Berlin Crisis CIA Newly Declassified Documents and
Free CIA Multimedia DVD-ROM Available
The CIA released at a recent panel on the Berlin Crisis, 370 declassified documents, totaling
more than 4800 pages of material and a multimedia DVD-ROM available free at BACM
United States of America, Nov 10, 2011 -- Los Angeles, CA - On October 27th, 2011
a symposium was held by the Central Intelligence Agency, in partnership with the
National Declassification Center, hosted at the National Archives in Washington,
D.C., to discuss the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and the subsequent construction of the
Berlin Wall. Historians, intelligence experts, retired CIA officers, and policymakers
from the Berlin Crisis era participated in the event.
BACM Research has made available a scanned copy of the 52-page program
presented to attendees containing essays, bios, photos, and selected documents and a
free multimedia DVD-ROM created by the CIA for the conference can be requested
The CIA released at the time of the panel 370 declassified documents, totaling more
than 4800 pages of material. The release included records of multiple U.S.
Government agencies. This collection marks the first time so many government
entities have compiled their declassified documents on a single historic event in one
A multimedia presentation containing the documents, photos, and videos were
presented to attendees. This DVD-ROM titled, "A City Torn Apart: Building the
Berlin Wall," was designed and developed by the CIA's Imaging & Publishing
Support division. A free DVD-ROM of this presentation can be ordered at:
"Eleven U.S. Government organizations contributed to the material being presented
today – from intelligence reports to contingency plans to photographs to maps – all of
these revealing the tremendous challenges U.S. analysts faced in predicting Nikita
Khrushchev's intentions and actions during the Berlin Crisis," said Joseph Lambert,
CIA's Director of Information Management Services (IMS). "These documents also
afford a glimpse of the many differing opinions held by Kennedy Administration
advisors and various military leaders about which tactics and strategies offered the
most effective U.S. response."
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The newly declassified documents include intelligence reports, U.S. Army and
NATO contingency plans, memoranda, photographs and maps of the earliest stages
of the Berlin Wall, and a contemporary 600-page State Department analysis covering
the situation in Berlin from 1958-1962.
The symposium featured a keynote address by Dr. William R. Smyser, the last person
to cross the Potsdamer Platz in a car as the Berlin Wall was being erected. Dr.
Smyser, who now teaches at Georgetown University, discussed his firsthand
experiences serving as the special assistant to General Lucius Clay, President
Kennedy's personal representative to Berlin, and as a political counselor at the
American Embassy in Bonn. Smyser, a professor at Georgetown University recalled
at the conference Thursday that after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Khrushchev believed
Kennedy was weak and could be pushed around. "Kennedy is a boy in small pants,"
The military, historical, and diplomatic views of the crisis were explored in a panel
led by CIA historian Dr. Donald P. Steury. The panel consisted of Dr. Don Carter,
historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History; Dr. Hope Harrison, historian at
the George Washington University and Woodrow Wilson Center; Lou Mehrer, a
retired CIA officer; and Dr. Greg W. Pedlow, historian at the Supreme Headquarters
Allied Powers Europe.
Topics covered included, "How the East German Leadership Persuaded the Reluctant
Soviets to Build the Berlin Wall", "Events and Decisions Leading Up to the Building
of the Berlin Wall - The East German Perspective" and "The U.S. Military Response
to the 1960-62 Berlin Crisis."
One document made available was a Special National Intelligence Estimate, which
gauged possible Soviet reactions to U.S. diplomatic and military moves, including a
discussion of the U.S. using tactical nuclear weapons in a display of strength against
Soviet forces. CIA historian Steury was asked if a nuclear war was close during the
crisis, Mr. Steury said: "I wouldn't say we were close, but all the options were on the
More information and access the conference material is available at
About BACM Research
BACM Research is a private organization which through PaperlessArchives.com
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publishes documentary historical research collections. Materials cover Presidencies,
Historical Figures, Historical Events, Celebrities, Organized Crime, Politics, Military
Operations, Famous Crimes, Intelligence Gathering, Espionage, Civil Rights, Civil
War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and more.
Source material from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA), Secret Service, National Security Council, Department of Defense, Joint
Chiefs of Staff, Department of Justice, National Archive Records and Administration,
and Presidential Libraries.
Name: Jerry Spencer
Company: BACM Research – PaperlessArchives.com
Telephone: (310) 289-2320
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