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Berlin on the BrinkThe Blockade, the Airlift, and the Early Cold War$
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Daniel Harrington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813136134

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813136134.001.0001

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(p.7) Chapter 1 Opportunity
Berlin on the Brink

Daniel F. Harrington

University Press of Kentucky

Chapter 1 describes the creation of postwar occupation zones in Germany, wartime planning for postwar access to Berlin, and access in practice, 1945-47. Cold War accounts faulted bureaucratic politics in Washington and wartime faith in Stalin’s goodwill for the failure to provide adequate access guarantees. Yet zonal planning originated not in Washington, but in London, where planners overlooked the issue. The European Advisory Commission did not correct the omission. Planners assumed access routes would support Western garrisons only, not the civilian population, and an early peace conference would replace the zones with more lasting arrangements. Once the commission agreed on a zonal protocol, those who worried about access did not push to resolve the issue, and those who approached the Russians met polite evasion. Still, access worked reasonably well until 1948. Opportunity became dangerous only when coupled with a willingness to exploit it.

Keywords:   access to Berlin, European Advisory Commission, Germany, opportunity

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