Berlin--Pivot of German Destiny

By Charles B. Robson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
West Berlin: City and State

HEINZ KREUTZER

THE TITLE "WEST BERLIN: CITY AND STATE" MAY BE SAID TO contain two major inaccuracies. In the first place, West Berlin itself is not a city. Looked at realistically, it is the whole of Berlin that is one city, geographically and sociologically. For centuries it existed as a single community. Before 1948 it had consistently been administered as a unit and its very nature requires this administrative unity. The implication of the title that West Berlin is one city is, therefore, only correct juridically, and only since 1948.

A second inaccuracy is implicit in the word "state" (in the sense of the German Land), that is, a large governmental complex embracing many communities. Traditionally in Germany, certain quasi-sovereign qualities are ascribed to a "state," which is endowed with legislative and administrative organs of its own. As it is used in our title, this designation has sometimes given rise to the assumption that this "half-city," West Berlin, has something of the character of an independent state, although any direct analogy to the status of Danzig from 1920 to 1939 is avoided because the concept of a "free city" has been rendered suspect by the most recent Soviet polemics. But the exact interpretation of

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