(Ernst Reuter - first Mayor of Postwar Berlin - no easy gig)
With the 20th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Wall coming up, I've been running through some events involving Germany, and most notably Berlin, during the height of the Cold War.
Ernst Reuter had the somewhat herculean task of being the first Lord Mayor of postwar Berlin. In 1948 he was faced with the blockade of Berlin by the Soviet Army which effectively cut off all supplies of food and fuel to the city. Reuter appealed to the West for help and it began the famous Berlin Airlift, which singlehandedly saved the city from starvation.
On March 30, 1949, Reuter visited the U.S. and was invited to participate in a segment of Meet The Press where the subject of Berlin and the Cold War in general were discussed.
May Craig: “Mister Mayor I’m thinking of it in the larger sense, as long as the Communists hold the basic doctrine of world revolution how can there be peace unless everybody else submits?”
Ernst Reuter: “ As long as Western powers and the free world is not insisting on the liberation and not fulfilling the task to liberate these peoples who want to be free, that will be very difficult. But in the long run the Soviets cannot stay against the greater moral strengths of the western peoples, that is impossible. I don’t know, maybe after twenty, thirty years we will have a war, I don’t know. But for the time being I can see the possibility to come to a solution, at least for the time being without a war.”
Reuter, who died in 1953 never got to see the fruits of his labor, but he was a very integral part of the Big Picture.