The Cold War: A look at The Beliefs And Reality Of Berlin
- Written by: admin
- Category: Uncategorized
- Published: March 19, 2023
I will take you on a fascinating journey via a time where the World was different to the one of today, a journey that we hope you enjoy.
10. Access to Western side Berlin.
During the Cold War Berlin was divided into four sectors. The Western side was controlled by the French, British and Americans and the East was controlled by the Soviets. Sat in the heart of East Germany Western side Berlin was linked to Western side Germany by three main supply avenues. The Berlin transit corridor was an autobahn that ran from Checkpoint Leader in Helmstedt, Western side Germany to Checkpoint Bravo on the East German/West Berlin line. The Berlin railway network — The British train ran to and from Braunschweig. The French train ran to and from Paris, france and the American Train ran to and from Frankfurt. Finally there were the Berlin air corridors.
Travelling along the Berlin transit Wohnungsauflösung Berlin corridor was fascinating. Approaching the line was like something out of a science fiction film. Line after line of high-powered lights lit up no-mans land and the sentry systems. The Soviet manned checkpoints were an opportunity for me as a child to spot the rank, unit and sporting medals worn by the Soviet sentries. The Berlin travel document contained all names of those travelling in the vehicle. It was written in English, French, German and European. The only two places that Allied soldier’s and their own families were allowed to stay in East Germany was at the Soviet controlled checkpoints.
9. The Berliner Fernsehturm.
The Berlin TV system is an iconic view that sits just inside East Berlin. The Soviet/East German propaganda machine was always in play and the story of this building was no exemption. Construction started in 1965 and was completed in 1969. It endured at 356 metres and registered as the fourth highest free standing building in Europe. An old cold war tale suggests that Pope John VI gave sums of money to the East German Government in order to build places of worship. The East German Government was lead by Walt Ulbricht. Ulbricht decided that the money should be spent on a TV system instead.
And once construction on the system was completed in 1969, 3 million proved to see it. When the sun stands out on the steel dome at the top of the system a cross appears in the representation. Rumour has it that the planners just weren’t aware of this clever creation. The citizens of Berlin nicknamed the system the ‘Popes Revenge’.
The Berliner Fernsehturm is still going strong today giving tourist an opportunity a bird’s eye view of a magnificent city. At the very top sits a café, which rotates twice in the hour and sits at the base of the viewing platform. This is not a place to eat for those with a anxiety about height.
8. The BRIXMIS & SOXMIS.
The British Commanders’-in-Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany and the Soviet Exercise Mission were in a nutshell ‘authorised spies’. The BRIXMIS were comprised of reps and NCO’s who have been competed in identifying different types of Soviet armour and units. They exercised of their HQ in Potsdam, East Germany. Travelling around in small teams generally in Range Rovers or Opel Senators, we were holding known as ‘Tour Cars’. Tour Cars were marked up with a yellow number plate, a number and a Union Flag.
Tours took BRIXMIS teams across East Germany to the training areas of the Warsaw pact forces. Often traversing the brand of duty, BRIXMIS operators would go that extra yard to get a close up photograph of a new part of Soviet armour.
The SOXMIS ran in a similar format, operating out of black Lada cars in Western side Germany and Western side Berlin, somewhat less luxurious of their British counterparts. British members of the military and their own families were encouraged to report Soviet tour cars. If i remember appropriately the number was Herford military 2222.
The French and Unites states military also ran quests in the East. If you are interested in Cold War history there are numerous books worth reading on the subjects. The quests literally took part in a game of Cold War hide and seek.
7. The Stasi.
The East German Secret Police were callous and anticipated. Approximately 13 million residents lived in East Germany and around 900, 000 were employed by the Stasi is some form or another. This became a big case ‘Big Brother’ and paranoia.
The Stasi developed out of the internal security and police apparatus established in the Soviet zone of profession in Germany after World War II. Legal issues establishing the ministry, whoever precursor was the Kommissariat 5 (modeled like the Soviet KGB), was passed by the East German legislature on February 8, 1950, four months after the establishment of the German Democratic Republic. The Stasi, whoever formal role was not defined in the legislation, was responsible for both domestic political monitoring and foreign espionage, and it was overseen by the lording it over Socialist Unity Party. Its staff was at first quite small, and its chief responsibilities were counterintelligence against Western agents and the suppression of the last vestiges of Nazism. Soon, however, the Stasi became known for kidnapping former East German officials who had fled the country; many of those who have been intentionally returned were executed. Source Britannica Encyclopidia
Any call created by a kama’aina ( was automatically recorded if the call was over a certain distance. Residential apartments were bugged and generally at least one flat belonged to the Stasi and was used as an brains cell.
It was encouraged to report any suspicious activity undertaken because of your neighbour, failing to do so could cause a the penitentiary phrase.
Millions of files were produced by the Stasi on its citizens. To date almost 2 million people have looked at records that were continued them. What is ironic about this organization is that it was still active less than 25 years ago. The relaxing Stasi museum was opened to the public and can be found in Berlin.
8. Brains gathering.
Brains agencies should go to any program plans to assemble information. In this list you will be interested to know that they got information for free.
Due to the fact that East Germany was a communist country, Westerners including Allied soldiers and their own families enjoyed cheap shopping in East Berlin. Porcelain could be bought at giveaway prices. Such was the value of dining in East Berlin, social function were often organised by British members of the military spouse committees.
The spouse would travel across into East Berlin via Checkpoint Charlie and revel in cheap dining and alcohol. It is rumoured that the Stasi and KGB bugged waiters, tables and bathrooms for purposes of brains gathering. Spouse would often have ‘lose lip’ affliction following a few glasses of wine. In turn snippets of information would be released, intercepted and analysed by specialists. Even the amounts of information were expensive. What seemed as an innocent social function become an information gold my own for Eastern brains services. I am sure that any of the good lady spouse that are scanning this will laugh about this today, at the time it was a serious matter. I never did like East German restaurant food, especially the cheap imitation black fizzy pop.
7. Soviets In the Western side.
I have already handled on the SOXMIS. Despite having control of East Berlin, the Soviets also had a permanent location in the Western side of the city. The Brandenburg gate is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and lies in between the Reichstag and where checkpoint Charlie used to stand. In the time a divided city, the Brandenburg gate sat in the East a few hundred metres away from the Berlin Wall.
From the Western side you could drive slowly up to the Berlin Wall and approach the Brandenburg gate. On the left where two Soviet tanks from the Second World War which formed a monument for the Soviet soldier’s who lost their lives in street to street fighting in 1945. Protecting those tanks were two ceremonial Soviet sentries.
It is rumoured that a vehicle once stopped and the Soviet sentries were photographed. Remember this is a time where portrait digital photography wasn’t invented. As a result stopping in a vehicle was completely a no-no.
The Soviet commemorative in the Western side was another reminder of the cities dark past and a reality be sure there was indeed a ‘Phoney War’ taking place. As a child From the my parents driving around the sights of Berlin. As i was sitting in the back of the vehicle looking at two Soviet sentries I often wondered who these were. The were probably thinking about being endured inside the warmth.
6. The Teuflesberg.
Situated in the Charlottenberg region of Western side Berlin, the Teufelsberg or Devil’s Mountain was man made. In 1945 Berlin was just a sea of broken buildings. Millions of tons of rubble were moved and plenty of it wound up in the spot that is now known as the Teufelsberg.
Its origin does not inside of it make Teufelsberg unique, as there are many similar man-made rubble mounds in Germany (see Schuttberg) and other war-torn cities of Europe. The curiousness begins with what is buried underneath the mountain: the never completed Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer. The Allies tried using explosives to demolish the school, but it was so sturdy that covering it with debris ended up being easier. In August 1950 the Western side Berlin Magistrate decided to open a new rubble removal on that site.  The removal was planned for 12, 000, 000 m3 (16, 000, 000 cu yd). Wikipedia
The Teuflesberg had two main functions, it was a recreational area for the public and it was also the eyes and the ears of Western brains. In 1961 Allied brains agencies ran operations from the the top of mountain. They listened in on Warsaw Pact radio traffic. Such was its suitability it was decided to build a permanent view there. The field station was manned at any hour and I recall a neighbour of our bait worked there as an owner in the Regal Signals. I would like to ball into him now and discuss some of the brains that she was lucky to have handled.
What was once at the heart of the Cold War now lies in damages. Vandalised and covered in graffiti, the famous land-mark can be visited by tourists.
5. The Iron Drape.
The thousands of miles of barbed cord, watch systems and lights got the name the Iron Drape by Mister Winston Churchill in his famous speech. Asap the view of the heavily manned line that divided Western and Eastern ways of life still are still fresh in the memory.
People talk about light polluting of the environment, if you do not actually surpassed the line at night you have never seen light polluting of the environment. Smoothly spread out out watchtowers focused the skyline, they overlooked no-mans land to their front and beyond into the Western side.
Attack dogs roamed in areas between the huge fencing, a deterrent to any would be escapee. Reports have recently claim that the attack dogs were pretty docile. Either way, I would don’t you have like to have taken any chances.
East German line soldiers where matched up according to their significant other status. Two single line guards where not posted together for anxiety about one of them trying to escape themselves.
German civilians who was simply granted authority to visit from the Western side to the East or vice versa where susceptible to strict vehicle searches, even to the point of having their fuel tanks dipped. I will can occur to escape attempts later on.
For those that never had the chance to see the East-West partition, imagine a the penitentiary but only on an enormous scale. That was what the ‘Iron Curtain’ seemed like.
4. The threat of war.
The Allied soldiers in Western side Berlin were simply there as a expression effort. The british isles had just 16 tanks stationed there. Some 40 miles to the North Western side of Allied controlled Western side Berlin was a Soviet garrison that housed some 15, 000 soldiers. Vogelsang was a ghost town that was home to armour, howitzers and infantry fighting soldiers.
In parts of RAF Gatow the only thing that separated it from the might of the Soviet Military was a 12-foot fencing. The Allied Forces stationed in Western side Berlin were little regarding green expression effort of force. It is hard to say how long they would have survived in the event of an all out war.
Both Allied and Soviet powers paraded their military machines through the streets of Western side and East Berlin respectively on an annual show of strength.
The British often ran an exercise known to the soldiers and families as the ‘Rocker’. Exercise Rocking Horse and later Exercise Berlin Bear Opponent was an accident out test. Soldiers were called into their respective garrisons in respond to a ‘notional Soviet attack. There were often bets between friends on when the next ‘Rocker’would be called by the Brigade Commander.
3. Checkpoint Charlie and the escape attempts.
Some 24 years after the Berlin Wall was declared ‘Open” Checkpoint Charlie still holds a vivid image for me. The checkpoint was the main traversing point between Western side and East Berlin. Plenty of fantasy and legend is all around the famous land-mark. Bizarrely it has been moved from its original location along the Berlin Wall.
East German guards would occupy the controlled traversing point and would demand to see ones own passport from page one all the way through to the back page.
The Checkpoint Charlie museum paid respect to those that had escaped from across the line to Western side Berlin or Western side Germany. One such escape attempt involved an East German sportsperson hurdling the checkpoint barriers and moving for safety into Western side Berlin.
Another audacious attempt involved a preliminary flying a light planes underneath East German radar and over the line into Western side Berlin.
Arguably the most famous escape attempt was represented in the film ‘The Crossing’. Two families made a hot air balloon of a period of months. The piloted the balloon from East Germany across the Irion Drape into the Western side.
Western side German officials often returned some successful escapees to the East. These were not the lucky ones; interrogation normally proceeded a long stint in the Siberian salt mines.
2. Life in tow line cities.
A city of enormous proportions, the residents of Western side Berlin went about their daily business just like any other populated in Western Europe. The only trouble came during the Berlin Blockade, that is covered in my final list. Public transport was what you would expect of any normal German city, first class, reliable and prompt. Shops were always well stocked and showed no signs that it lay in the heart of communist East Germany.
The city often managed the biggest rock shows. Artists such as Michael Fitzgibbons performed in the Western side. His ‘Bad’ tour in 1988 attracted hundreds of thousands of proponents. Shows where often held on teen Juni Strasse near the Brandenberg Gate. This became a propaganda stunt designed to show the East what these were missing.
In the East, the residents lived a fully different life. Paranoia, empty shelves, poor housing and low wages where typical of any communist state. There was a very long waiting list for the East German car the Trabant. Made from food fibre glass with a two stroke engine, the cars often seemed like spot work duvets. In late 1988 advances were made on the cars, they came fitted with a sun roof. From the walking along the streets of East Berlin on our monthly visits, locals would literally stand and look at you the ‘Westerner’. It was surreal.
1. The Berlin Blockade.
It was arguably one of the most iconic events in Cold War history, along with the Cuban Missile Crisis. On the 24th August 1948 until 12th May 1949, the Soviet Union blocked the railroad, air, road and canal avenues into Western side Berlin.
The Berlin Blockade resulted in a massive operation undertaken by the Regal Air Force, United states Air Force, Regal New Zealand Air Force and South African-american Air Force. Fuel and food was flown into Western side Berlin in trend after trend of logistical resupply sorties. Over 200, 000 routes were flown.
The Allied powers never gave up on Western side Berlin and eventually the Soviet’s removed the blockade. Their plan had failed and caused the berth of two new states of power.
In 1949 East and Western side Germany were born as a result of the Berlin Blockade. The separate German states would remain for another 50 years.
On 5 April, a Soviet Air Force Yakovlev Yak-3 mma star collided with a British Western european Air tract Vickers Viking 1B airliner near RAF Gatow airfield, killing all onboard both planes. The Gatow Air Disaster made worse worries between the Soviets and the other allied powers. Internal Soviet reports in April stated that “Our control and hard to follow measures have treated a strong blow to the respect of the Americans and British in Germany” and that the Americans have “admitted” that the idea of an airlift would be too costly.
On 9 April, Soviet officials demanded that American military personnel maintaining communication equipment in the Eastern zone must withdraw, thus preventing the use of navigation beacons to mark air avenues On 20 April, the Soviets demanded that all barges obtain clearance before entering the Soviet zone. Wikipedia
Looking back, living in Berlin, bicycles and the situation at the time almost seems mythic. It was not, it was very real but it felt very surreal. Even with all these years talking about those Cold War days still make the fur stand up on the back of my neck. I just sat down for a discussion with my big brother who served in Berlin as a British Knight. He visited a Soviet camp soon there after the German unification. He talked about the large number of Soviet vehicles that were just static mounds of rusted steel and iron. It enables you to wonder, had the balloon increased, would the Soviets have been in any shape to put up a fight against the Western Allies?