A City Divided

The following special report on Berlin was written forCHRISTIANITY TODAYby Dr. Harold B. Kuhn, Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Asbury Theological Seminary. Now on leave, he has divided his time between the United States and Europe for the last nine years.

This city, surrounded by the Soviet Zone of Germany, is a focal point in the struggle between East and West. As a city divided, its two halves seem somehow to sum up that struggle. In the relationship between the two parts, one sees reflected the tug-of-war between the forces of the free world and those of the Soviet Union, the stakes being control of Western Europe and ultimately the rest of the free West.

The “Greater Berlin” of a generation ago exists only as a memory, or else as a dream of the future. Berlin has always been a collection of villages and its status as a first-class city is a relatively new one. Now the outer settlements have been incorporated in the Soviet Zone of Occupation (ironically called “The German Democratic Republic”). West Berlin contains 12 out of the remaining 20 boroughs and 2.2 million people.

Left a shambles at the close of World War II, Berlin lacked the materials needed for rapid rebuilding. The coming of the blockade of 1948–49 and of the “cold war” arrested the reconstruction of West Berlin, which had been begun on a modest scale. The hardening of the zonal division of Germany and of the partition of Berlin, which the exceedingly vital currency reform of early 1948 precipitated, created in West Berlin a new sense of solidarity with the West. General Lucius Clay was a hero in those days, no less than Mayor Ernst Reuter.

Today the two halves of Berlin reflect respectively the differing standards of living of the Communist ...

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