Berlin, the Cold War Years – Part 5.
At the end of World War 2, what remained of pre-war Germany was divided into four zones of occupation. Each of the Allied powers; the United Kingdom, United States, France and Russia, controlled one of them.
The capital of Germany, Berlin, was also divided into four Sectors. The consequence being, that the three Western Allied powers now controlled territory deep within the Soviet Union Zone of Germany.
Over time, the tensions between the four Allied powers increased, eventually resulting in the Berlin blockade in 1948, when the Soviets attempted to starve West Berlin into submission and force the other three Allied powers out. This failed and the Soviets eventually relented, but an ever-increasing number of East Germans fled to the West; between 150,000 and 300,000 a year during 1951-1953. As a consequence restrictions were placed on movement between the divided country. From 1961, the border was closed and Berlin completely encircled, first by barbed wire, then bricks and finally a concrete wall, along with the infamous ‘death strip’.
Access was now restricted between Berlin and the West. A wall, 124 mile miles in length, was placed around the three sectors of West Berlin, cutting off the city from the rest of the world.
An Iconic picture of the face-off between the West and the East. The Cold War starts – October 1961
Another iconic picture of a GDR Border Guard fleeing across the barbed wire to the West -Berlin 1961
With these controls in place, special routes were established for the three Allied Powers, Great Britain, the United Staes and France, to move from West Berlin to the Federal Republic of Germany, West Germany. Three autobahn routes, one for each sector and three rail routes.
On the Autobahn route special parking zones were allocated for the three Allied powers. This is a sign on the West Berlin to Helmstedt route. Civilians from the GDR were not allowed to use these allocated parking zones. – GDR 1982
The British Military Train ran every day, except Christmas Day. - West Berlin 1984
And for the Stamp Collectors amongst you, a Commemorative Cover. First day issue. Not for sale.
There were also air corridors the Allies could use to fly from West Berlin to West Germany. Hip F. East Berlin 1984
Control to and from West Berlin was controlled by the Berlin Air Safety Centre, consisting of representatives from the four Allied Powers. I was told that the Soviets were unhappy about their flag being last. So, the names were placed in a hat and guess what? True story or not, I don’t know.
Berlin Air Safety Centre Icon – West Berlin 1984
I covered the Reichstag in Part 4. But, I have some photos i would like to share with you.
This turret on the Reichstag is the well known spot where the Soviet Flag was planted on taking Berlin in 1945. Berlin - February 2012
The raising of the flag over the Reichstag – Berlin, May 1945
I found the design of the new dome in the Reichstag fascinating, so I have added a couple of more photos.
Inside the Reichstag Dome, Berlin – February 2012
Looking down from higher up in the Dome itself. Reichstag – Berlin, February 2012
The badly damaged Reichstag. Berlin 1945
The Reichstag, showing the Berlin Wall in situ behind it. – West Berlin 1981.
Bullet strikes still visible, Museum Island – Berlin February 2012
Another visit to the Treptow Russian Memorial in Berlin. February 2012
The main entrance to Treptow Park Soviet Memorial – Berlin 2012
Treptow Park, The Soviet Navy wasn’t forgotten. Berlin 2012
One of the many representations of the Soviet Army during WW2 at the Treptow Park Memorial – Berlin 2012
Outside the entrance to the Tiergarten Soviet Memorial. Berlin 2012
The Tiergarten Soviet Memorial – Berlin 2012
Tiergarten Soviet Memorial. They were as interested in us as we were in them. The one on the right with the fancy leg kick, I think is a full Colonel or above. West Berlin 1983
T-34 outside the Karlshorst Museum Berlin – 2012
Karlshorst Museum. Where we used to meet with our Soviet friend….. Berlin 2012
In a previous Post, you saw a picture of my shadow. This was his replacement. KGB, GRU or Spetsnaz? He was far more subtle though. East Berlin 1985
One advantage of being in Army Intelligence, was you got to go to Berchtesgaden every year to the annual conference where we shared intelligence, and vice versa, with the US – Germany 1986.
There were lots of special events and this was one of them. Cocktail dresses and Gin and Tonic. Except I didn’t wear the dress. West Berlin 1982
The Queens Birthday and other events were celebrated with style.
The Berlin Tatto was an amzing event. The parade in front of the Deutschlandhalle prior to the final dress rehearsal. West Berlin 1983.
The Fernsehturm in Berlin – February 2012
The Fernsehturm in Berlin – February 2012
The Fernsehturm. Sitting in the revolving restaurant seeing the full 360 degree view of Berlin was amazing. When the sun shone on the tower it reflected as a cross and was known as ‘The Popes Revenge’. - East Berlin 1983
The one on the far right is Moby Dick – West Berlin 1982
A quick break from Berlin. I did three tours in Northern Ireland, but don’t propose to do a Post for it separately. It’s too close to home…. But I will share a few photos with you.
I currently have a book, my watch and my iPad next to my bed. Then, I had a 9mm Browning. You would take the rounds out so as to take the pressure off the magazine springs. Oh, and I liked Ultravox. – Belfast 1980′s
Murals of this type were very common. - Belfast 1980′s
Targeting an Army Pig (Humber) – Belfast 1980′s
I used to play Cowboys and Indians as a child. Belfast 1980′s
Those were very scary times. Belfast 1980′s
Now back to work….
Well, at least once we’ve dug our vehicle out…. East Berlin, 1983
Then time for a rest. We often slept out, Sometimes we took sleeping bags as we couldn’t run the engines as we needed to preserve our fuel. Our favourite drink was a flask of black coffee with a good dose of Grand Marnier. – East Berlin 1982
Back to work. 2S1 Self Propelled Artillery (122mm) – East Berlin, 1984
Until interrupted. East Berlin, East Berlin 1983.
ACRV’s, Armoured Command and Reconnaissance Vehicle – East Berlin 1984
Ural 375 – East Berlin 1984
Rm-70 Rocket Launcher (122mm) – East Berlin 1984.
One key event that occurred every year, was the military parade to celebrate the formation of the GDR. This was naturally a key concern for the western allies. A country we didn’t officially recognise, holding a military parade on our doorstep. It was also an opportunity to disguise the movement of troops for a potential attack.
SA-3 Resupply on a Ural 375 chassis. – East Berlin – 1984
ZSU 23-4 (Anti-Aircraft) – East Berlin 1984
2S3 (152mm Self propelled artillery) – East Berlin – 1984
2S3. East Berlin 1984
SA-6 resupply. East Berlin 1984
2S3 (122mm self propelled artillery) – East Berlin 1984
Parade ready to start, SA-4 resupply on Ural 375 transporter. East Berlin 1984
BMP – 1 with Sagger missile East Berlin 1984.
FROG 7, resupply. Range of 68km. Can carry a Nuclear (200- 450kt warhead), HE, Chemical and submunitions. – East Berlin 1984
The closer we could get to the equipment the better. It gave our analysts an inclination of any changes to equipment. We were constantly designing new equipment and defence measures that cost billions of pounds. In order for us to make the right decisions we needed to know what we were up against. We would always use black and white film, in stereo if possible, and not the colour ones you see now. Catching tanks, etc, stationery and unmanned, on exercise, or on flat cars in rail sidings gave us the best opportunities but held the greater risk. The guards were always armed.
T-12 Anti-Tank Gun. East berlin 1984
Silk Worm. Surface to Ship TEL. East berlin 1984
BMP -2. – East berlin 1984
BMP – 2. – East berlin 1984
I will finish off with a bit of fun. I can’t remember where this was in Berlin, but i think it was the ‘sex Museum’.
Berlin Sex Museum. -Berlin 2012
Berlin Sex Museum. Berlin 2012
My intention is not to portray a particular message, but just share some of my photographs and experiences with you. This is the last of my Berlin, The Cold War series. But, there will be a new ‘Cold War’ series, supporting the writing of my new ‘Cold War’ series of novels, covering the hypothetical invasion of West germany by the Warsaw Pact in the 80′s. ‘The Red Effect’. so keep your eyes peeled.
Photographs are copyrighted to Harvey Black