No sooner was the BAY OF PIGS fiasco over than JFK had the BERLIN CRISIS on his hands. During a meeting in Vienna, in June 1961, Khruschev told Kennedy the Soviet Union wouldn't honour the post-war agreement they'd signed with the Allies regarding the division and future re-unification of Germany. Khruschev was demanding that East Germany become a Communist nation of the Soviet Union with West Berlin no longer accessible to the Western Allies. He told JFK the Soviet Union would go to war if the Allies didn't sign over East Germany. This was a horrifically frightening prospect for the people of West Berlin located 100 miles inside East Germany. Alone among the allies, JFK was adamant in promising the people of Germany that the United States would not hand them over to Communism and would pay any price to defend their democracy and the United States' interests in Western Europe. In the face of Kennedy's commitment Khruschev never fulfilled his threat and the citizens of West Berlin still lived in freedom when JFK visited them in June 1963, five months before his assassination. ~ Jackie Jura
quoting from the book JOHNNY WE HARDLY KNEW YE
by Kenneth O'Donnell and David Powers:
"When President Kennedy stopped to look at the Brandenburg Gate, a guard handed him a bouquet of flowers that had been thrown over the Wall with a note asking that it be given to him. Later, when we stopped at Checkpoint Charlie, the American-controlled gate to East Germany, a small group of East Berliners beyond the gate waved and cheered him.
"In West Berlin he made a forty-mile tour of the city, thrilled by the sight of the biggest crowds he had ever seen anywhere. It was said that more than half of West Berlin's two and a third million people were in the streets that day, lined up four deep along his route and crowding every window and rooftop. The square outside of the City Hall, when he delivered his famous speech of challenge to the Communist world, was jammed solidly as far as he could see in every direction by a tightly crowded mass of people, chanting steadily "Ken-ah-dee! and shouting a roar of approval when he repeatedly punctuated his thrusts at compromising appeasers ... with the resounding refrain, "Let-- them-- come-- to-- Berlin!" The crowd was swept by a surge of pride and warmth, and deeply stirred as few such massive audiences in history have ever been moved, by Kennedy's opening and closing words. A German government official told us later that Adolf Hitler, at the peak of his popularity and power, had never attracted a crowd as large and as warmly emotional as the crowd that listened to Kennedy that day in Berlin.
"Kennedy's fighting speech in Berlin, as magnificent as it was, actually was a grave political risk, and he knew it. Such a heated tribute to West Berlin's resistance to Communism could have undone all of the success of his appeal for peace and understanding with the Soviets... But Kennedy could not prevent himself from saying what his heart wanted him to say. He was carried away by the courage of the West Berliners, and shocked by the sight of the Berlin Wall that he had seen that morning, and he had to tell the people how he felt about them."[end quoting]
[quoting now from Theodore Sorenson in his book KENNEDY]:
"The West Berliners gave John Kennedy the most overwhelming reception of his career...The size of the crowd, their shouts and the look of hope and gratitude in their eyes moved some in our party to tears ...It was on the platform outside that City Hall -- from where I could see only a sea of human faces chanting "Kenne-dy," "Kenne-dy" as far as my vision could reach -- that he delivered one of his most inspired and inspiring talks:
WEST BERLIN, EAST GERMANY, JUNE 26, 1963
"Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was 'Civis Romanus sum'.
Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is,
'Ich bin ein Berliner!'
There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't,
what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world.
Let them come to Berlin!
There are some who say, there are some who say that Communism is the wave of the future.
Let them come to Berlin!
And there are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists.
Let them come to Berlin!
And there are even a few who say that it's true that Communism is an evil system,
but it permits us to make economic progress.
'Lasst sie nach Berlin kommen.'
Let them come to Berlin!
Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect,
but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in,
to prevent them from leaving us.
I want to say on behalf of my countrymen, who live many miles away on the other side of the Atlantic,
who are far distant from you, that they take the greatest pride that they have been able to share with you,
even from a distance, the story of the last eighteen years.
I know of no town, no city that has been besieged for eighteen years,
that still lives with the vitality and the force and the hope and the determination of the city of West Berlin.
While the Wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system
-- for all the world to see -- we take no satisfaction in it;
for it is, as your Mayor has said, >an offense not only against history
but an offense against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives
and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be joined together.
What is true of this city is true of Germany.
Real lasting peace in Europe can never be assured as long as one German out of four
is denied the elementary right of free men and that is to make a free choice.
In eighteen years of peace and good faith this generation of Germans has earned the right to be free,
including the right to unite their families and their nation in lasting peace with goodwill to all people.
You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main.
So let me ask you as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today to the hopes of tomorrow,
beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin or your country of Germany,
to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the Wall to the day of peace with justice,
beyond yourselves and ourselves, to all mankind.
Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.
When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one
-- and this country, and this great continent of Europe --
in a peaceful and hopeful globe.
When that day finally comes, as it will,
the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact
that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.
All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin,
and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words,
'Ich bin ein Berliner.'"
"As we departed that evening to fly over East Germany to Ireland, the President was glowing from his reception. It would make all Americans recognize that their efforts and risks had been appreciated, he said. He would leave a note to his successor, "to be opened at a time of some discouragement," and in it he would write three words: "Go to Germany."
"He came into the cabin of "Air Force One" with a look of pride and pleasure that reflected more, I believe, than that day's tributes. It reflected satisfaction that he had done what had to be done, despite dangers and detractors, to keep that city free. As he sat down across from me, weary but happy, he said, "We'll never have another day like this one as long as we live."[end quoting from Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye]
watch JFK DELIVER ICH BIN EIN BERLINER SPEECH, June 26, 1963
No mercy at Berlin Wall (Stasi were ordered to 'shoot to kill'). Times, Aug 13, 2007
...The find coincides with the 46th anniversary today of the building of the Berlin Wall. East Germany’s regime decided to seal the border to halt an exodus of people to the West. On the night of August 12, soldiers and workers tore up streets, put up barriers and barbed wire around the three Western sectors and began construction of the 103-mile wall that isolated West Berlin and turned it into a symbol of the Cold War for 28 years. Farther west, the 860-mile border between East and West Germany was fortified with fences, minefields and watchtowers....There were about 5,000 successful attempts to cross to West Berlin. Border troops opened fire 1,693 times Most of the Berlin Wall became 310,000 tonnes of rubble for building roads. The UN, the CIA and the Vatican all own a piece of the wall. The official term for the wall in East Germany was the "anti-fascist protection barrier". More than 75,000 people were jailed for trying to leave the GDR
Wealthy Russians heading west (ex-Soviet leader Gorbachev in luxury ad in limousine along Berlin Wall). Herald Tribune, Aug 10, 2007
STASILAND: TRUE STORIES FROM BEHIND THE BERLIN WALL
STASILAND: BOOK REVIEW
STASI GERMANY ROOM 101
LSD project at CIA uncovered (administered LSD & electric shock to unwitting human subjects). Washington Post, Jun 22, 2005 & LSD A CIA PROJECT. National Post, Jun 22, 2005
JFK FASCINATES BERLINERS (cherished as charismatic leader who stood up to Soviet Union). Reuters, Jun 25, 2004
NOT JUST GERMANY GUILTY (but reader wants German apology). Mar 17, 2004. Go to 12.Minipax & 35.Brotherhood & 17.Falsification of Past
Israel's Separation Barrier fencing in Palestinians (taller and longer than Berlin Wall). Electronic Intifada, Aug 1, 2003
BRANDENBURG GATE TO ZIPPERGATE (from JFK to Clinton)
THE STORY OF THE BERLIN WALL
THE STORY OF BERLIN
JFK TRUTH & UNTRUTH
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~