Berlin--Pivot of German Destiny

By Charles B. Robson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
The Splitting of Berlin in 1948

HANS HERZFELD

THE SIGNIFICANT ASPECTS OF THE HISTORY OF BERLIN SINCE 1945 are inextricably interwoven with the general history of the period after World War II—with developments in Germany, in Europe, and in the world at large. Berlin became the capital of the Bismarckian empire late in the nineteenth century, without the benefit of a long historical tradition. Even in Germany itself, Berlin's new role did not go unquestioned. In periods of great catastrophy, in 1918 and again in 1945, Berlin, the capital, came to be the object of vehement controversy within its own nation. Nevertheless, in the decade after 1945, this "interned capital" became so quickly and so decisively the crux of the great questions of Germany's fate that few capital cities of modern history have emerged so starkly as the symbol of a nation's assertion of its right to exist.


I

Months before the beginning of the blockade in June, 1948, General Lucius D. Clay, the American Military Governor in Germany, had formulated in classic terms the grounds which made it impossible for the West to surrender its already bit

-47-

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