‘Berlin Today’ film script

Script of a film called ‘Outpost of Freedom – The Meaning of Berlin Today’ produced by the British Ministry of Information in 1962  (Catalogue ref: INF 6/1327)


Germany today. Barbed wire running like a scar across the land, dividing East from West. But from these Eastern Zone watchtowers the alert is not primarily against the west, but against the East Germans who quit their country-refugees who escape through woods, across lakes, on cycles… the routes RE MANY.

But for the majority the destination is West Berlin and this suburban road. By train, by bus, on foot, from East Berlin the refugees come to this camp, bringing their world with them in a suitcase.

These are not refugees from hunger or poverty – they are reasonably well fed and clothed. They are fleeing from oppression of the mind. They long to say what they think; to vote freely. Most are young. Nearly  3 million have left East Germany for the West in the last 12 years – and the great majority come through the gateway to freedom in West Berlin first to this camp, then to the airport, and then to West Germany and a new life.


To the oppressed millions in the Russian colony of East Germany West Berlin is a vital outpost of freedom; but, not for the first time, its very existence is threatened by Russia. Mr. Kruschev wants to expel the Western garrisons which guarantee the West Berliners freedom. This threat to West Berlin and its 2¼ million free men and women is a threat to free people everywhere. For if these people’s rights can be snuffed out by Communism, so can any ones’ rights anywhere. If Berlin is given up, no free people can be safe. Berlin is a world problem.


The Western powers’ right to be in Berlin is absolute. It derives from Germany’s unconditional surrender in 1945. As the victorious British and Americans from the West, and the Russians from the East, met along this line…


The West gave a determined answer to this cruel blockade… the land routes might be closed but the air was open. Every available plane was pressed into service to carry food and the necessities of life into the blockaded city.   Even sea planes were used, landing on Berlin’s lakes… the British, American and French air forces together kept West Berlin alive… Every need of the beleaguered had to be supplied by air- coal and transport, food and newsprint. The narrow airlanes into Berlin were crowded with 600 planes a day…



After nine months the Russians lifted the blockade and traffic flowed again.. The Russians’ first attempt to deny freedom and self-determination to West Berlin had been met firmly- and defeated.


Life in West Berlin began to return to normal. But normal in a situation like Berlin has a special meaning: it was clear now that the joint 4-Power Government of Berlin abandoned by Russia would not return; some barriers would not come down; traffic flowed uneasily between the West and West sectors of the city and the Brandeburg Gate stood marking the division between East and West-not just a mark between two sectors, but between the two ways of life.


East Berlin, like East German, is a city of rallies, of exhortations. Germany has seen this before in the 1930s.


When in 1953 East Berliners revolted against their rulers; they were answered by Russian tanks… in a way that was to become only too familiar in Hungary three years later. The refugees fled in thousands.


Those refugees found West Berlin to be a very different city from East Berlin- a city concerned more with reconstruction than with rallies…for, with British, French, American and West German aid, West Berlin was raising itself from the ruins and taking on a prosperous look….

…new flats were replacing the devastation of the war, thriving industries were establishes; and the shops were full…

In 1955 the West Berliners lit an inextinguishable flame in the heart of their city; Freedom; Rights; Peace.

And these might be said to be the principles on which Western Policy towards Berlin is based; principles which offer a threat to no one.


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