Comments on: Kennedy’s showdown at Checkpoint Charlie Kennedy, Khrushchev and the most dangerous place on Earth Wed, 31 Oct 2012 08:23:24 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kirk3 Thu, 04 Oct 2012 12:53:17 +0000 Ironic coming upon this book review a year+ late.
There was no intel on what East German tank movenments in the Eastern part of the city in ’61. My dad matched them move for move by having one of his German speaking soldiers listen and translate the East German radio broadcast. They ended up barrel to barrel across Checkpoint Charlie. Mom still has the picture.
No Reforger back then for families! We kids were too small to know what was happening anyway.
Too bad he didn’t make it in the book. Passed this year.

By: jirib Sat, 18 Jun 2011 19:57:13 +0000 We should not underestimate the role of the NATO strategic missiles placed in Turkey and Italy (around 1960) which preceded Berlin and Cuban crisis. Both were partly the matter of “hot heads” in the military and overall armament spiral.

By: IntoTheTardis Sat, 18 Jun 2011 13:30:12 +0000 My father was a sergeant in the Berlin Brigade stationed at McNair Barracks from 1963 to 1966. It was an accompanied tour, so he was allowed to bring his family over. We lived in a very nice third floor apartment (much nicer than military quarters stateside) on Flanagan Srasse in Dahlem.

I was only 12 at the time and the whole experience was nothing but pure adventure for me. All the kids knew the situation — we were surrounded by the Russians and if it came to a fight it would be over very quickly. We referred to Berlin as our Alamo. Berlin at that time still bore the visible scars of WW2, walls pock-marked with machine gun bullets, bomb craters in the woods, gutted buildings waiting to be demolished, men and women with terrible war wounds. And there was the disparity between the sexes. Even a boy like myself noticed it. There were so many more women than men. WW2 was no longer some distant event fought far from the USA.

But it never came to war and I have nothing but fond memories of my stay in Berlin. It was the beginning of my passion for European travel. The Berliners at that time loved us Americans and couldn’t do enough for us. The fact that the U.S. soldiers had brought over their families to such a potentially dangerous spot was not lost on anyone. It sent a clear message to both the Soviets and the locals that we were there to stay. If fighting did start, then American wives and children would be in harm’s way, and everyone knew it would be a fight to the finish.

In retrospect I marvel at the fact that we were allowed to live in Berlin during those tense years.

By: phanthanhgian Sat, 18 Jun 2011 13:08:19 +0000 In the end the Soviets and its communist block has won a few battles, experienced stalemate in other battles but lost the war… it shows how long-term strategies using diplomacy, economic pressure, cultural propaganda, etc matter more than just military tactics.

By: Neurochuck Sat, 18 Jun 2011 10:31:23 +0000 Just from my casual readings of history and prejudices, it seems that the Russians played the situation like chess players – measured pressure and options in the overall balance of forces.
But an east asian nation such as China or Japan would bang the gongs on a much bigger display, without necessarily commitment to go further.
In the middle east, more of a tradition to send out the champions. The 10 tanks each would blast the crap out of each other, and then all would retire to discuss the results and do some bragging.