Against a background of slogans such as "Down with militarism in West Germany". and "West?
Against a background of slogans such as "Down with militarism in West Germany". and "West Berlin will become a demilitarized free city," about 5,000 troops marched or rode in armored vehicles past President Wilhelm Pieck; Premier Grotewohl; and Pary Secretary Ullbricht, during East Berlin's May Day parade in the old Lustgarten May 1.
Military detachments - including units of East German military and members of the "People's Army" - led a procession that took five hours to pass the Presidential dais. Regimented formations of people, said to number 250,000, strutted by to the accompaniment of old Russian marches and new political exaltations.
The East Berlin demonstrations of military might contrasted sharply with peaceful West Berlin celebrations. Three hours after the last tank had trundled past the Communist leaders, the three Allied Commandants sent a sharp protest to the Soviet Commandant against a militaristic display incompatible with the four-power status of the City. They said it was a threat to public order not in accord with the Soviet Union's professed desire to ease tension.