Film: 1878

Politics | 1950 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

British newsreel. Good summary of Berlin in Cold War era. Poverty in ruined post-WW2 Berlin and subsequent reconstruction. Allies divide up Germany and Berlin. Berlin Blockade. Western planes in the airlift.

Intertitle: "Berlin 1959"

Great shots of the ruined post-war Berlin in 1945, filmed from a moving vehicle. Man and woman sit in the street, looking miserable. Refugees in a large hall. Woman sits on a pavement crying, holding her child. Many Berliners in a street full of rubbish. Homeless man and children sitting in street. Man sits round a small fire in the street. Woman sits holding a baby. A woman leans against a cart looking sad.

Allied troops fighting in Berlin during World War Two. Troops and parked tanks in ruined Berlin streets. Soldiers walking past rubble. Two Allied soldiers chatting. Graffiti on wall "Nun erst recht: Heil Hitler!" Tank firing down a Berlin street. Allied tanks driving through Berlin, many buildings are in ruin or on fire. Soviets meet British and American forces in Berlin.

Map of occupied Germany divided into East and West, with blob signifying Berlin. The borders of the American, British and French sectors then appear in the Western half. The four flags of the occupying countries appear in the relevant sectors. New map of Berlin, divided into the four sectors, with the appropriate flags in place. Dramatic music. Street sign in Berlin saying "You Are Now Leaving the American Sector" in English, Russian, French and German. Another sign saying "Vous Quittez Le Secteur Francais". Sign saying "British Sector", and underneath the words in German and Russian.

Map showing road, rail and air routes linking West Berlin to West Germany. Women standing in the ruins of post-war West Berlin passing buckets to one another, the voice-over says that "the business of getting life going again had started." West Berlin aid distribution, with man emptying sacks of grain. Woman measures grain into small bags for the residents. Narrator: "Local services started functioning again" - West Berliners getting on buses. Policemen and young men walk into a building in a group - most of them smile at the camera. Uniformed men and women in a lecture, taking notes, they appear to be attending training to join the police force. Policeman gives lecture to recruits using a model of Berlin streets. A traffic warden at an intersection. A man doing some kind of experiment with a test tube.
Nurse checks a woman's blood pressure. Nurses and army Doctors giving check-ups to Berliners. Narrator: "disease and illness were gradually checked." Doctor tests a small boy's reflexes and listens to his heart. More boys wait in a queue to be given a check-up. House in mid-repair with a small chimney-pipe coming out of the side.

Stalin, Truman and Churchill talking at the Potsdam Conference. Woman cooks in small hovel. People on steps of large empty building, sitting round a small fire. In a school classroom a teacher serves soup to children. A girl eats soup at her desk. Stalin, Churchill and other dignitaries talking at Potsdam. Railway, a signal and a train travelling at night to deliver supplies to Berlin. Russian soldiers and reporters at East German / West Berlin border.

Map of the single road and railway linking West Berlin to the rest of West Germany. Narrator says that these were cut off, and a big black X appears over them on the map. Empty road between British and Russian sectors. Empty railway stations.
West give "determined answer" to Berlin blockade. Military planes taking off. Soldiers loading supplies onto a plane. Stacking up crates of food. Close-up on a box that is labelled "Made in Canada". Good shots of sea-planes in flight, and landing on a Berlin lake. Men loading up sacks. Volkswagen Beetle driving onto a plane. Men roll barrels in a warehouse crammed full of them. Aerial view of West Berlin. Plane flies through air. Aerial view of the 1936 Olympic stadium. Plane flying above railway. Military plane lands on runway and is met by army trucks.

Shop in Berlin selling sausages and pretzels (bretzen). Middle-aged women leaving shop with bread. Russians lifting the blockade at the border. Traffic and trains running normally. Close-up on a sign stating a train's journey between Frankfurt and Berlin. Vehicles driving down a motorway. People voting in a West German election. Paper going into ballot box. Tipping out votes from box onto a desk. Votes being counted. Busy West Berlin street. Police with Alsatian by Brandenburg Gate. Traffic warden by Brandenburg gate. "You Are Now Leaving The American Sector" sign on a fence. Children playing on climbing frame. Examples of good life for West Berliners. Woman window shopping. Crowded restaurant. Crane and workman taking part in reconstruction. Railways and construction workers. Children on climbing frame. Heavy construction work.

Examples of how East Berlin is less prosperous and successful. Threatening scary music, and mostly filmed at dusk. Shots of new large white buildings, which narrator just describes as "only a façade". Shot of large street, few pedestrians or cars, sun is behind camera so street looks to be in shadow. Footage claiming to be from 1957 of various buildings in states of disrepair left over from World War Two. Speech being performed by (appears to be) Wilhelm Pieck, then President of GDR. Crowds in square listen to speech. Sculpture of Lenin in the 1917 Russian Revolution. Large East German parade. A banner in the parade depicts Uncle Sam and a GDR soldier, with the subtitle "Yankee, Go Home". Many people watching speeches. Examples of what "lies beneath" the façade - poor people labouring and digging in East German city. Hallway with beds - a refugee camp in the West for people who have escaped from the East. Many children, lots of clothes lines. People queuing for food in the refugee camp. Bed linen and cutlery being distributed.

1953 East Berlin riots and tanks controlling the crowds. Prosperous West Berlin, people shopping and taking their time to cross the street. Many mothers sitting with baby pushchairs in a park.

1954 Berlin Conference. Flags outside the conference building. Dignitaries and Foreign Ministers meet. Anthony Eden and Molotov shade hands. John Foster Dulles walks to his seat.

Khrushchev at a Soviet speech. He sits on a high podium, with a large photograph of himself as a backdrop. Crowd watching in city square. Officials applaud him, Khrushchev and he salutes the crowd.

Map of Berlin used earlier, with added symbols of cannons signifying Soviet troops that surround West Berlin. Presidents and dignitaries meeting at 1958 NATO summit (including Dulles and Harold Macmillan). Interview with British Foreign Minister Selwyn Lloyd saying how Britain should help maintain the freedom of the "island" of West Berlin.

Intertitle: "The End"


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