By Frederick Kempe
In June 1961, Nikita Khrushchev known as Berlin "the most deadly position on earth." He knew what he used to be speaking approximately.
a lot has been written concerning the Cuban Missile difficulty a yr later, however the Berlin concern of 1961 was once extra decisive in shaping the chilly War-and extra perilous. It was once in that scorching summer season that the Berlin Wall was once developed, which might divide the area for one more twenty-eight years. Then months later, and for the 1st time in historical past, American and Soviet battling males and tanks stood arrayed opposed to one another, basically yards aside. One mistake, one apprehensive soldier, one overzealous commander-and the tripwire will be sprung for a warfare that can cross nuclear in a heartbeat.
On one part used to be a tender, untested U.S. president nonetheless reeling from the Bay of Pigs catastrophe and a humiliating summit assembly that left him greedy for methods to reply. it'll upload as much as be one of many worst first-year overseas coverage performances of any smooth president. at the different aspect, a Soviet most suitable hemmed in through the chinese language, East Germans, and hardliners in his personal executive. With an all-important social gathering Congress drawing close, he knew Berlin intended the variation not just for the Kremlin's carry on its empire-but for his personal carry at the Kremlin.
Neither guy rather understood the opposite, either attempted cynically to govern occasions. And so, week via week, they crept towards the threshold.
Based on a wealth of recent files and interviews, packed with fresh-sometimes startling-insights, written with immediacy and drama, Berlin 1961 is a rare examine key occasions of the 20th century, with robust purposes to those early years of the twenty-first.
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Extra resources for Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth
Korol is teaching them how to use a hand grenade. He thinks they’ll become partisans under German occupation, while I sense from their conversation that they are ready to work for the Germans. One of them, who wants to be an agronomist for this area, looks at Korol as if he were an imbecile. Face and soul of the people. In three days we went through Belorussia, Ukraine, and arrived in the Orel area. Hard times reveal the best side of people. They are kind and noble. There are similar traits in the three nations, and also some deeply different aspects.
Wife’s name, I remember. ’ ‘I remember his name, too. ’ He reflects for a while and adds: ‘Dmitrievich. ’ ‘I’d like to have a shave,’ he continues. ’ He strokes his beard with his hand. He picks at grass, earth and chips of wood, in quick, frenzied movements, as if doing some work that will save him. When he looks at the soldiers and their rifles, there’s an animal fear in his eyes. ’ The guard, a Red Army soldier, then shouts at him, too: ‘You’ve disgraced your son! ’ the traitor says, addressing both the colonel and the sentry as if they might sympathise with him in his trouble.
Stalin in the Kremlin also refused to face the reality of the threat. Guderian’s panzers, striking south from Gomel, could cut off the Ukrainian capital Kiev from the north, but by the time the Soviet leader recognised the danger, it was too late. This was to be the biggest single military defeat in Soviet history. In the ‘Kiev concentration’, the Red Army lost more than half a million men captured and killed. Grossman and his companions only just escaped the trap as the 3rd, 4th and 17th Panzer Divisions drove south from Gomel into eastern Ukraine.