tv Reel America NATO Background to Berlin - 1962 CSPAN August 14, 2018 11:39pm-12:11am EDT
cargo planes dropped supplies into the isolated powers of the city until may 1949. next on real america, in 1962 phil document the city of berlin from the end of world war ii to the construction of the berlin wall in 1961. produced by the nato information service. this 30 minute film details the berlin airlift in the creation of the north atlantic treaty organization now called nato to defend against the soviet aggression. >> the building of roles, the erection of barb wire's, these cannot provide people. never create a prison for the human spirit.
1945, this was berlin. a city. the flags of the victors in man who took up arms in defense to destroy. around them a defeated nation. their armies had met in the middle of germany. until such time germany could reshape her own destiny she would be divided into separate zones. is controlled by an allied power , american, british, russian. economically she retreated as a whole. the victors had agreed when they met to decide the future of germany.
a world war had to trust one another or begin another war. for berlin it was in each part of the sector. but a city open to all the powers until berlin could assume her role as the capital of a new german state. berlin late hundred miles deep in the soviet occupation said but was not part of it. access to the city was agreed over certain roads, railways and three air corridors. makeshift perhaps but then it was never meant to be permanent work in berlin they set up the headquarters of an allied commander where day by day officers of the four occupying powers would work right joined agreement as to what was to be done and how. frankly, what was to be done and starting again from scratch.
amid the ruins and deprivation slowly a start was made. start on the physical reconstruction but the political rebirth of the city. it would appear the soviets agreed to join up you can patient only because they believed in the first elections berlin would vote communist. it was with confidence they watch the democratic of free balance. it was far from negligible the results came as a shock. instead of a landslide for the extreme left there was a victory for the social democrats and other non- communist. in june, 1947 the town assembly elected the mayor. this proved
to be a victory. the frustrated soviets vetoed his election. it was a step ominous and for body. until that city -- moment the city had been divided in name only. they set up a communist system in their own section and established decided barriers between it and those recent allies. these were the years in which the expression iron curtain became a reality. along the lines of the baltic -- barb wire, suspicion and destruction. over the frontier parts there was a steady stream of refugees east to west.
soon became clear that most of them were moving westward because they could not tolerate life in the east. again in on him -- ominous site. in the eastern sector of berlin communist park was established. by organizing police and military units the soviets were illegally rearming. in the world council of the united nations the war was establishing a lasting peace. these are the days of stalin extension and filled by the refusal to our cooperate except on their own terms the affiliate technically those delegates sabotage any -- west berlin introduce monetary reform without which monetary
recovery could have been impossible. new for old. the currency was revalued. for the russians their disagreement gave them the excuse for action. was berlin they could not touch but they could and did interfere with the lifelines on which west berlin depended. the roads, railroads, canals, these were west berlin's vital utterance. stop the trains. close the roads. bar the canals and cut the power. west berlin was 100 miles deep into the soviet zone of germany. this was to be the way to force the western allies to quit berlin. thus 2 million people were isolated. to be faced with the prospect of hunger, cold, unemployment and misery.
no wait in, no way out. the only element still open, the air above. it started as a trickle as a temporary measure. plane after airplane, destinations the airfields of west berlin. the vital necessities, food, raw materials, even coal brought in by air until the united states, great britain and france were embarked upon the biggest transport operation history has ever seen. around-the-clock plane after plane even flying boats to set down on west berlin's lakes.
and the beleaguered city power shortage force transport skeletons and there was a food shortage. rather short measure then surrender. as each night fell the roar of air engines increase. dependence on power from the eastern sector, west berlin was plunged each night into a blackout. while west berliners felt their way through the gloom still the air lift continued through the hours of darkness. when west berliners rose each don it was again to the roar of plains. because of those planes there was bread in the shops. this was to be the pattern for many hard ahead. it was to be expected that the soviets would not take the air
left without some reaction. across the eastern boundary the communist stage demonstrations against what they called this western interference with berlin affairs. these led to riots that force the not to miss counselors to abandon that berlin town hall which lay in the eastern sector. in the western sector's unity against the blockade was overwhelming. symbolized by the leadership. any joined administration of berlin as a whole had already ceased to exist. emphasized by the abandonment by the russians of the allied commander. city government for greater berlin was impossible since the western counselors have been driven from the east so that non-communist moved into new quarters in the west and their meetings empty chair stood
witness to the fact that the east berliners were denied the right to choose their representatives freely. for the west the berlin blockade came as the last straw. soviet behavior demonstrated no one was safe. after much negotiations, 12 nations came together to form an alliance for collective defense. it's name? the north atlantic treaty organization. or as it came to be known, nato. together in washington in april 1940 night they put the seal on their union. they were resolved as they put it to unite their efforts for collective defense and the preservation of peace and security. it was to be the end of leaning over backwards in the face of consistent soviet expansion. for west berlin it had been a tough winter. on the airfields fog, mist and freezing cold. yet in spite of the conditions the air lift carried on.
in spite of the conditions, and the --. by means of the airlift west berlin had been kept alive. all of the sufferings of war in the mist of peace. there could be no turning back now. if the russians thought the city could not be supplied indefinitely by air they would be proved very wrong for the airlift or possible reinforcements. more planes, improved runways, greater facilities. and so what had begun as makeshift became routine.
food and supplies, month-end, month out. soon it became clear that the west had not only won a victory against logistics but also a model victory which drew the admiration of the world. thanks to the crews of the airlift. victory through determination to defend the right. meanwhile a series of signatures on a piece of paper slowly turned into practical steps toward military cooperation and collective rear meant within nato. the growth of unity in the west was such the russians were still breathing threats and realized their pressure was inducing the very opposite of that disunity on which they counted.
for the free world and historic night. the road leading to west berlin the bears were pushed aside for the first time in nine months. cars and trucks streamed forward so the railroad boards headed out once again for berlin. if the russians believe the lifting of the blockade would cause the west to lower its guard, they were mistaken. nato had been born in until the east displayed a vastly different spirit nato was to stay. no stopping now. as yet forces were still week. as soon as possible he must be built up as strong, defensive shields. what now berlin? the berliners having one the western help the battle of the blockade now began the process
of placing west berlin on a basis of economic prosperity. a city still and island linked by the world by the arteries whose existence had been so hardly won. but now through them west berlin was to draw strength to make itself no longer just a fragment of the city but a unity within itself. still across berlin as a whole, there was much traffic over the borders. on the overhead and underground railway berliners came and went. the sector boundaries still loomed up but they did not prevent passage across the city. at the eastern sector border the trams through continuing on nonetheless were forced to change both drivers and conductors.
while at this border, anyone passing headfirst to change his money for the east did not accept western marks and vice a versa. on the very border itself watched by the police on both sides still a steady movement both ways. why not? when all work berliners? a steady stream of refugees to the west. a steady stream unceasing since the end of world war ii but growing day by day as life became more intolerable under a communist regime. the island of west berlin became the staging point for the free road to the west. to all but the most prejudice it was obvious all was far from perfect. on the 17th of june 1953 came
proof. on that day a purpose march of east berlin workers turned into a rebellion against the communist regime. that richie was helpless until in desperation they called in the red army. and so because stones encourage against tanks are not enough the revolt died. after the june uprising the movement of refugees could no longer be termed as stream. and had become a flood.
throughout the western sectors of berlin the humming factors were evidence of their rising prosperity. soon indeed west berlin was to become against the most powerful production center in all germany. with the confidence, there had been sorrow. crowds past to pay homage to the man who saved their city. ernest reuter was dead but his work was showing great results. meanwhile, in the years of uneasy truce the soviet union has systematically turned her zone into a purely communist regime and blocked every attempt to treat germany as a whole. the three western powers had no alternative but to move forward with the economic unification of their zones. this was followed by political unification. independence was not long in coming and there was born a new
sovereign state, the federal republic of germany. the status of berlin did not change. remain the responsibility of the four occupying powers and the garrisons stayed. the guarantee of security for western germany dependent on the overall strength of the atlantic alliance. the chancellor and the federal parliament agreed they should join nato so bringing the organization strength up to 15 nations. by now strength was no misnomer. though the prices was far from over nato's process was such to make any aggressor think carefully. now the west could negotiate from a position of strength and comfort. at the geneva summit the soviet paid lip service to the principle of germany were -- unification but blocked any practical purpose. in those negotiations all the
top could not break down the iron curtain. for west berlin it was still go ahead. to the traveler flying in, the city displayed a brave new face. first on arrival he would see the memorial to the airlift, a sign west berlin remembers those who won its survival. after that a new skyline risen from the rubble. if west berlin had a communist alleged little hope for the future. in west berlin a new look. in east berlin, from beyond the plat still thousands arriving. still a flood to lift off the island to fight new homes in
the west. in the face of continued soviet obstruction the 15 nato nations saw to clear the soviets mind as how the allied stood on the question of berlin. already in 1954 the three powers responsible for berlin had made it clear beyond doubt that any attack against berlin from any quarter would be treated as an attack on their forces and on themselves. the other members of nato associated themselves with this declaration. all proposals made by the soviets toward solving the question of the reunification of germany and plied the principle of self-determination by means of free elections. the west was in is firmly committed. until such time as the soviets change their minds, the nato nations will stand firm in face all soviet pressure and honor their pledge to maintain the freedom of west berlin and its people. a pledge repeated at nato