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Documents on Germany, 1944-1959 : background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956

Report by President Eisenhower to the American people, on security in the free world, March 16, 1959,   pp. 405-409 PDF (2.2 MB)

Page 405

vital interest to the working class and the entire German people.
There is now no more important question than the safeguarding of
peace, the creation of conditions which would exclude the start of a
new war. Not only the German working class, the German people,
are interested in this, but all people in the world. In present condi-
tions a sober understanding of the existing situation is expected from
the German Social Democrats, and if they do not show this under-
standing, if they do not do everything for the welfare of the people
and for peace, history will never forgive them.
Our generation has been set the great historic task of leading man-
kind out of the sinister cul-de-sac of bloody wars into which im-
perialism has led it. The bright perspective of peaceful life is open-
ing up before mankind, but it would be dangerous to underestimate
the threat to peace. The people must be very vigilant concerning
the machinations of the aggressive imperialist forces. One does not
wait for peace. Peace is defended by struggle Only steadfast
struggle against the war danger can safeguard peace in the world.
Long live the GDR, the bulwark of peace and democracy in
Germany! Long live the friendship between the German people and
the people of the USSR! Long live peace throughout the world!
Friendship, friendship, friendship!'
Report by President Eisenhower to the American People, on
Security in the Free World, March 16,1959 2
My Fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk with you about two
One is about a city that lies four thousand miles away.
It is W\Test Berlin. In a turbulent world it has been, for a decade,
a symbol of freedom. But recently its name has come to symbolize,
also the efforts of Imperialistic Communism to divide the free world,
to throw us off balance and to weaken our will for making certain
of our collective security.
Next I shall talk to you about the state of our nation's posture of
defense and the free world's capacity to meet the challenges that the
Soviets incessantly pose to peace and to our own security.
First, West Berlin.
You have heard much about this city recently, and possibly won-
dered why American troops are in it at all.
How did we get there in the first place? What responsibilities do
we have in connection with it and how did we acquire them?
Why has there developed a situation surrounding this city that
poses another of the recurring threats to peace that bear the stamp of
Soviet manufacture?
Let's begin with a brief review of recent history.
We first acquired rights and responsibilities in West Berlin as a
result of World War II. Even before the war ended, when the defeat
and capitulation of Nazi Germany were in sight, the Allied Powers,
including the Soviet Union, signed agreements defining the areas of
occupation in Germany and Berlin which they would assume.
'Khrushchev said the last three words in German.
2 Delivered over radio and television. White House news release, March 16,

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