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Information bulletin
No. 131 (March 23, 1948)

Cities of the US zone (first of two parts),   pp. 16-20 PDF (3.2 MB)


Page [19]


and strange justice of the kind history
seldom supplies, Hitler's war ended
exactly where it began: in his own
official residence and office, the
Reichs-Chancellory. Buildings which
had not been destroyed in air attacks
were brought down by artillery fire
in this last stand.
Although its suburbs were pleasant,
Berlin is an unusual metropolis in that
almost all its more notable attractions
are grouped in the heart of the city,
within a few square miles around the
Brandenburg Gate. The mile-long, tree-
lined Unter den Linden (Under the
Lime Trees) leads east from the gate
through what used to be a fashionable
district of shops and office buildings;
Charlottenburg Street, which Hitler
widened for his exhibitions of unbeat-
able military might, leads west
through the once-famous Tiergarten
and rows of massive public buildings.
It is here that the damage to Berlin
is most striking.
At one corner of the gate the former
American Embassy building stands in
ruins; at the other stands the Reichs-
tag, once the meeting place of the Ger-
man parliament until it was practically
wrecked by fire in 1933. The Tier-
garten is barren, its trees having been
cut down for firewood, its area con-
verted into small gardens. Through
the Garten runs Wilhelm II's Sieges-
allee (Victory Promenade), lined with
several scores of ghostlike statues of
German emperors, their whiskers,
noses and limbs chipped by bomb or
artillery fragments.
It was decided at Potsdam that the
four victorious powers, Soviet Russia,
Great Britain, France and the United
States, would partition Berlin into four
sectors, each of the governments to
establish  occupation  headquarters
within its own sector. An Allied Con-
trol Authority was set up with re-
presentatives of each of the countries
endeavoring to coordinate the ad-
ministration of Germany as a whole.
A four - power Kommandatura was
created to administer the affairs of
Berlin itself.
The Allied Control Authority is the
nucleus of Berlin's present bustle and
activity.  Meetings are held daily
among various branches of the French,
American, British, Soviet and German
governments in an effort to determine
policy and settle problems relating to
postwar Germany.
The future of Germany, Europe and
perhaps the world depends upon the
plans that are being made and carried
out at these sessions.
It is not only in the conference
rooms that the four powers mingle
and exchange ideas. The clubs in the
different sectors are frequented by
members of each of the Big Four.
Operas, concerts, theaters and movies
are attended by visitors of a dozen
nationalities. The Kurfuerstendamm,
prewar Berlin's most elegant boule-
vard, comparable in its way to New
York's Madison Avenue, Paris' Rue
de la Paix or London's Oxford Street,
is now frequented, despite its ruins,
by a more cosmopolitan crowd than
Berliners ever dreemed possible.
Berlin was formerly the chief pleas-
ure town of Germany, and many
of its recreational facilities are still
available. In prewar days it offered
sailing, international horse racing,
golfing and, in fact, almost every
conceivable type of sport. The city
boasted  more than   460  playing
grounds and sport parks, including
the stadium which held the World
Olympics in 1936.
The more intellectual  pleasures
were also popular with Berliners be-
fore 1939. The summer music festivals
during the Berlin Art Weeks attracted
music lovers the world over. The
Berlin Philharmonic has risen to a
high position among musical organi-
zations under such outstanding con-
ductors as Hans Richter, Richard
Strauss, Bruno Walter and Wilhelm
Furtwaengler. Despite serious han-
dicaps this organization has been per-
forming, since early in the occupation,
an invaluable morale-builder to the
music-hungry Germans.
Berlin was the center of the Ger-
man movie industry, producing films
in the 1920's which deeply influenced
the world film art and sending a
number of fine actors to the New
York stage and Hollywood. The city
was the home of the modern German
drama since the turn of the century.
Berliners are avid theater-goers, and
even Hitler, who used the theater as
a propaganda weapon, was not able
to kill the excellence of the Berlin
drama entirely.
Under OMGUS auspices, about 20
plays each seasonhave been imported
from America and produced in Berlin,
almost all with long and successful
runs. Under the same auspices, a few
postwar German movies have been
made and released.
Along with these other advantages,
Berlin was prominent as an education-
al center. The Kaiser Wilhelm Uni-
versity, founded in 1810, was one of
the greatest in the world and its large
faculty consisted of the most eminent
of German scholars.
The University has been reopened
since the war with the stipulation that
the students would spend a certain
number of hours rebuilding the
damaged sections.
Berlin's history dates back to the
13th century but it was not until the
reign of the two Prussian Fredericks
Prewar Stuttgart, with city hall and Stifts church in foreground. (Ardiives)
MARCH 23, 1948


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