Wednesday, 27 February 2013

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall"

"On May 18, 1987, President Reagan met with his speechwriters and responded to the speech by saying, "I thought it was a good, solid draft."

White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker objected, saying it sounded "extreme" and "unpresidential," and Deputy US National Security Advisor Colin Powell agreed.

Reagan then made his speech at the BrandenburgGate, in front of two panes of bulletproof glass protecting him from potential snipers in East Berlin.

What, you mean by violating the UN Charter?

Why would you encourage the violation of East German sovereignty by destroying property and attacking their borders?

It's not a Russian wall, it's a German wall - they put it up, it was their idea, it's their property, their borders, their national security and their country.

In what way is it down to the Soviet Premier to unilaterally move to carry out an act of destruction inside a completely different sovereign nation?

That's an act of war!

Talk to the Germans.

In November 1958, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev issued an ultimatum giving the Western powers six months to agree to withdraw from Berlin and make it a free, demilitarized city.

At the end of that period, Khrushchev declared, the Soviet Union would turn over to East Germany complete control of all lines of communication with West Berlin; the western powers then would have access to West Berlin only by permission of the East German government.

The United States, United Kingdom, and France replied to this ultimatum by firmly asserting their determination to remain in West Berlin and to maintain their legal right of free access to that city.

In May 1959 the Soviet Union withdrew its deadline and instead met with the Western powers in a Big Four foreign ministers' conference.

Although the three-month-long sessions failed to reach any important agreements, they did open the door to further negotiations and led to Premier Khrushchev's visit to the United States in September 1959.

At the end of this visit, Khrushchev and President Dwight Eisenhower stated jointly that the most important issue in the world was general disarmament and that the problem of Berlin and "all outstanding international questions should be settled, not by the application of force, but by peaceful means through negotiations."

Khrushchev and Eisenhower had a few days together at Camp David, the presidential retreat.

There the leaders of the two superpowers talked frankly with each other. "There was nothing more inadvisable in this situation," said Eisenhower, "than to talk about ultimatums, since both sides knew very well what would happen if an ultimatum were to be implemented."

Khrushchev responded that he did not understand how a peace treaty could be regarded by the American people as a "threat to peace."

Eisenhower admitted that the situation in Berlin was "abnormal" and that "human affairs got very badly tangled at times."

Khrushchev came away with the impression that a deal was possible over Berlin, and they agreed to continue the dialogue at a summit in Paris in May 1960. However, the Paris Summit that was to resolve the Berlin question was cancelled in the fallout from Gary Powers's failed U-2 spy flight on 1 May 1960."

"US and UK sources had expected the Soviet sector to be sealed off from West Berlin, but were surprised by how long the East Germans took for such a move. They considered the wall as an end to concerns about a GDR/Soviet retaking or capture of the whole of Berlin; the wall would presumably have been an unnecessary project if such plans were afloat. Thus they concluded that the possibility of a Soviet military conflict over Berlin decreased.

The East German government claimed that the Wall was an "anti-fascist protective rampart" (German: "antifaschistischer Schutzwall") intended to dissuade aggression from the West.

(Their fears about the failure of denazification were entirely justified)

Another official justification was the activities of western agents in Eastern Europe.

(That would be the Gehlen Organisation and the Boorman Group)

The Eastern German government also claimed that West Berliners were buying out state-subsidized goods in East Berlin.

(Ecconomic warfare is the Capitalist way)

In some European capitals at the time there was a deep anxiety over prospects for a reunified Germany. In September 1989, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pleaded with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev not to let the Berlin Wall fall and confided that she wanted the Soviet leader to do what he could to stop it.

"We do not want a united Germany. This would lead to a change to postwar borders and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security", Thatcher told Gorbachev.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, French President François Mitterrand warned Thatcher that a unified Germany could make more ground than Adolf Hitler ever had and that Europe would have to bear the consequences."

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