Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom tells a success story. The people of Steinstuecken, and the American soldiers and diplomats who protect them, were determined to keep this village, a “little pocket of freedom” in Communist territory, free. They succeeded! Their efforts and determination deserve to be remembered; their story makes for interesting, even inspiring, reading. When the Cold War split the German capital of Berlin in half, between East and West, one neighborhood was trapped in the middle. For more than twenty years, the hamlet of Steinstuecken was caught in a tug-of-war between the Americans and the Communists. Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom, tells this hamlet’s story and examines its impact on the Cold War in Europe.
Steinstuecken officially belonged to the U.S. Occupation Sector of Berlin. But, it was located outside the city boundaries, completely surrounded by East German territory. No West Berlin-owned roads or trails connected it to the city. It was a de facto Western island in a Communist sea.
America could have turned its back on Steinstuecken—but it didn’t. U.S. officials in Berlin rose to the hamlet’s defense. American diplomats interceded often with the Soviet occupation authorities on its behalf. During the Berlin Wall crisis, the Americans established a Military Police (MP) outpost in the village to ensure its safety. Steinstuecken became a Cold War “canary in a coal mine,” a test of America’s determination to keep its promises to safeguard West Berlin and resist the Soviet Union in Europe.
Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom describes the challenges America faced in keeping Berlin safe and vibrant in the years after the Berlin Airlift. It also showcases the courage of many Steinstuecken residents and West Berliners, who defied the Communists and supported the West, often at real personal risk.
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