 17-NATION DISARMAMENT TALKS BEING HELD IN GENEVA, DURING A BREAK IN THE TALKS, MR. GROMYKO, SOVIET FOREIGN MINISTER, AND MR. DEAN RUSX, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, MET FOR DISCUSSING ON THE BERLIN PROBLEM. BUT THEIR CONFERENCE - AND LATER TALKS ON THE SAME ISSUE - FAILED TO YIELD POSITIVE RESULTS AND NOW SEEM TO HAVE REACHED DEADLOCK. MEANWHILE, THE BERLIN WALL REMAINS, SOLID AND SEEMINGLY IMPENETRABLE, SYMBOL OF A DIVIDED NATION IN A DIVIDED WORLD...

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA4XWQNLFQ12KFL4M7SICIWY0OD
    Media URN:
    VLVA4XWQNLFQ12KFL4M7SICIWY0OD
    Group:
    File reuters - Can Sell
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    10/08/1962
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:00:06:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A
  • Part of…

    GERMANY: DIVIDED CITY: FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF BERLIN WALL GERMANY: DIVIDED CITY: FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF BERLIN WALL GERMANY: DIVIDED CITY: FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF BERLIN WALL GERMANY: DIVIDED CITY: FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF BERLIN WALL

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