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Vienna Summit - History

Vienna Summit - History


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The trip to Europe began with a stop in Paris for consultations with French President De Gaulle. The French people received President Kennedy, and even more so Jackie, with great warmth. The meetings with De Gaulle also went well. The summit with Khrushchev was not very successful. Much of the time was spent exchanging polemics. Only on Laos was there any semblance of agreement. On the main issue, Berlin, threats were exchanged. Kennedy's final words were "It is going to be cold winter". Kennedy left the meeting shocked and fearful that there would be war. Press reports at the time were much more upbeat.

President Kennedy was eager to engage in personal diplomacy, believing that the force of his personality would be particularly helpful in pursuit of America's goals. Kennedy decided that before he was to meet Khrushchev, it would be advantageous for him to first meet with French President Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle was the last of the World War II leaders still serving in office. Kennedy hoped support from de Gaulle would boost his own status at the summit. France was an official ally of the US, a member of NATO and a founding partner of the nascent European Common Market. However, relations with France and de Gaulle had never been easy. In addition, there were a number of disagreements between the US and France that could have made the meeting rocky, but de Gaulle decided to help Kennedy make the most of this encounter.

De Gaulle received Kennedy with unusual warmth. For his part, Kennedy knew how to flatter Degaulle. His efforts were helped by the fact that Kennedy had his French-speaking wife, Jacqueline, accompany him on the trip. Her beauty, facility with the language and knowledge of French culture dazzled the Parisians. She was greeted like a rock star. This meeting would lead to one of the President's most famous lines: " I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I have enjoyed it. "

In advance of his meetings with the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, Kennedy's advisors attempted to prepare the President for what would doubtless be a challenging event. By and large, his advisors agreed that Khrushchev would try to intimidate Kennedy. Their first meeting took place in Vienna at the residence of the US Ambassador to Austria in the early afternoon of June3, 1961. The meeting featured a spirited debate between Khrushchev and Kennedy about their respective economic systems. The atmosphere improved during lunch. However, when the two leaders took a stroll later in the garden, Khrushchev relentlessly attacked both Kennedy and the US economic system. Later in the day, Dave Powers commented to the President how calm he looked during Khrushchev's attacks. Kennedy responded: " What did you expect me to do... take off my shoe and hit him over the head with it? "

The afternoon meetings were no better. Khrushchev continued his relentless attacks on Kennedy and American policies. That evening, a state dinner was held in the Schönbrunn Palace. Later that evening Khrushchev stated to his aides: " He is very young not strong enough; too smart and too weak. " The second day's meeting centered on Berlin and Germany. Khrushchev insisted he would sign a peace agreement with Germany with or without US approval, and without regard for US rights in West Berlin. Kennedy made it clear to Khrushchev that signing a peace agreement with Germany was not a problem, but blocking Western rights could lead to war.

When the formal meetings were over, Kennedy insisted on a short private meeting with Khrushchev. At that meeting, Khrushchev stated: " Force will be met by force. If the US wants war, that's its problem" . " It is up to the US to decide whether there will be war or peace. The decision to sign a peace treaty is firm and irrevocable, and the Soviet Union will sign it in December, if the US refuses an interim agreement. " Kennedy responded: " Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be a war. It will be a cold winter. " Kennedy left the meeting shocked to his core. He stated to James Reston immediately after the meeting that it was the " worst thing in my life" . Kennedy was convinced he could use his charm and work things out with Khrushchev. Now, after the meetings, he felt that war was a very real possibility. This encounter with Khrushchev forced Kennedy to rethink US policy throughout the world.


Entering the year 1961, Berlin was still divided. A third of it had been the Soviet Zone and was now a part of East Germany, otherwise known as the German Democratic, a Soviet invention in 1949. Republic. zones. The rest of Berlin was a part of the Federal Republic of Germany, otherwise known as West Germany, also founded in 1949. West Germany was a member of the military alliance called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which the Russians saw as a product of evil intentions.

By treaty agreement dating back to Yalta in February 1945, US and other Western troops were free to patrol the Soviet zone in Berlin and Soviet troops were free to patrol the other zones in Berlin. Berlin was deep inside East German territory but the Soviets were supposed to provide free access from what was now West Germany to Berlin.

East Germany's local communist-in-charge, Walter Ulbricht, was concerned about a serious loss of manpower, especially young people and skilled manpower passing freely into West Berlin and beyond to West Germany. Ulbricht convinced the Soviet leader Khrushchev that the border had to be closed. Khrushchev wanted better relations with the West and he wanted to talk to Kennedy to get an agreement on the Berlin issue.

Kennedy and Khrushchev met in Vienna in early June, 1961, amid great fanfare and the parading of Jackie Kennedy and Nina Khrushchev in public, Jackie getting all the cheers. Meeting between the two men were planned as an informal exchange of views.

At the meeting, Kennedy labored under the conception that the Soviet Union was bent on fomenting revolution around the world &ndash a view reinforced by Khrushchev's pledge in January to assist movements of national liberation. And Khrushchev argued that it was not Soviet policy to try to make revolution, holding to his view that he merely wanted to assist others who were themselves changing their society. Khrushchev argued about balance of power, about Laos and nuclear testing. Having discussed with Ulbricht to question of closing the border between east and west Berlin, Khrushchev stressed the importance of an agreement on Berlin.

The successful Berlin Airlift of 1948-49 was considered of little relevance as Khrushchev confronted Kennedy with a threat to sign a peace agreement with East Germany that would impinge on Western access to Berlin by turning over control of the access roads and air routes to the East Germans. Khrushchev said that the Soviet Union "would never, under any conditions, accept US rights in West Berlin" after it had signed a peace treaty with East Germany (Kempe, p. 247) . Khrushchev resorted to what has been described as his usual bluster and threats. He told Kennedy that "force will be met by force," that it was for the United States to decide whether there will be war or peace and that his decision to sign a peace treaty with East Germany was irrevocable.

Kennedy is described as having been shocked by the threats. This was not the friendly problem solving that he had been looking forward to. Kennedy insisted not that the US have continued access to East Berlin but that the US and its allies continue to have access to West Berlin. And Kennedy was to be described as having conveyed US acquiescence to the permanent division of Berlin.

Khrushchev gave Kennedy an ultimatum, saying that the Soviet Union will sign the treaty by December 31 if the US refuses an interim agreement. To this, Kennedy replied, "Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be a war. It will be a cold, long winter."


Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-II nuclear treaty

During a summit meeting in Vienna, President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-II agreement dealing with limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. The treaty, which never formally went into effect, proved to be one of the most controversial U.S.-Soviet agreements of the Cold War.

The SALT-II agreement was the result of many nagging issues left over from the successful SALT-I treaty of 1972. Though the 1972 treaty limited a wide variety of nuclear weapons, many issues remained unresolved. Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union began almost immediately after SALT-I was ratified by both nations in 1972. Those talks failed to achieve any new breakthroughs, however. By 1979, both the United States and Soviet Union were eager to revitalize the process. For the United States, fear that the Soviets were leaping ahead in the arms race was the primary motivator. For the Soviet Union, the increasingly close relationship between America and communist China was a cause for growing concern.

In June 1979, Carter and Brezhnev met in Vienna and signed the SALT-II agreement. The treaty basically established numerical equality between the two nations in terms of nuclear weapons delivery systems. It also limited the number of MIRV missiles (missiles with multiple, independent nuclear warheads). In truth, the treaty did little or nothing to stop, or even substantially slow down, the arms race. Nevertheless, it met with unrelenting criticism in the United States. The treaty was denounced as a “sellout” to the Soviets, one that would leave America virtually defenseless against a whole range of new weapons not mentioned in the agreement. Even supporters of arms control were less than enthusiastic about the treaty, since it did little to actually control arms.


Vienna in Summit Time: The Press of History and Hotels

The confluence of the summer tourist season, the opera season and, begin ning today, the summit season, has strained the facilities of this old imperial capital to the limit. There has probably not been such a diplomatic crush in Vienna since Metternich, Tallyrand and the rest of the boys gathered here 165 Tears ago for the Congress that gave Europe a century of stability.

Today the star attractions are Jimmy Cartir and Leonid I. Brezluiev, and theintoiti is a strategic‐arms treaty that will. last six years, if both sides play by the rules.

All 2,000 first‐class hotel rooms in the city are packed, from the elegantly Victorian Sacher to the modern Hilton and Inter‐Continental.

A horde of some 2,900 journalists from more than 25 cotuitries has converged here in the last few days, snapping up every available bed and rental car. One of the few places left with spare rooms is the yellow‐faced board‐, ing house on Schonbrunn Stratse where a plaque proclaims that another Soviet leader, Stalin, lived in 1913 and wrote a work entitled. “Marxism and the National Purpose.”

Nearly 300 Soviet and East European correspondents have been accredited by the Austrian authorities, who have set up a press.center in the Hofburg, a vast, baroque conglomeration of buildings, some of which date from the 13th century. The arms‐limitation treaty will be signed there Monday, in an ornate music room where, during the Congress . of Vienna, Beethoven conducted his Seventh Symphony before an audience of princes and statesmen.

300 U.S. Correspondents in Town

There are also 300 United States correspondents here, including 180 reporters and technicians from the three American television networks.

The Austrian- Government, concerned that some Journalists might be left out in the cold, has renovated an old military barracks in the center of the city that can accommodate 3,000. The beds are free, but no one has taken up the offer yet.

The executive assistant manager of the 18‐story Vienna Hilton, Peter Martin, said in his office today, “I don't think we could wedge another body in here tonight.”

“Rooms in Vienna at this time of the year,” he said, “are often booked year in advance by large tour groups.”

Mr. Martin said that once word was received six weeks ago of the dates of the summit conference, the hotel attempted to clear as many of its 620 rooms as possible. Some groups agreed to change their plans, he said, but one, the Alpha Metal Corporation, a Swiss manufacturer of pressure cookers, resisted even the entreaties of the United States Embassy and the Austrian Government to give up the 180 rooms reserved for its annual sales meeting. Today. as official limousines nulled and departed from the hotel, the Swiss pressure‐cooker salesmen seemed to be enjoying themselves at a raucous luncheon in the main ballroom.

Security is another major preoccupa tion of the Austrian authorities. Since December 1975, when a band of terrorists kidnapped a dozen oil ministers from a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Faqiorting Countries at their headquarters here, the Government has taken every conceivable precaution to prevent a recurrence of such acts.

For the Soviet‐American summit

meeting, 6,000 policemen have been brought into the capital from around the country to bolster the already large uniform and security forces here. They are in evidence everywhere: on the roof of the air terminal when Mr. Brezhnev arrived today, stationed every few hundred yards along the highway into town and in dense cordons around the United States and Soviet Embassy residences, where the two leaders are staying.

A team of ,White House advance people and Secret Service agents has been here for 10 days working out arrange, ments for the President's visit. In theit off hours, they have been hitting thel tourist spots and, in a shock to the staid and formal Viennese, have been joga. ging In the ‘mornings in shorts and T‐shirts.

“We really turn a few heads in the morning in the park across from the hotel,” said one young woman on the Carter advance team, with a grin. “We're the only half‐clad people out: there.”

The last Soviet‐American summit conference here was the stormy 1961 meeting between John F. Kennedy and Nikita S. Khrushchev, and reminders of that session abound. Then as now, the talks took place in the respective embassies of the two countries, and the Austrians played the politically delicate role of the neutral host.

None of the officials accompanying Mr. Carter were here 18 years ago this month: Mr. Carter, in fact, was farming peanuts in Plains, Ga. But several of the reporters were: Walter Cronkite John Chancellor and Frank Reynolds the television anchormen, were all here then and have come back.

Another link to the 1961 meeting is Pierre Salinger, then the White House press secretary, now a Paris‐based correspondent for ABC. Sitting last night wih his present‐day counterpart, Jody Powell, Mr. Salinger said the atmos phere in 1961 was strikingly different “The summit had its rough moments, he said, “but in many ways it was less” formal. There was no real agenda, no attempt to prepare a joint communiqué in advance.”

Mr. Salinger added that the working lunches the two leaders shared between formal negotiating sessions had been relaxed and frequently funny. “Khrushchev was claiming the Russians could make Vodka from coal and Kennedy said that was all right because Dean Rusk knew how to make it from corn,” he recalled. At another point, he said, Mr. Kennedy pointed to a medal on Mr. Khrushchev's chest that signified his being awarded the Lenin Peace Prize, and said: “Don't do anything here to make them take that away from you.”

United Press International

As President Rudolf Kircbschlager of Austria, left, looked on, Leonid I. Brezhnev was given flowers by children on his arrival at Vienna's airport.


Vienna 1961: when Cold War tensions came to the boil

The charming young US president and the coarse Soviet leader, finally face to face: the Vienna Summit between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev kicked off a whole new Cold War game on June 3-4, 1961.

For the 44-year-old Kennedy, it was an initial contact with the leader of the rival superpower. For Khrushchev, 67, it was an opportunity to batter an opponent he saw as weak and inexperienced after just four months on the job.

Nothing came out of the talks except a 125-word general joint statement, and the subsequent erection of the Berlin Wall and Cuban Missile Crisis underlined the deep distrust that remained between the two superpowers.

According to the State Department's official account of the talks, tensions were particularly acute over Berlin with Khrushchev at one stage telling his interlocutor: "If the US wants to start a war over Germany let it be so."

Kennedy famously warned of a "cold winter" ahead and later admitted to a New York Times journalist: "He just beat the hell out of me."

But for all the evidence of deep mutual distrust, some historians argue that the talks were crucial in averting ultimate catastrophe.

"The two sides got a vision of hell in Vienna, they saw the apocalypse of a nuclear war," said Stefan Karner, head of Austria's Ludwig Boltzmann Institute on the Consequences of War and co-author of a newly published book entitled "The Vienna Summit 1961" ("Der Wiener Gipfel 1961").

"What the Vienna Summit did achieve. was to drive home the danger of a nuclear confrontation, specifically that the danger was real, and that the two superpowers needed to confront it," US ambassador to Austria William Eacho noted at a recent conference on the historic meeting, which he described as a "mutual sizing-up" between Kennedy and Khrushchev.

Two months later, the Berlin Wall was erected and in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

But despite this escalation, the firing off of nuclear warheads was ultimately averted, thanks to the tentative ties that starting being built in June 1961, according to Karner.

"Without this confidence-building in Vienna, it is likely that (the missile crisis in) Cuba would have gone very differently," the historian told AFP.

"One can say the Cold War would probably have been much worse. so Vienna most likely contributed to the Cold War not becoming a hot one."

Having just taken office four months earlier and following the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba in April, Kennedy came to the summit in a position of weakness compared to Khrushchev, whose country had just put the first man in space.

However, he did not fold on the crucial issue of divided Berlin and some say Khrushchev revised his initial judgment of the US president.

In the end, the two-day meeting and the leaders' resulting perceptions of each other helped shape the rest of the Cold War.

"Something was set in motion here that survived throughout the whole Cold War: the possibility at times of serious tension to still communicate with one another," said Karner, even though Kennedy and Khrushchev never met again after June 1961.

For Austria, the grand spectacle - some 1,500 journalists were accredited to cover the summit - was also a recognition of its neutrality and central position between the two competing blocs.

Crowds lined the streets and stood on balconies as John F. Kennedy's motorcade drove by, accompanied by dozens of police officers on motorbikes, while Russian expatriates greeted Khrushchev as he stepped off the train from Moscow after a journey of several days.

"Had the atmosphere not been defined by tolerance but been disturbed by various protests, this would have thrown a shadow onto the summit," Bruno Kreisky, then Austrian foreign minister and later chancellor, told the Austria Press Agency after the historic event.

In the following years, Vienna became the seat of major international organisations, including the United Nations, for which many politicians and observers credit the June 1961 meeting.


The Vienna Summit and Its Importance in International History

At the beginning of June 1961, the tensions of the Cold War were supposed to abate as both sides sought a resolution. The two most important men in the world, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, met for a summit in Vienna. Yet the high hopes were disappointed. Within months the Cold War had become very hot: Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall and a year later he sent missiles to Cuba to threaten the United States directly.

Despite the fact that the Vienna Summit yielded barely any tangible results, it did lead to some very important developments. The superpowers came to see for the first time that there was only one way to escape from the atomic hell of their respective arsenals: dialogue. The "peace through fear" and the "hotline" between Washington and Moscow prevented an atomic confrontation. Austria successfully demonstrated its new role as neutral state and host when Vienna became a meeting place in the Cold War. In The Vienna Summit and Its Importance in International History international experts use new Russian and Western sources to analyze what really happened during this critical time and why the parties had a close shave with catastrophe.


Contents

1961 Berlin ultimatum Edit

At the Vienna summit on 4 June 1961, tensions rose. Meeting with US President John F. Kennedy, Premier Khrushchev reissued the Soviet ultimatum to sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany and thus end the existing four-power agreements guaranteeing American, British, and French rights to access West Berlin and the occupation of East Berlin by Soviet forces. [1] However, this time he did so by issuing a deadline of 31 December 1961. The three powers responded that any unilateral treaty could not affect their responsibilities and rights in West Berlin. [1]

Rising tensions Edit

In the growing confrontation over the status of Berlin, Kennedy undercut his own bargaining position during his Vienna summit negotiations with Khrushchev in June 1961. Kennedy essentially conveyed US acquiescence to the permanent division of Berlin. This made his later, more assertive public statements less credible to the Soviets. [2] Kennedy decided on a flexible policy proposed by his younger advisors, with only a few concessions to the hardliners around Dean Acheson. The United States now defined three vital interests in its policy for Berlin, and linked all of them only to the western part of the city: the presence of Western troops in West Berlin the security and viability of the western sectors and Western access to them. [3]

As the confrontation over Berlin escalated, Kennedy delivered on July 25 a television speech in Washington on CBS, and broadcast nationwide in the US. He reiterated that the United States was not looking for a fight and that he recognized the "Soviet Union's historical concerns about their security in central and eastern Europe." He said he was willing to renew talks, but he also announced that he would ask Congress for an additional $3.25 billion for military spending, mostly on conventional weapons. He wanted six new divisions for the Army and two for the Marines, and he announced plans to triple the draft and to call up the reserves. Kennedy proclaimed: "We seek peace, but we shall not surrender." [4]

Vacationing in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Khrushchev was reported to be angered by Kennedy's speech. John Jay McCloy, Kennedy's disarmament adviser, who happened to be in the Soviet Union, was invited to join Khrushchev. It is reported that Khrushchev explained to McCloy that Kennedy's military build-up threatened war.

Plans for the Berlin Wall Edit

In early 1961, the East German government sought a way to stop its population leaving for the West. Walter Ulbricht, First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) and Staatsrat chairman and thus East Germany's chief decision-maker, convinced the Soviet Union that force was necessary to stop this movement, although Berlin's four-power status required the allowance of free travel between zones and forbade the presence of German troops in Berlin. [1]

The East German government began stockpiling building materials for the erection of the Berlin Wall this activity was widely known, but only a small circle of Soviet and East German planners believed that East Germans were aware of the purpose. [1] This material included enough barbed wire to enclose the 156 km (97 mi) circumference of West Berlin. The regime managed to avoid suspicion by spreading out the purchases of barbed wire among several East German companies, which in turn spread their orders out among a range of firms in West Germany and the United Kingdom. [5]

On 15 June 1961, two months before the construction of the Berlin Wall started, Walter Ulbricht stated in an international press conference: "Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!" ("No one has the intention to erect a wall"). It was the first time the term Mauer (wall) had been used in this context.

On 4–7 August 1961, the foreign ministers of the US, UK, France and West Germany secretly met in Paris to discuss how to respond to the Soviet actions [ further explanation needed ] in West Berlin. They expressed a lack of willingness to engage in warfare. Within weeks, the KGB provided Khrushchev with descriptions of the Paris talks. These showed that US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, unlike the West Germans, supported talks with the Soviet Union, though the KGB and the GRU warned that the US was being pressured by other members of the alliance to consider economic sanctions against East Germany and other socialist countries and to move faster on plans for conventional and nuclear armament of their allies in Western Europe, such as the West German Bundeswehr. [6]

The West had advance intelligence about the construction of the Wall. On 6 August, a HUMINT source, a functionary in the SED, provided the 513th Military Intelligence Group (Berlin) with the correct date of the start of construction. At a weekly meeting of the Berlin Watch Committee on 9 August 1961, the Chief of the US Military Liaison Mission to the Commander Group of Soviet Forces Germany predicted the construction of a wall. An intercept of SED communications on the same day informed the West that there were plans to begin blocking all foot traffic between East and West Berlin. The interagency intelligence Watch Committee assessment said that this intercept "might be the first step in a plan to close the border", which turned out to be correct.

Closing of the border Edit

On Saturday 12 August 1961, the leaders of East Germany attended a garden party at a government guesthouse in Döllnsee, in a wooded area to the north of East Berlin, and Walter Ulbricht signed the order to close the border and erect a Wall around West Berlin.

At midnight, the army, police, and units of the East German army began to close the border by morning on Sunday 13 August 1961, the border to West Berlin had been shut. East German troops and workers had begun to tear up streets running alongside the barrier to make them impassable to most vehicles, and to install barbed wire entanglements and fences along the 156 km (97 mi) around the three western sectors and the 43 km (27 mi) which actually divided West and East Berlin. Approximately 32,000 combat and engineer troops were employed for the building of the Wall, after which the Border Police became responsible for manning and improving it. To discourage Western interference and perhaps control potential riots, the Soviet Army was present. [1]

Kennedy did not give in to angry demands for immediate action raised by West Berliners and their mayor, Willy Brandt. Instead, he sent vice president Lyndon B. Johnson together with Lucius D. Clay, the hero of the Berlin Airlift of 1948‒49, to West Berlin on August 19. They managed to calm the population and demonstrate symbolically the Unites States' solidarity with the city. On August 20, 1,500 additional GIs arrived in West Berlin. [7]

On 30 August 1961, in response to moves by the Soviet Union to cut off access to Berlin, President Kennedy ordered 148,000 Guardsmen and Reservists to active duty. In October and November, more Air National Guard units were mobilised, and 216 aircraft from the tactical fighter units flew to Europe in operation "Stair Step", the largest jet deployment in the history of the Air Guard. Most of the mobilised Air Guardsmen remained in the US, while some others had been trained for delivery of tactical nuclear weapons and had to be retrained in Europe for conventional operations. The Air National Guard's ageing F-84s and F-86s required spare parts that the United States Air Forces in Europe lacked. [1]

Richard Bach wrote his book Stranger to the Ground centred around his experience as an Air National Guard pilot on this deployment.

Berlin travel disputes Edit

The four powers governing Berlin (Soviet Union, United States, United Kingdom, and France) had agreed at the 1945 Potsdam Conference that Allied personnel could move freely in any sector of Berlin. But on 22 October 1961, just two months after the construction of the Wall, the US Chief of Mission in West Berlin, E. Allan Lightner, was stopped in his car (which had occupation forces license plates) while crossing at Checkpoint Charlie to go to a theatre in East Berlin. [8] President John F. Kennedy worked closely with retired Army General Lucius D. Clay, who had been in charge of the famous Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949. They decided to demonstrate American resolve. The American command in the West Berlin garrison considered a plan to pull down the wire and barricades with bulldozers. This, however, was overruled by the troop commander, Brigadier General. Frederick O. Hartel. General Clay went to Berlin for 10 months. [9] [10]

Military stand-off Edit

US Commandant General Watson was outraged by the East Berlin police's attempt to control the passage of American military forces. He communicated to the Department of State on 25 October 1961 that Soviet Commandant Colonel Solovyev and his men were not doing their part to avoid disturbing actions during a time of peace negotiations, and demanded that the Soviet authorities take immediate steps to remedy the situation. Solovyev replied by describing American attempts to send armed soldiers across the checkpoint and keeping American tanks at sector boundary as an "open provocation" and a direct violation of GDR regulations. He insisted that properly identified American military could cross the sector border without impediments, and were only stopped when their nationality was not immediately clear to guards. Solovyev contended that requesting identifying paperwork from those crossing the border was not unreasonable control Watson disagreed. In regard to the American military presence on the border, Solovyev warned:

I am authorized to state that it is necessary to avoid actions of this kind. Such actions can provoke corresponding actions from our side. We have tanks too. We hate the idea of carrying out such actions, and are sure that you will re-examine your course. [11] [ failed verification ] [12]

Perhaps this contributed to Hemsing's decision to make the attempt again: on 27 October 1961, Hemsing again approached the zonal boundary in a diplomatic vehicle. But General Clay did not know how the Soviets would respond, so just in case, he had sent tanks with an infantry battalion to the nearby Tempelhof airfield. To everyone's relief the same routine was played out as before. The US Military Police and Jeeps went back to West Berlin, and the tanks waiting behind also went home.

Immediately afterwards, 33 Soviet tanks drove to the Brandenburg Gate. Curiously, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev claimed in his memoirs that as he understood it, the American tanks had seen the Soviet tanks coming and retreated. Col. Jim Atwood, then Commander of the US Military Mission in West Berlin, disagreed in later statements. As one of the first to spot the tanks when they arrived, Lieutenant Vern Pike was ordered to verify whether they were indeed Soviet tanks. He and tank driver Sam McCart drove over to East Berlin, where Pike took advantage of a temporary absence of any soldiers near the tanks to climb into one of them. He came out with definitive evidence that the tanks were Soviet, including a Red Army newspaper. [13]

Ten of these tanks continued to Friedrichstraße, and stopped just 50 to 100 metres from the checkpoint on the Soviet side of the sector boundary. The US tanks turned back towards the checkpoint, stopping an equal distance from it on the American side of the boundary. From 27 October 1961 at 17:00 until 28 October 1961 at about 11:00, the respective troops faced each other. As per standing orders, both groups of tanks were loaded with live munitions. The alert levels of the US Garrison in West Berlin, then NATO, and finally the US Strategic Air Command (SAC) were raised.

It was at this point that US Secretary of State Dean Rusk conveyed to General Lucius Clay, the US commanding officer in Berlin, that "We had long since decided that Berlin is not a vital interest which would warrant determined recourse to force to protect and sustain." Clay was convinced that having US tanks use bulldozer mounts to knock down parts of the Wall would have ended the Crisis to the greater advantage of the US and its allies without eliciting a Soviet military response. Frederick Kempe argues that Rusk's views, along with evidence Kempe advances for the possibility that the Soviets might have backed down following this action, support a more unfavorable assessment of Kennedy's decisions during the crisis and his willingness to accept the Wall as the best solution. [14]

The United States deployed the Davy Crockett tactical nuclear device into the field for the final time during the Berlin crisis of 1961, according to Brigadier General Alvin Cowan, Assistant Division Commander of the United States 3rd Armored Division, at the Tactical Nuclear Weapons Symposium of 1969. According to Cowan, the device was retired afterwards in part because "it was essentially a platoon weapon," and there was apparently "great fear that some sergeant would start a nuclear war." [15]

Resolution Edit

With KGB spy Georgi Bolshakov serving as the primary channel of communication, Khrushchev and Kennedy agreed to reduce tensions by withdrawing the tanks. [16] The Soviet checkpoint had direct communications to General Anatoly Gribkov at the Soviet Army High Command, who in turn was on the phone to Khrushchev. The US checkpoint contained a Military Police officer on the telephone to the HQ of the US Military Mission in Berlin, which in turn was in communication with the White House. Kennedy offered to go easy over Berlin in the future in return for the Soviets removing their tanks first. The Soviets agreed. Kennedy stated concerning the Wall: "It's not a very nice solution, but a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war." [17]

A Soviet tank moved about 5 metres backwards first then an American tank followed suit. One by one the tanks withdrew. But General Bruce C. Clarke, then the Commander-in-Chief (CINC) of US Army Europe (USAREUR), was said to have been concerned about General Clay's conduct [ citation needed ] and Clay returned to the United States in May 1962. Gen. Clarke's assessment may have been incomplete, however: Clay's firmness had a great effect on the German population, led by West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. [ citation needed ]


At the beginning of June 1961, the tensions of the Cold War were supposed to abate as both sides sought a resolution. The two most important men in the world, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, met for a summit in Vienna. Yet the high hopes were disappointed. Within months the Cold War had become very hot: Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall and a year later he sent missiles to Cuba to threaten the United States directly.

Despite the fact that the Vienna Summit yielded barely any tangible results, it did lead to some very important developments. The superpowers came to see for the first time that there was only one way to escape from the atomic hell of their respective arsenals: dialogue. The "peace through fear" and the "hotline" between Washington and Moscow prevented an atomic confrontation. Austria successfully demonstrated its new role as neutral state and host when Vienna became a meeting place in the Cold War. In The Vienna Summit and Its Importance in International History international experts use new Russian and Western sources to analyze what really happened during this critical time and why the parties had a close shave with catastrophe.


The Vienna Summit and Its Importance in International History Twarda oprawa – Ilustrowany, 19 grudnia 2013

Based on Russian and US archives and the multinational research efforts of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the Study of the Consequences of War in Graz, Austria, in conjunction with the Contemporary History Archives (RGANI) in Moscow and the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich-Berlin, this book represents a definitive study of the bilateral Vienna Summit meeting of Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy. The authors of the various articles are top scholars and, in the case of Ted Sorensen and Viktor Sukhodrev, participants in the summit. This valuable contribution to the history of the Vienna Summit's place in international history and in the history of the Cold War offers fresh assessments of Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Kremlin's decision-making process. It shows, too, that the US had accepted the Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. The book is rich in documents and should be in every research library. Includes a useful introduction, index, and bibliography. Summing Up: Essential. All academic levels/libraries.--CHOICE


Trump meets Kim Jong Un: Five unforgettable presidential summit meetings

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands as they meet for the first time in Singapore.

This file photo shows sitting L-R: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and President of the Soviet of People's Commissars of the USSR Joseph Stalin at the Black Sea resort of Yalta. (Photo: FILES, AFP)

The historic meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore follows months of bravado and name-calling between the two volatile leaders. In the annals of U.S. history, the meeting would surely be one of the most memorable.

But it is certainly not the first time that a U.S. president has boldly met with a controversial leader or leaders. Many presidents before Trump have made history — and, indeed, brought about world change — by meeting with foreign heads of state.

Here's a look at some of the most significant and unforgettable meetings:

The Vienna Summit: JFK meets with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. June 4, 1961. During one of the icier periods of the Cold War, John F. Kennedy met with Khrushchev, and the two superpowers talked about brewing crises between East and West Berlin, unrest in Laos, and the American-initiated Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba just two months earlier.

Many in the press at the time declared the meeting a victory for Kennedy. But Kennedy later recounted that he thought Khrushchev, a burly, outspoken Russian known for his colorful speeches and for once banging his shoe in protest at the United Nations, "beat the hell out of me" during the summit. Kennedy even told The New York Times that the meeting was the "worst thing in my life. (Khrushchev) savaged me."

Khrushchev didn't see it as a major victory, however. He wrote in his memoir years later that “I was generally pleased with our meeting in Vienna. Even though we came to no concrete agreement, I could tell that (Kennedy) was interested in finding a peaceful solution to world problems and avoiding conflict with the Soviet Union.”

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev meets with President Kennedy at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Vienna on June 3, 1961. (Photo: Associated Press)

Yalta Conference: Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin discuss post-Nazi Europe after World War II. Feb. 4 - 11, 1945. Held in three Crimean palaces, the Yalta conference was a key moment in 20th-century history. Among the many agreements hammered out were the terms of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender, the splitting of Berlin into four occupied zones, Soviet participation in the United Nations, and the planned prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

While the Yalta Conference was designed to be a meeting of the victors of World War II and to divide the spoils, History.com writes that Yalta became controversial after Soviet-American wartime cooperation degenerated into the Cold War.

"Stalin broke his promise of free elections in Eastern Europe and installed governments dominated by the Soviet Union," History.com recalls. "Then American critics charged that Roosevelt, who died two months after the conference, had 'sold out' to the Soviets at Yalta."

Geneva Summit: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time to talk diplomacy, the Cold War and the arms race. Nov. 19 and 20, 1985. Meeting at the Maison de Saussure chateau, Gorbachev said he viewed the historic meeting "without grand expectations, yet we hoped to lay the foundations for a serious dialogue in the future." Reagan called it a mission for peace.

The meeting was the first of five between the two superpower leaders over the course of the next three years. Reagan told Gorbachev that although the two were leaders of the world's most powerful nations, they nevertheless had common backgrounds, having both been born in "rural hamlets in the middle of their respective countries."

President Ronald Reagan, left, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev are shown in front of a fireplace during their meeting at the Geneva Summit in Switzerland on Nov. 19, 1985. (Photo: AP)

Nixon's Visit to China: Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong. Feb. 21-28, 1972. The presidential visit was a key overture in U.S.-Chinese relations, which had soured until that point. The trip was the first time that a U.S. president had visited the People's Republic of China. Nixon's arrival in Beijing ended more than two decades of non-diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Former U.S. diplomat Winston Lord, who attended the meeting between Mao and Nixon, called the visit to Communist China a "geopolitical earthquake" that laid the foundation for China's emergence as a major world power. It also brought the U.S. and China much closer together, both politically and economically.

In this Feb. 5, 1972, photo, President Richard Nixon shakes hands with Communist leader Mao Zedong during Nixon's historic trip to Communist China. (Photo: AP)

Camp David Accords: Jimmy Carter, Anwar El Sadat, and Menachem Begin. September 1978. The leaders of the U.S., Egypt, and Israel met for 12 days of secret negotiations at the presidential retreat in Maryland. Considered a watershed moment in Middle Eastern politics, the accords ushered in an era of peace between Egypt and Israel after decades of hostility.

Signed on Sept. 17, the historic agreements provided for complete Israeli evacuation from the Sinai, laid the groundwork for the signing of a final peace agreement, and outlined a broader framework for achieving peace in the Middle East, according to History.com.

It was not easy to get the two sides to agree, Carter recalled years later. "It was mean. They were brutal with each other, personal,” Carter told his wife Rosalynn, according to PBS.


The Vienna Summit and Its Importance in International History

At the beginning of June 1961, the tensions of the Cold War were supposed to abate as both sides sought a resolution. The two most important men in the world, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, met for a summit in Vienna. Yet the high hopes were disappointed. Within months the Cold War had become very hot: Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall and a year later he sent missiles to Cuba to threaten the United States directly.

Despite the fact that the Vienna Summit yielded barely any tangible results, it did lead to some very important developments. The superpowers came to see for the first time that there was only one way to escape from the atomic hell of their respective arsenals: dialogue. The "peace through fear" and the "hotline" between Washington and Moscow prevented an atomic confrontation. Austria successfully demonstrated its new role as neutral state and host when Vienna became a meeting place in the Cold War. In The Vienna Summit and Its Importance in International History international experts use new Russian and Western sources to analyze what really happened during this critical time and why the parties had a close shave with catastrophe.


Watch the video: Khrushchev and Kennedy: Vienna Summit 1961 - The Best Documentary Ever (July 2022).


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