MORE than any other place in Germany, Berlin shows a vital awareness of the fact that the German problem is the kernel of the Cold War in Europe. The Summit, it was hoped, would extend the superficial thaw in the Cold War, induced by the spirit of Camp David; the Khrushchev visit to Berlin, it was feared, would produce a calculated crisis. Neither hopes nor fears were borne out, and Khrushchev’s “let the dust settle for eight months” speech in East Berlin left the situation exactly where it was a month earlier.

Naturally, most of the two and a half million West Berliners heaved a sigh of relief. A big majority of them had believed that Khrushchev would offer a separate peace treaty to the East German Republic, which would transfer control over all of Berlin’s communications with the West to East German hands and create a second blockade of Berlin. A population which had grown reasonably fat and prosperous during the last ten years would be put on an almshouse diet; flourishing industries which had been recreated out of the rubble would pine away for lack of orders and raw materials; unemployment would leap up from its present 2 per cent to over 50 per cent; the heatless, jobless, lightless, and even potatoless days of 1948 and 1949 would return.

The Berliners once again displayed sturdy courage and an endearing whimsicality. During the crisis, a trickle of old people did, indeed, leave for the less beleaguered territories of the Federal Republic. There was a noticeable flight of capital. The Berlin Bourse took a sharp blow; a standard common stock like Bekula electricity dropped to 136 before the Khrushchev visit but rose to 175 when he was gone. There was some desperate talk of arming a citizen militia of half a million men, who would stack their weapons Swiss fashion by their beds and office desks and would prepare to go down fighting in the greatest holocaust in European history.

But these were minor instances of an understandable nervousness, coupled with a desire to assume a posture of embattled defense. In general, the Berliners’ nerves were as steady as ever. They crowded to their TV screens to watch and listen to Khrushchev’s speeches, on arrival, in the Werner Seelenbinder hall, and on departure; but the sight of him going up the gangway of his plane to Moscow aroused no false sense of security.

The Berliners’ nerves will stay steady, but the Berliners will remain wary, for it is a fault of Communist political strategy that a potential victim of Communist aggression is never allowed to forget his danger. Since the Khrushchev visit, East Germany’s boss, Walter Ulbricht, has continued to fulminate against Berlin, the “front-line city”; against Willy Brandt, its “blustering burgomaster”; against the spies, agents, militarists, and Bundeswehr recruiting officers, who would seem to comprise nine tenths of the city’s population.

Communist banditry

Since the Khrushchev visit, the Berliners have had at least one timely reminder of what People’s Democracy means. On June 8, the West German Red Cross learned, for the first time, of the death in December, 1953, of Dr. Walter Linse, a West Berlin lawyer who was kidnaped in 1952 by paid cutthroats of the East German secret service. Linse had sought refuge in Berlin in 1947 from his native town of Chemnitz, in East German Saxony. He worked as adviser on East German economic affairs for a West Berlin information service. He was struck down on the steps of his West Berlin home by habitual criminals who had been promised free pardons, was thrust into a waiting car and shot through the leg to stop his struggles, and was driven at top speed across the frontier of Berlin into East Germany.

Linse was tried in secret by a Soviet tribunal, was sentenced first to death, then to twenty-five years imprisonment. Two years later, East German leaders who paid a visit to Bonn and were pelted with rotten fruit and tomatoes blandly denied all knowledge of him. But he had already died, in the Soviet Union. Just six and a half years later, his widow was informed. This piece of Communist banditry is in no way exceptional. Perhaps the Berliners are the stoutest of all German protagonists of the Western alliance, because they can study Communist methods at first hand.

Loyalty to the West

The Summit fiasco and the Khrushchev visit to Berlin had no more adverse effect on West Germans than on the Berliners. There was no revival of neutralist or antiAmerican sentiment of the kind prevalent five years ago. There was surprisingly little blaming of the Western powers for their lack of diplomatic initiative or for the U-2 misfortune. Khrushchev’s new role of world elder statesman, bearing the burden of responsibility for world peace, had little impact on West Germans. Nor did they try to ingratiate themselves with the Soviets.

On May 30, it became known that the Soviet first deputy prime minister, Kosygin, and the deputy minister for foreign affairs, Orlov, intended to go to Bonn. The Soviet Embassy there cultivated the idea that they would arrange an immensely expanded trade agreement (Kosygin was head of the Soviet economic planning authority, Gosplan, earlier this year). As a sweetener for this visit, Anastas Mikoyan, Soviet minister of trade, wrote an article for the supplement published on May 30 by the West German economic journal Handelsblatt.

The news of the Kosygin-Orlov visit created no more than a ripple of interest. The material reason was plain — Soviet-West German trade last year was worth $200 million.

This was less than 60 per cent of the planned figure and amounted to just 1.1 per cent of the Federal Republic’s total trade. Nor were West Germans inclined to attribute political value to the visit. The Federal foreign office shied away from the idea of talks with Orlov. The Soviet Union’s sly and tirelessly active ambassador in Bonn, Vladimir Smirnov, canceled the visit.

Far from weakening West German loyalty to the West, Khrushchev’s antics in Paris and more restrained ham acting in Berlin have developed a greater sense of solidarity. It was not surprising that the chairman of the Free Democratic Party, Erich Mende, at once proposed the formulation of an all-party foreign policy in Bonn. Mende, a man growing in political stature, has long believed that West Germany should speak with a united voice on foreign affairs. He thinks that foreign policy should be taken out of the internal West German political arena and should not be allowed to become a major issue in next year’s federal election. He saw no reason why the Social Democrats should not discuss a few half-baked notions and why Dr. Adenauer should not study their more positive ideas.

Mende’s enlightenment was to be expected. What was surprising was that Mende’s proposals should have been backed by the left-wing, exCommunist vice chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Herbert Wehner. To everyone’s astonishment, Wehner drew attention to an unpublished letter which his party sent to President Eisenhower last summer, underwriting the West German government’s policy during the two Geneva conferences.

Adenauer, the opportunist

It is a sad truth that Dr. Konrad Adenauer, the German and European statesman, is apt on occasion to vanish as if by the touch of a wizard’s wand. His place is taken by Dr. Konrad Adenauer, the Cologne ex-attorney and municipal politician, who has always had a keen eye for the minor but quick political advantage. The confusions, hesitations, and imperfections of Social Democratic ideas on foreign affairs have done much to win three federal elections for Adenauer’s Christian Democrats. The Chancellor intends to win a fourth election next year. And he intends not to be deprived of the advantage of having been proved right where his opponents have been proved wrong.

Adenauer believes that the Summit fiasco proved his policies to be right. He has never ceased to warn against Soviet intentions. In April he forecast strong Soviet pressure against Berlin and urged cast-iron resolution on his Western allies. Adenauer staked all on a simple formula: neither the Berlin issue nor the overall German question should be discussed with the Soviet Union until real progress was made toward general, controlled disarmament. This progress, he argued, would of itself improve the political climate and would make East-West agreement on Germany possible.

This is hardly a full or conclusive program. But should Adenauer be blamed? In Germany as a whole, the West has been content to remain in prepared positions; whereas the Russians have offered plans for a German confederation of two equally entitled states, for a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe, for a free city of West Berlin, for phased withdrawal of foreign troops from German soil. The West has produced little new thinking, and Adenauer may himself have been chary of doing so. He does not want to be accused of forcing the pace; he is afraid of latent anti-German feeling in Western countries. He will produce no bold originality to break the East-West deadlock. The West will have to be satisfied with holding the present strength of West German loyalty to the Western cause.

The two Germanies

No German politician can fail to be depressed by the course that German history is taking. The rift between East and West Germany is growing. This was forcibly illustrated by Ulbricht’s blitz campaign to collectivize the land. This campaign began in mid-January, when 45 per cent of the soil was farmed by the state collectives. The 100 per cent collectivization of the land was announced on April 15, after 250,000 farmers had been individually bullied and threatened by innumerable teams of the Socialist Unity Party, of the Free German Youth and Trade Unions, and of activist factory workers. Of course, the land was not fully collectivized by April 15, but virtually every farmer had signed forms enrolling himself in a collective and will lose his independence just as soon as this year’s harvests have been gathered.

Collectivization of the soil is a final, fundamental step. The East German regime intends to create a socialist society which can never fuse with West German capitalism. It is doing this in many other ways, some of them ludicrous. On March 29, it announced that it would collectivize bands and orchestras, and the first musical collective was formed on the same day in the town of Grimma.

On March 30, the government announced that private practices of doctors would be abolished by stages and doctors would sign wage agreements approved by the Free Trade Unions. On April 8, the impending socialization of cinemas was ordered. On April 13, plans were laid for the transformation of the free weekend into “104 days of socialist labor.”

Meanwhile, efforts were made to speed up collectivization of handicrafts; 200,000 small businesses, employing 600,000 people, were to be gradually compressed into the collectivized mold of the most Communist state in Europe outside the Soviet Union.

There are even more absurd examples of the birth pangs of this model People’s Democracy. East Germans can subscribe to only thirteen newspapers and periodicals from the Western world; they are all published by Western Communist Parties. East Germans still cannot buy goods in West Berlin, and one woman was lately sentenced to three months imprisonment for buying pepper there. A leading East German playwright, Herbert Kasten, was forced to flee to West Berlin because he took, in one of his plays, too lenient a view of a typically bourgeois citizen of Stralsund who lived in the fourteenth century.

This is the sort of nonsense which shows that the rulers of East Germany cannot be very sure of themselves. But they are sure of one thing — they are making the division of Germany more permanent all the time. This is why, for millions of West Germans, the future may contain peace and plenty but no sense of contented self-fulfillment. The division of Germany is the selfevident fact which has been underlined by Khrushchev’s posturings in Paris and Berlin.