Wikimedia Commons Combat troops at the West Berlin border, August 13, 1961.


Time and time again during the past fifteen years our people have had to confront a new Berlin crisis. Thus they are well aware that we have a continuing Berlin problem. However, it is not always recognized that the critical Berlin situation which has prevailed since the end of World War II is in reality a challenge to the survival of Europe. Many of us have forgotten why and when the Berlin problem came about. For a proper understanding of it and of its relationship to our foreign policy, we must look back occasionally to find how it did develop.

In the fall of 1943 when President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill met in Quebec, the Soviet armies had stopped the German offensive and were advancing doggedly toward Central Europe. The British representatives at Quebec were already concerned as to where and when the Western Allied armies would meet the Soviet armies. They urged that an early conference be arranged with the Soviet Government to fix the lines of demarcation between these armies and to draw an agreement for the occupation of a defeated Germany. As a result, this question was placed on the agenda for the meeting of foreign ministers in Moscow in October 1943. There it was agreed that a European Advisory Commission would immediately be established in London to negotiate agreements for the future zones of occupation and for the postwar treatment of occupied Germany. This Commission was composed of the United States and Soviet ambassadors to Great Britain and a representative of the British Foreign Office, Sir William Strang.

Shortly after the Commission met in London in January 1944, the British representative submitted a proposed plan of demarcation with provision for a Berlin enclave to be carved out of the Eastern or Soviet zone, and this proposal was immediately accepted by the Soviet representative. Our government demurred somewhat as the War Department had suggested a counter- proposal which would have made Berlin the center of a pie to be carved

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