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Berlin in Detente-era Berlin Brigade Booklets: and the Story of Berlin Brigade

ISBN: 9781511972390
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 2015-05-06
Number of pages: 324
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This non-fiction book is a by-product of the research for a "Then-and-Now" novel about Berlin: Reunification: A Monterey Mary Returns to Berlin. The novel is a comparison of Berlin in the 1970s with Berlin in the 2010s, spiced up with the stories of escapades that only those at Field Station Berlin could have pulled off.

The booklets and articles reproduced in this volume define the "Then" of Reunification. They cover the period from 1967 to 1975, spanning the tenth anniversary of the Berlin Wall (1971), my tour of duty with Field Station Berlin, and the beginnings of the short-lived Detente in relations with the Soviet Union. Detente ended after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, which led to the United States boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, but that is another story.

The decision to reproduce these booklets and articles was based on a number of considerations. Army in Europe magazine, which provided the two articles that open this volume, is only sparsely held in libraries in the United States. WorldCat (the on-line catalogue of a consortium of libraries, headed by the Library of Congress) only shows four. The Story of Berlin Brigade: U.S. Army, Berlin Pamphlet 870-2 is only held in two. Furthermore, the editions that they hold are from 1980 and 1981, making the 1977 edition reproduced here "unique," a word that was constantly used during my tour in Berlin to describe our situation there. The 1970s editions of Berlin Brigade AG Special Services Presents Berlin are not held in any library, nor are the ACS How to Stay Busy in Berlin, and the U.S. Commander, Berlin's Welcome to Berlin. Reprinting makes them all available for research libraries to add to their collections.

The second consideration is that--when presented in a single volume--the material collected here has a historical value that is greater than the sum of the individual pieces in isolation. The booklets represent three different perspectives of Berlin: practical, rhetorical, and pragmatic.

Welcome to Berlin: Compliments of the U.S. Commander, Berlin is practical. It presents factual data on Berlin, ranging from Command organizational charts to the biographies of the key players in the Command. Since Berlin Command interacts heavily with the local civilian government, there is an organizational chart for that as well. The booklet also contains a brief history of Berlin, and an overview of the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin.

The "Special Report," in the September 1967 issue of Army in Europe entitled "East Germany: A Look Through the Wall" is rhetorical. It establishes a rather chilly baseline for the temperature of rhetoric of the Cold War:

Berlin Brigade Special Services Presents Berlin and How to Stay Busy in Berlin are pragmatic. They present a guide of how to get on with life in Walled Berlin, ranging from the history of Berlin to where to go shopping and sightseeing. This is the point of view of the Americans who actually lived in Berlin, sharing the fate of those whom it was their impossible duty to defend, because—as the CIA Berlin Handbook (1961) says—"the Soviets and East Germans could seize West Berlin at any time."

Making it easy to compare these perspectives in a single volume is one of the "values added" by reprinting these booklets and articles. Another is that they create a sense of living history. The differences between the various discussions of Berlin allow the reader to see how things changed in Berlin from one point in time to another. This is one of the things that make it appealing for those interested in the history of Berlin to read these Detente-era texts one after the other. There is an index to make a comparison of their points of view easier. No attempt has been made to re-edit the texts. Only blatant typographical errors have been corrected.

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