The Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962Book - 1971
An account of one of the most important and revealing events in the cold war.
"When I go to sleep at night I try not to think about Berlin," said Dean Rusk; and in this first comprehensive reconstruction of that crucial period, Jack M. Schick demonstrates that Rusk's nightmare did not end for decades. He traces the East-West pattern of impatient negotiation followed by military posturing and pressuring. He sheds new light on Dulles' intellectualized diplomacy, Kennedy's cautiously balanced Berlin strategy, and Ulbricht's urgent gamble on the Berlin Wall. Against a detailed back ground of diplomatic verbiage and tension-ridden events he points up the blind convictions and dangerous misunderstandings on both sides that inevitably led to each incident in the continual crisis—and ultimately brought us to the impasse that remained "frozen in splendid ambiguity" for decades.
Berlin's fragile armistice could have been shattered by the merest trifle. And the pattern of the early 1960s repeated itself, with East and West squaring off for new rounds of negotiation-posturing-pressure. The frightening lessons of the past, as Schick presents them, became vital warnings of the present, to a time when our ultimate survival could have depended upon our ability to heed these warnings.