PPS Flies: Lot 64 D 563: Germany

Paper Prepared by the United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy), the Commander in Chief, Europe (Handy), and the United States Commander, Berlin (Taylor)1

top secret

A Review of the Berlin Situation

i. statement of the problem

1. To review the ability of the Western Allies to maintain their position in Berlin during the next six to twelve months despite renewed. [Page 868] Soviet efforts to drive them out by utilizing military forces under the control of East German governmental agencies.

ii. assumptions

That it is a major Soviet objective to eliminate the Allied beach-head in the heart of the Soviet Zone and to make Berlin the undivided capital of a Communist Germany.
That the Soviets do not desire World War III now nor within the period covered in this paper (six to twelve months).
That the Allies will remain in Berlin even at the risk of war.
That the Soviets will ostensibly turn over control of Soviet Zone Germany to the DDR after the October elections.
That the Soviets in attempting to achieve their objections will use East Germans but will not permit Soviet forces to come into contact with Allied forces.
That the East German paramilitary force now contains not over 55,000 East Germans; that its effectiveness can improve rapidly, reaching an approximate strength of 150,000 by 1 May 1951 with the capability of coordinated ground action utilizing units of regimental combat team strength.

iii. discussion

1. Major Fields of Soviet Offensive:

a. The Soviet offensive against Berlin has never ceased since 1945; it merely waxes and wanes in intensity. For the moment, the pressure is low, but there are many reasons to believe that the campaign will soon resume with renewed vigor in one or more of the following fields:

Economic warfare
Psychological warfare
Subversive penetration
Increased pressure of political activity
Coup de grace by East German paramilitary forces

2. Recent Developments Bearing Upon the Security of Berlin:

a. Recent developments have shaken the feeling of security in Berlin. The principal events which are responsible for this view are:

Creation of DDR (The Deutsche Dempkratische Republik): A first and most far-reaching event was the creation of this facade behind which the Soviets can henceforth operate.
The organization of the Volkspolizei Bereitschaften: This agency provided the force in being for Soviet seizure of Berlin without involvement of the USSR or its forces.
The outbreak of hostilities in Korea: This event points up the pattern which the Soviets may follow with respect to Berlin.
Redeployment of cargo aircraft to the Far East: A direct result of the Korean fighting has been to limit the availability of cargo aircraft necessary to implement a new airlift for Berlin.
The Communist Congress in Berlin: The tone of this meeting was reflected in the frequency of a threat to use the DDR and the SED (Socialist Unity Party) to challenge the Allied Occupation.

3. Lines of Actions which the Soviets May Pursue Against Berlin:

a. The capabilities listed below represent a series of actions of mounting intensity which may be taken separately or in combination by the Soviet puppets:

(1) Capability No. 1:

Ostensibly to return sovereignty to DDR following October elections, initially permiting DDR to assert authority over all transport facilities, and ultimately to make a timely declaration that Western Allies are illegally in Germany.

(2) Capability No. 2:

To extend Capability 1 by gradual imposition of documentation requirements by DDR agencies at all Allied and/or German trade control points, thereby effecting a partial blockade of the Western Sector of Berlin.

(3) Capability No. 3:

To have DDR paramilitary forces seal off the city at a propitious time and close the air corridor, thereby placing the blockade in full effect.

(4) Capability No. 4:

To deploy the DDR paramilitary forces around Berlin in force, issue an ultimatum demanding withdrawal of Allies, reinforcing the bluff with Communist-inspired riots in West Berlin.

(5) Capability No. 5:

To have the DDR paramilitary forces, possibly with camouflaged Soviet elements assisting, attack with mission of seizing Berlin and evicting Western Allies should intimidation fail.

4. Courses of Action to Counter Soviet Capabilities:

a. Evaluation of Soviet capabilities presents three broad courses of counteraction open to the Allies. These are:

To engage their attention on other affairs through encouraging dis-affection in the satellite nations and other areas,… and specifically in East Germany, for the purposes of convincing the Soviets that the bases of their present strength, and that of the East German Communists, are insecure and that it would be premature to execute their master plan vis-à-vis Berlin.
To convince the Soviet leaders that it is impossible to localize any action they begin against Berlin and that such action may lead directly to World War III.
To create sufficient Allied strength to produce doubt in the Soviet leaders’ minds that they could achieve success in Berlin even though World War III should not come as a result of their acts.

b. The first two of these broad courses of action are primarily political in nature and require consideration on the highest governmental levels. Some of the implications are indicated in Annex A. The third course of action is military and depends upon the creation and maintenance of a balance of military power. In the further development of Allied military capabilities essential to counter possible Soviet-inspired actions, the over-all military requirements are established regardless of present availability. For simplicity, Allied courses of action best suited to counter specific Soviet capabilities are shown below:

(1) Capability No. 1:

Although this first step is not military in nature, the Allies should begin by taking all action within their power to discredit the DDR as the voice of the popular German will. Such measures should include strong unequivocal statements that the authority of the DDR is not recognized by the Allies and that any actions which interfere with the rights or the exercise of the legal functions of the Allied Occupation Powers vis-à-vis West Berlin will not be tolerated.

(2) Capability No. 2:

The next step is to resist attempts by the DDR and its agencies to interfere with Berlin communications. The Allies should be ready in concert to react immediately and decisively to the first restrictive measures which the DDR places on these communications. This reaction should be expressed in strong language backed by forces in being strong enough to break a blockade. Thus the very existence of such a force would be a deterrent to DDR action. Other measures which would deter Soviet puppet agencies from restricting the Berlin communications are:

The city can be stocked in advance with food and fuel to assure holding out for at least one year with little more than token assistance from the outside. Annex B.
Military forces and supplies needed for an all-out defense of West Berlin against the Volkspolizei Bereitschaften can be moved in now, at a time of relative freedom from tension. The size and composition of the force required to defend Berlin has been developed under Capability No. 4 below.

(3) Capability No. 3:

Under the assumption that the DDR has successfully blockaded the city, the Allies may take one of the following measures which tend to frustrate the blockade:

Ground action to include driving a salient from the west into Berlin and providing protection for rail and motor convoys. [Page 871] Forces required for this operation are a minimum of three Allied divisions with supporting troops. See Annex C.
An airlift with fighter escort. Requirements for a lift of approximately 50,000 tons per month with limited fighter escort will be on the order of one heavy transport group and one fighter group in addition to that now available to the Allies. See Annex E.

(4) Capability Nos. 4 and 5:

A final Allied capability is to resist militarily the forces of the DDR (Volkspolizei Bereitschaften) if the latter attempt to take over West Berlin by force. To do so with hope of eventual success requires the maintenance in Berlin of sufficient forces in being to prevent a sudden putsch and to assure successful resistance for the time necessary to bring in reinforcements from West Germany. Allied garrisons supported by West Berlin paramilitary units properly equipped could, however, deter the Bereitschaften from attack and make the city militarily tenable for the next six to twelve months. The immediate requirements for the US Berlin garrison is one regiment of infantry, one battalion of military police, the necessary supporting administrative troops, and a force of as many thousand West Germans as can be organized, equipped and trained in paramilitary and home-guard units. It is highly desirable that the French and British provide similar contingents. See Annex D.

c If the DDR interfere with Berlin ground communications, it may be desirable to test their intentions through a reconnaissance in force. However, it is obvious that the Allies should not attempt to break a blockade or to raise the siege unless they are fully prepared to take whatever actions are necessary to win. For a discussion of requirements for such operations see Annex C.

5. Availability of Forces:

Within Berlin the Allies maintain garrisons of approximately 10,000; there are some 11,000 West Berlin police. At present the DDR paramilitary forces have the capability of possibly overwhelming this Allied garrison and certainly of bottling it up in a small area. In six months these forces will have the capability of overwhelming the Allied garrison at will.
Allied forces immediately available to support the West Berlin garrison are committed by other operational plans in the event of a general emergency. An estimate of such forces is contained in Annex D.
There are no West German forces of any nature now available.
The position of the United States Commander, Berlin is now militarily untenable.

6. The Solution to Maintaining the Allied Position in Berlin:

Despite the weakness of the Allied military position brought out in paragraph 5 preceding, it is possible to compensate therefor by supplementing military with political and economic measures. By integrated military, political and economic action, it is within the range [Page 872] of Allied capabilities to maintain their position in Berlin. Such a program would contain five steps:

The Allies should make the Soviets understand that an armed aggression from any source against Berlin means war.
The Allies should make it apparent to the Soviet leaders that Berlin is stocked to face a long blockade.
Along the same line, the Allies should make it clear to the Soviet leaders that the former are able and willing to impose a counter-blockade which will be damaging to the Soviet and East German economy.
The Allies should maintain a tough, well-equipped garrison in Berlin, which will make any direct attack costly to the aggressors and destructive to the city which they wish to use as a Communist capital.
The Allies should develop a West Berlin military organization capable of supporting and extending the effectiveness of the Allied garrison.

iv. conclusions

That it is vital to the interests of the United States that the Allied position in Berlin be maintained. (See Annex A.)
That probably the East German paramilitary forces can overwhelm West Berlin now and can certainly do so in six months, unless the Allies take effective measures to prevent this action.
That the Allies must be prepared to react vigorously to initial DDR moves aimed at restricting Berlin communications.
That Berlin should be stocked with supplies adequate to enable the city to withstand a year’s blockade.
That in the event of blockade or siege, Berlin might be supported by a very limited airlift with present means for a short time.
That an airlift supporting Berlin can easily be disrupted and its effectiveness would be questionable.
That in the event Berlin is blockaded or besieged under present conditions it would be unwise on the part of the Allies to commit any substantial force to an overland expedition to relieve the city.
That Allied reinforcements to the West Berlin garrison are desirable at this time.
That certain stop-gap measures such as arming the West Berlin police, increasing their strength, increasing the West German police forces, establishing a Berlin police reserve, and increasing the number of labor service units in the city, may provide a deterrent to blockade or siege of Berlin and will reduce the requirements for Allied reinforcements to Berlin garrison.
That in view of the foregoing, the position of the US Commander, Berlin is at present militarily untenable, but it is within the military capabilities of the US and of the Allies to strengthen his position to the point of being able to make a resistance which will deter a Bereitschaften aggression.
That the Bonn Government should ultimately become responsible for the security of Western Berlin, and to carry out this responsibility, the rearmament of West Germany must be started at once; that this rearmament should result in the development of integrated combat forces capable of sustained operations.

v. recommendations

1. That immediate steps be taken to intensify psychological warfare vis-à-vis the Soviets and East German Communists, and to step-up Allied propaganda campaigns directed at East Germany for the purposes of undermining the present sources of Soviet and DDR strength, of creating doubt as to the reliability of East Germans who may be required to execute Soviet designs on Berlin, of discrediting Soviet-DDR political moves, and of disrupting the Soviet-DDR timetable vis-à-vis West Berlin and West Germany. Similar efforts by the West Germans should be promoted by the Allies. The immediate targets should be the October 15 elections in the Soviet Zone, the Volkspolizei Bereitschaften, the SED–National Front campaign for German unification, and any Soviet efforts to grant “sovereignty” to the DDR.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3. That the US Commander, Berlin, resurvey (in conjunction with his Allied opposites where applicable) the military requirements for the successful defense of West Berlin against the Bereitschaften (including the expansion of US Labor Service Units, the reenforcement and re-equipment of the West Berlin police, and the recruitment and paramilitary training of West Berlin police reserves). Such study should include recommendations on the military mission of the US Berlin garrison.

4. That steps should then be instituted to reenforce the US Berlin garrison to the required strength, to initiate parallel action on the part of the U.K. and France, and to direct the Berlin commandants to reenforce and re-equip the West Berlin police and develop a police reserve capable of military action. The measures taken should be adequate to create a balanced Allied-West Berlin force which would possess capabilities in manpower and equipment necessary to offset action by the Bereitschaften.

5. That the US High Commissioner and the Commander-in-Chief jointly produce an estimate of the most likely means the DDR may use to restrict Berlin communications.

6. That the US High Commissioner should seek approval of the Allied High Commission, in the light of the foregoing estimate, to develop a tripartite program to resist DDR interference with, or control of communications between the Federal Republic and West Berlin, [Page 874] including agreement on the progressive application of countermeasures and sanctions. Such plan should include customs controls capable of executing agreed interzonal sanctions and should include the UK capability of closing the border between the British and Soviet Zones in the manner now contemplated by the US Occupation Forces under Operation Concourse for the US-Soviet Zone border.2 Once this program has been developed action should be taken to convince the Soviets and East Germans that the Allies have the capability and the willingness to adopt counter-measures of progressive intensity to counter DDR interference with access to Berlin.

7. That the US High Commissioner should seek approval of the Allied High Commission to increase the West Berlin reserves of food to a level of one year’s maintenance, it being understood that the Commission has previously approved an increase of reserves of fuel to this level. In order to do so, funds must be found other than those now at the disposal of the US High Commissioner.

8. That the US High Commissioner should seek approval of the Allied High Commission for further early increases in the Federal Republic and/or Laender police forces (including increased capabilities to reenforce the West Berlin police) and for maintaining pressure on the Federal Republic and West German Laender governments to support West Berlin to the full extent of their resources.

9. That the Foreign Ministers, at their September meeting, issue the strongest possible statement on Berlin and one which will demonstrate the unequivocal intention of the Allies, even at the risk of war, to maintain their position in Berlin and their rights of access to and from Berlin regardless of restrictions imposed either by the DDR or by the Soviets.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

11. That the United States proceed as rapidly as possible to encourage the development of a European defense force into which the manpower and industrial reserves of West Germany will be integrated.

12. That the United States take steps designed to invoke the services of the UN, through appropriate procedural machinery, for the purposes of mobilizing non-Communist world opinion against Soviet designs on Berlin and of laying a basis for immediate concerted UN action to meet any threat to the peace created by illegal Soviet or DDR actions.

13. That the US High Commissioner and the Commander-in-Chief forward this paper to the Department of State, and to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, respectively, as a joint position paper.

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vi. coordination

The US High Commissioner; the Commander-in-Chief, Europe; and the US Commander, Berlin, have jointly prepared this review and concur in it.

Annex “A”

Political Considerations

1. The governing politico-military factors in respect of Berlin appear to be these:

In respect of the Soviets—

a) It is clearly a major Soviet objective to eliminate the Allied island of West Berlin, to convert Berlin into an undivided capital of a Communist Germany, and thus to consolidate Soviet Germany as a shield and a sword for use against West Germany.

b) Under the Soviet timetable, it is highly advantageous, if not necessary, that such be done as promptly as possible and before such date as the Soviets may be able and ready to provoke World War III.

c) To gain their objectives—West Berlin and West Germany—the Soviets will go very close to provoking World War III and may commit the Bereitschaften against Allied troops in Berlin (if it is calculated that such an engagement could be localized), since the Soviets must try at nearly any cost to deny the Allies their objectives of maintaining West Berlin while integrating the military potential of West Germany with that of Western Europe.

d) The Soviets will no doubt seek to dislodge the Allies from Berlin by attrition, including a full-scale blockade enforced by the Germans, before committing the Bereitschaften to any major attack on the Allied positions in Berlin.

e) Hence, it may be assumed that Soviet efforts of obtaining control of West Berlin, or to make the Allied position therein so untenable as to dictate an Allied withdrawal short of World War III, will involve the employment of East Germans, and particularly the Volkspolizei Bereitschaften, in lieu of Soviet manpower. This assumption is based on the belief that the employment of Soviet troops against the Allied positions in Berlin would provoke World War III, that the Soviets are reasonably aware of such eventuality, and that the DDR will seek to secure the Soviet control of the whole of Berlin before either the Soviets or the Bereitschaften move against West Germany and thereby run the almost certain risk of provoking World War III.

In respect of the Allies—

f) It is Allied policy to remain in Berlin even at the risk of war. Only such a decision will permit the Allies to exploit the numerous political and ideological advantages deriving from holding an advanced post in Soviet Europe, to keep faith with the two million Berliners who have linked their fate with the West, and to maintain the maximum psychological support from the West Germans during the critical period required to redress the present imbalance of conventional military strength between Soviet Europe and Free Europe. [Page 876] The alternatives—the withdrawal from or loss of Berlin in any action short of World War III (in which Soviet troops would be employed)—would contribute to such a psychological undermining of Allied prestige in West Germany as very probably to undermine the program of integrating West German manpower and industrial capacity in a West European rearmament system capable of discouraging the Soviets from further European aggression.

g) The maintenance of the Allied position in Berlin for the next six to twelve months must be based on three paramount components: (1) maintenance of rights of access to and from the city, (2) a sufficient balance of military strength to discourage the Bereitschaften from ventures, and (3) a psychological campaign intended to convince the Soviets that our position is stronger than it may be in fact and to shake their faith in the reliability of East Germans whom they may wish to commit to the attainment of Soviet purposes vis-à-vis West Berlin.

2. The Soviet offensive against Berlin has never ceased since 1945; it merely waxes and wanes in intensity. For the moment, the pressure is low, but there are many reasons to believe that the campaign will soon resume with renewed vigor. This campaign will almost certainly be based on the use of the agencies of the DDR, and East German manpower, with the Soviets keeping in the background. These agencies will gradually increase the pressure while military or paramilitary forces are made ready to administer the coup de grace in case relatively peaceful methods are unavailing. This paper revises the recent changes in the Berlin situation and enumerates actions which should be taken to frustrate Soviet designs on Berlin.

3. The most significant change in the Berlin situation has been the growing capability of the DDR to attempt a coup in the Korean pattern. Heretofore, it has been felt that the Soviets would not risk war over Berlin and that “war over Berlin” connoted the use of Soviet troops against Allied troops. It was expected that the Kremlin would apply a variety of political and economic pressures to undermine the morale of the West Berliners and the security of the Allied position in Berlin. By such means, it would hope eventually to maneuver a deal at the conference table which would gain its objectives in Berlin without fighting. Even a second blockade was believed unlikely because the Soviets allegedly would not repeat a gambit which had once failed. Influenced by the foregoing reasoning, the Allies have been satisfied with maintaining military forces in Berlin capable of doing little more than putting down civil distubrances in conjunction with the German police. Their inability to resist an armed enemy was not considered of decisive importance since the only enemy was considered to be the Red Army, and the Red Army could not be resisted successfully by any garrison which the Allies could place in Berlin.

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4. Recent developments have shaken this attitude in respect of the security of Berlin and have contributed to the knowledge that, regardless of the validity of the former reasoning, a new threat has arisen through the increased capabilities of the DDR. The following paragraphs chronicle events responsible for this change of viewpoint.

5. The first and most far-reaching event was the creation last October of a German facade behind which the Soviets can henceforth operate—the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). This action gives the Soviets a cat’s paw which can be used either against the West Berliners or against the Western Allies. It is probable that if such measures as a renewed blockade were adopted, the agent would be the DDR pretending to act by virtue of sovereign rights restored to it by the Soviets. The latter would be in the position to disavow responsibility for the consequences of East German actions against Berlin and thus avoid commitment of Soviet forces, which in all likelihood is still their goal.

6. A second and related development is the organization of the Volkspolizei Bereitschaften This force provides the claws for the East German cat’s paw. We now know the present size and composition of this force and recognize that it is a military organization which, unless challenged by increased Allied military and German paramilitary strength in West Berlin, could soon be capable of dominating East Germany for the Soviets. Although units undergoing training have thus far been of battalion size, larger units will probably be formed of greater military capability in the coming year. It may also be assumed that by the end of another six months, the Volkspolizei Bereitschaften will be strong enough to overpower the present Allied garrison of West Berlin unless the latter is reinforced and unless German paramilitary police reserves are trained and armed in West Berlin.

7. A third factor which affects the Berlin situation is the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. This event reveals a pattern which the Soviets may follow with respect to Berlin. It may be argued that, in contrast to Korea, there are Allied troops in Berlin whose presence will deter an overt attack. However, counterbalancing this advantage is the difficulty of reinforcing Berlin through or over the Red Army, in contrast to the situation in Korea, where access to the battle area is unimpeded. This latter consideration introduces one of the essential imponderables in the present Berlin situation: If it is assumed that the Soviets will not risk provoking World War III over Berlin before such time as they are ready to provoke a world war, will they commit the Volkspolizei Bereitschaften against the Allied garrisons if they believe the resultant hostilities could be localized? It is believed that the Soviets would probably commit the Bereitschaften against West Berlin if (1) their estimate is that the ensuing hostilities can be localized and (2) the speedy success of the Bereitschaften seemed assured. Hence, it is a [Page 878] thesis of this paper that the Allied positions in Berlin will be maintained only if (1) Allied military and German paramilitary strength sufficient to discourage the Bereitschaften from attack is kept in West Berlin until the military imbalance between Soviet Europe and Free Europe is redressed and (2) the Soviets are led to believe that any assault by the Bereitschaften on Berlin might result in a world war in advance of the Soviet timetable.

8. The capability of a full-scale airlift for Berlin has been reduced materially as a result of the Korean war. Not only have air units previously earmarked for the airlift been redeployed to the Far East, but devices which the Soviets and/or East Germans are capable of bringing to bear are more likely to be used to reduce the effectiveness of any renewed airlift. For these reasons and because of increased tension with attendant risk to the transportation as involved, the Allied military leaders will be loathe to expose to destruction, or commit to ineffective operations, all or part of their strategic transport forces. Hence, the decision to attempt to support a blockaded Berlin again with an airlift will be a much more serious one than in 1948.

9. A final factor bearing upon the Berlin situation is the tone of the recent Communist Congress in Berlin.3 There, the threat to employ the DDR to challenge the Allied occupation was apparent and unequivocal. Communists were exhorted to civil disobedience and to prepare themselves for the day when Germany was reunited on Communist (Soviet) terms. The temper of the decisions taken suggests that the Communists’ schedule against Berlin may move faster and more aggressively than we have estimated in the past.

10. It is possible that the DDR may ostensibly be granted “full sovereignty” by the USSR in October and that thereafter Soviet forces may either be withdrawn from the Soviet occupation zone in Germany or that they will, more probably, be concentrated in a few strategic localities in East Germany. In any event, it is likely that the DDR will assert authority to speak and act for the whole of the German people following its “legitimation” in the October elections. As a corollary, the DDR would adopt the position enunciated by the SED Congress in July that the Western occupation authorities remain in Germany without benefit of legal status. Although the Allies would immediately reject all claims of this nature, they would be faced with the practical problem of whether to deal directly with representatives of the DDR on such administrative matters as documentation for goods and persons moving to and from Berlin.

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11. It follows that such an “autonomous” East German government could initiate actions restricting Allied use of the lines of communications to Berlin. Initially, such restrictions might not be placed on transportation facilities directly controlled by the Allied authorities but normal German commerce between the Western Zones and Berlin could be strangled. If the DDR meets with initial success, it can be expected to continue applying pressure, unless stopped, until the Allies have been driven from Berlin, if necessary by the application of military force.

12.a. If the foregoing sequence of events appears plausible, it is essential that the Allies develop a program to accomplish the following objectives:

Induce the Soviet leaders to cancel their program.
Neutralize the Soviet program, if implemented.

b. The Soviet leaders may call off the campaign under any effective combination of the following conditions:

They become persuaded that the time is not yet ripe, that the DDR and the Volkspolizei Bereitschaften are not ready to play their appointed roles in the conquest of Berlin. The Soviet timetable in East Germany and the firming-up of a Soviet estimate of the reliability of the East Germans may be retarded by Allied actions of these types: The establishing, at appropriate intervals and for specific strategic purposes, of effective economic blockades of the Soviet Zone (which must include the Czechoslovak frontiers with West Germany); the subverting of the Bereitschaften to the maximum capabilities of the Allies and West Germans; … the creating of disaffection among crucial segments of the population and the discrediting of Soviet/DDR political and propagandists moves, including those directed at West Germany. As a result, the Soviets and East German Communists might feel their bases of strength in East Germany, aside from the Red Army, were insecure and hence be reluctant to act.
The Soviet leaders are made to realize that the campaign for Berlin is so hazardous that they risk a world war if they or the Bereitschaften attack West Berlin. An integral component of the Allied position on this matter should be to leave doubt in the Soviet mind of whether any attack by the Bereitschaften could be localized. An announced decision on the part of the Allies to maintain their position in Berlin and their rights of access against action by either the Soviets or the DDR, even at the risk of war, would thus be an extremely important factor in the protection of West Berlin. Similarly, action by the Federal Republic which would indicate its support of Berlin to the full extent of its resources would be an important contribution.
The Soviets become disadvantageously embroiled elsewhere in the world. Such would obviously ameliorate the situation in Berlin. It is felt, however, that more immediate results in this respect will be obtained by exploiting Soviet weaknesses in East Germany than by developing diversions elsewhere in the world in the hope of distracting Soviet attention from Berlin.
The Soviets become convinced that Allied military and West Berlin paramilitary forces in West Berlin are capable of successful resistance to attack by the Bereitschaften. The Allied position in maintaining West Berlin for the next six to twelve months at least should proceed on the assumption that West Berlin need not be militarily untenable against the Bereitschaften and that our position in Berlin should be materially strengthened by additional Allied units and by training Germans to assist the Allied garrisons in defending the city.

c. The Soviet program could be neutralized by the following measures:

The Allies must be prepared to take immediate concerted action, in accordance with a previously agreed program, in response to any positive indication that the DDR is restricting communications between West Berlin and the Federal Republic. Such action must be decisive in nature and designed to make the Soviets and DDR authorities hesitant to proceed further with their program.
If and when the USSR restores “sovereignty” to the DDR, the Allies must announce that their rights and position in Berlin remain unaffected and reiterate their unequivocal intention to remain in Berlin.
Defeat of any Bereitschaften units committed to hostilities. Parity of equipment with the Bereitschaften should, therefore, be maintained and provision should be made to stock weapons which the West Berliners might use to defend their city in case of necessity.
Invoke the services of the UN through appropriate procedural machinery for the purposes of mobilizing world opinion against Soviet designs on Berlin and of laying a basis for immediate concerted UN action.

Annex “B”

Logistics Situation, Berlin

1. Civilian


(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Type of supply On hand (metric tons) Added reqmt. for 1-yr supply Total objective Cost
Foodstuffs 145,550 130,650 276,200 DM 58.580,000
Coal 592,000 344,000 936,000 DM 18,000,000
Medicine Unknown 416 416 DM 6,000,000
Total— 737,550 475,066 1,212,616 DM 82,580,000

b. Approximately 3½ months would be required to transport the tonnage shown in column (3) above into Berlin, dependent on:

Availability of required supply in West Germany.
Availability of necessary rail and truck transport.
Non-interference with movement of supplies by either Soviet or DDR.

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2. Military

a. The following is the present military stockage position in Berlin based on existing U.S. troops. Similar information for Allied troops is not available.

Class of supply Months of supply on hand
Medical 4 
Ordnance—Class II & IV
Class V (Training) 6 
Class V (Combat) Two basic loads
Engineer—Class II & IV 3 
Solid Fuels 7 
Quartermaster—Class I 4 
Class II & IV 4 
Class III 6 
Post Exchange 4 

b. It is estimated that an additional 70,000 tons of all classes of supply would be required to maintain present US troop strength for one (1) year in Berlin. This does not include supplies that might be required for maintenance or extension of air fields.

3. Military Facilities and Services

Approximately 1,000 additional German labor service personnel can be placed in permanent billets in Berlin immediately. Any number in excess of 1,000 would require a detailed survey and rehabilitation of facilities.
Approximately 2,000 US reinforcements could be housed in permanent billets now, and a maximum of 6,000 in permanent billets within one (1) year.
An unlimited number of troops could be accommodated on a temporary basis.
Services: Any major expansion of the Berlin garrison, either by labor service units or US troops, will require a proportionate increase in service support units of Berlin Military Post.

4. Storage Facilities

In the West Sectors of Berlin there are adequate storage facilities to hold civilian stocks equal to one year’s maintenance under rationing conditions and military stocks estimated required by the garrison in one month of combat.

Annex “C”

Maintenance of Overland Communications With Berlin

i. purpose

1. To study possible Allied military lines of action in the event the DDR agencies blockade or besiege Berlin.

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ii. assumptions

2. a. That the Soviets do not desire war now nor prior to 1 May 1952.

b. That it is a major Soviet objective to eliminate the Allied beachhead in the heart of the Soviet Zone and to make Berlin the undivided capital of a Communist Germany.

c. That the Allies will remain in Berlin even at the risk of war.

d. That the Soviets will ostensibly turn over control of Soviet Zone, Germany, after the October elections.

e. That the Soviets in attempting to achieve their objectives will use East Germans, but will not permit Soviet forces to come into contact with Allied forces.

f. That the East German paramilitary force now contains not over 55,000 East Germans; that its effectiveness can improve rapidly, reaching an approximate strength of 150,000 by 1 May 1951 with the capacity of coordinated ground action utilizing units of regimental combat team strength.

g. That the Allies will attempt to break a Soviet-inspired blockade of Berlin by re-establishing overland lines of communications to Berlin from the Western Zones of Germany.

iii. discussion

3. In the event DDR agencies blockade Berlin and the Allies decide to re-open their lines of communications, the most logical pattern of operation would be somewhat as follows:

The Allies would first probe along the Autobahn from Helmstedt to Berlin by a reconnaissance in force. If this reconnaissance succeeds, trucking operations will continue until stopped, when this probing phase will be repeated.
On the other hand, if the reconnaissance is stopped, the Allies face two alternatives:
They may either set out to defeat the DDR paramilitary forces in the field, or
They may force and maintain a corridor.

4. In considering these two lines of action shown in subparagraphs a and b preceding, the Allies are faced with certain difficult decisions. In the first place, a handful of Bereitschaften (who may or may not be supported by hidden or nearby powerful forces) may attempt to stop the convoy. Will the convoy commander stop and turn around with the inevitable loss of face to the Allies, or will he continue on, possibly to start World War III?

5. It is doubtful if the DDR would decide to blockade Berlin unless they were reasonably certain that they could maintain it and, as a result, could force the Allies to withdraw from the city. This means the Allies should face the fact that the DDR may be fully prepared to use all paramilitary forces available to them if the need arises. [Page 883] At present the strength of the DDR paramilitary force is slightly less than 55,000, organized into approximately 33 battalions with limited combat effectiveness. By 1 May 1951, it is estimated that this strength could increase to about 150,000, organized into about 150 battalions which in turn are organized and trained on a regimental combat team level. Although these RCT’s would not be fully combat effective they would have considerable combat potential. (For additional details, see Annex “D”.)

6. The Allies cannot embark upon large-scale operations for the opening of the land lines communications to Berlin without first making sure that they have sufficient forces to go through to the ultimate conclusions of such a task. Should the Allies make a first tentative effort such as reconnaissance in force and then be defeated without continuing operations on a larger scale, it is almost certain that their tremendous loss in prestige would lead almost at once to the fall of Berlin either through military action on the part of the DDR or through the fact that the West Berlin population would surrender its will to resist. Therefore, before beginning an operation to open up the land lines of communications to Berlin, the Allies should anticipate the need of putting forces in the field sufficient now to defeat 55,000 East German paramilitary forces and by the Spring of 1951 some 150,000 of the same.

7. In considering the probing phase of opening the land lines of communications, that is, the reconnaissance in force, it is not profitable at this time to give the definite figures as to the strengths of Allies forces required. However, in general this force should contain infantry, armor, engineers, artillery, a relatively small column of trucks bearing supplies, and should be supported at least by reconnaissance planes, preferably by tactical air force. Furthermore, the column should be a tripartite force. A possible basis for the strength of this column might be a regimental combat team supported by a battalion of engineers and a tank battalion escorting two heavy truck companies.

8. This task force should be able to operate in the face of a large number of measures which the DDR may employ either to stop it or to delay it. For instance, there are some 130 bridges on the Autobahn between Helmstedt and Berlin. Certain of these bridges could be blown, which would mean the task force must either go around or turn back. Likewise, should the DDR have timely warning they could plant mine fields at frequent intervals. Also, they could interdict the Autobahn at frequent intervals by small arms artillery fire. They could stage guerilla-type raids on various portions of the task force. And finally they could confront the task force with a defensive position so strong that it could not be penetrated or turned.

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9. In the event that the task force succeeds in bringing the truck companies through, other truck companies should be ready to continue trucking operations between Helmstedt and Berlin, lightly guarded, until stopped by military force when probing operations will have to be repeated.

10. In the event that the reconnaissance in force is turned back, the Allies should be prepared to embark on either one of two operations:

They must either defeat the DDR paramilitary forces in the field, or
They must drive and maintain a corridor into Berlin.

In either case the forces required are about the same. Forces in order of 3 Allied divisions with necessary support troops would be required to defeat the 55,000 present DDR paramilitary troops; and in the event the latter increase to a maximum strength of 150,000, forces in the order of 5 Allied divisions with necessary support troops would be required. However, certain grave disadvantages to these two operations must be considered. First, it appears unlikely that the Allies can provide a minimum of 3 divisions for such a campaign; they cannot take such numbers from occupation duties without jeopardizing the occupation mission. A force of 3 divisions from troops available to the US, Great Britain and France for this mission is not foreseeable in the next twelve months. Likewise, the development of West German forces equal in combat efficiency to the 3 Allied Divisions does not appear likely in that period. Therefore, the question of obtaining the necessary troops to carry out such operations is a serious one. Moreover, even should the Allies obtain adequate forces for these large-scale operations, their employment has grave disadvantages. Thus a direct attack on DDR paramilitary forces by Allied troops in the Russian Occupied Zone appears foolhardy carried on in the face of some twenty Russian divisions; on the other hand, forcing and maintaining a corridor without first defeating DDR paramilitary forces would place Allied troops on the defensive, open to attack where and when the DDR choose.

Annex “D”

Considerations on the Reinforcement of the Allied Berlin Garrison

i. purpose

1. To determine the composition and strength of forces required to defend the Western Sectors of Berlin against an attack by the Bereitschaften in the next twelve months.

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ii. assumptions

2. See basic paper.

iii. situation and courses of action

3. German Paramilitary Force Situation: See basic paper.

4. Allied Forces Situation: See basic paper.

5. Bereitschaften Courses of Action Involving Attach on Western Sectors of Berlin:

The Bereitschaften at present have some 8,000 troops in the vicinity of Berlin, organized into 5 infantry, 3 artillery, and 1 tank battalion. All these troops can be concentrated within 24 hours for a surprise attack on the Western Sectors of Berlin any time within the next twelve months.
The Bereitschaften in 72 hours now can concentrate the major portion of their present strength, say 50,000 troops, for a formal attack against the Western Sectors of Berlin. It is estimated that by 1 May 1951 they can have the capability of concentrating 140,000 troops for such an attack.
The Bereitschaften may deliver a series of raids or limited objective attacks against the Western Sectors of Berlin, using relatively small forces, at any time in the next twelve months.

6. Allied Courses of Action to Defend Against Bereitschaften Attacks:

Although the best defense against the Bereitschaften attacks discussed above would be a perimeter defense of the Western Sectors of Berlin, the difficulty of such an undertaking, using the troops now available or available Up to 1 May 1951, is apparent when one considers that the area of the Western Sectors totals 59 square miles, with a perimeter of some 103 miles. It does not appear reasonable that within its military capabilities the Allied garrison can defend the Western Sectors against such attacks, either now or in the next twelve months. Thus, it is estimated that a West Berlin garrison containing approximately 60% of the maximum strength of the attacker would require an additional 20 Allied battalions now and an additional 80 Allied battalions by 1 May 1951. Inasmuch as it is not known where these Allied forces could be obtained, other means of preventing the Bereitschaften from attacking the Western Sectors must be developed.
The most effective alternate means of preventing Bereitschaften attack would be the development, within the military capabilities of the Allies, of a tough, well-equipped and well-trained garrison which would make any aggression on the part of the Bereitschaften extremely costly.
In terms of US Forces, it is estimated that increasing the US garrison to the strength of one infantry regiment, plus one MP battalion, with the necessary administrative and support units, and supported by the maximum number of German Labor Service Units which can be organized in the next twelve months, would fulfill this requirement, provided the British and French took parallel action with respect to their Berlin garrisons.

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Annex “E”

i. purpose

a. To develop the requirements and capacity of a reestablished Berlin airlift.

ii. assumptions

That the Soviets do not desire war with the Western nations until at least 1 May 1952.
That the Soviets or their puppets will attempt to drive the Allies from Berlin.
That in attempting to drive the Allies from Berlin, the Soviets will use East German forces.
That in the event a Berlin airlift is reinstituted, the Soviets will use every means available to interfere with it, short of actual war.

iii. discussion

At the present time the US Air Force has one group of C–82 type transports in the US Zone, Germany. This medium transport group has the capability of delivering 12,000 tons per month to Berlin. The British now have the equivalent of one heavy transport group in the British Zone, Germany. If this group were brought to full strength it would have the capability of delivering approximately 18,000 tons per month to Berlin. The present status of this group is unknown but it is improbable that it is at full strength due to the RAF policy of rotating squadrons at frequent intervals. The French have an insignificant number of transport aircraft. Consequently, the total airlift that could be produced by utilising resources presently available in the Allied Zones of Germany would total about 30,000 tons per month.
Either a US or British heavy transport group has the capability of moving 18,000 tons per month from bases in the Allied Zones to Berlin. Thus, an additional heavy transport group would raise the total lift to 48,000 tons per month. The above figures are based upon utilization of aircraft at an average of 6 hours per day.
The mere addition of one heavy group would not permit delivery of 48,000 tons per month for an indefinite period since an important number of additional facilities and aircraft would be required to provide logistic support and replacements for aircraft undergoing maintenance checks, etc.
The decision to reinstitute another Berlin airlift would require extensive planning. Although plans exist which provide for the reestablishment of an airlift capable of delivering 200,000 tons per month to Berlin, it appears unlikely that sufficient aircraft would now be available for such employment due to their present concentration in the Pacific. Then, too, military leaders would be loath to commit a [Page 887] major portion of the Allied strategic transport force to an area where they would be exposed to destruction in the event of war with the USSR.
Undoubtedly the Soviet puppet, DDR, would take all measures necessary to blockade a second Berlin airlift. Soviet reluctance to apply the degree of force necessary to prevent the last airlift from succeeding dealt a serious blow to Soviet prestige. It is likely that the USSR would make certain that the DDR has sufficient resources either to prevent the airlift from being effective or to stop it altogether before the latter would be permitted to take any action whatsoever against the airlift. These measures might consist of the following:
All radios and radars connected with the airlift might be jammed and electric land lines through the Soviet Zone could be cut.
The airlift could be curtailed or stopped through the alleged training activities, such as anti-aircraft fire in the corridor, air ground gunnery, air to air gunnery, barrage balloons, and the like.
The subversive activities such as sabotage might cause a reduction of operations although such activities could be generally dealt with.

The institution of one or more of these measures could reduce the airlift to a Visual Flight Rules condition and thereby greatly curtail it or might even stop it completely. Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that a reinstituted Berlin airlift would not be effective for any length of time.

iv. stocking

Berlin now has sufficient civil stocks to enable the city to withstand a blockade of from 4 to 5 months (see Annex B). Tonnage required to raise this stock level from 5 months to one year is in the neighborhood of 475,066. Likewise, the monthly tonnage required to maintain Berlin without depleting her stocks would be approximately 200,000 tons. Therefore, an airlift of less than that capacity would result in a progressive depletion of stocks. It follows that under present conditions the Allies can look forward to a shortage of about 180,000 tons of supplies per month. In view of this situation, Allied authorities might agree to the re-establishment of a limited Berlin airlift. However, unless the world condition improves, it is doubtful if the Allies could commit their airlift resources to such a degree that Berlin could be maintained indefinitely, and should a full-scale airlift be re-established its effectiveness may be reduced by DDR action.

  1. Copies of this paper were transmitted to Washington in time for the September Foreign Ministers meeting. The source text subsequently was incorporated in NSC 89, “A Report to the National Security Council on United States Policy With Respect to Berlin and East Germany”, which was prepared by H. Freeman Matthews, Deputy Under Secretary of State, and George C. Marshall, Secretary of Defense, and dated October 20. Also included as parts of NSC 89 were a memorandum by James S. Lay, Jr., Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, which stated that the report was being circulated for the information of the NSC in connection with paragraph 42 of NSC 73/4 (vol. i, p. 375); a table of contents; a memorandum of transmission, dated October 19, from Matthews; and a copy of the Foreign Ministers agreement on Berlin Security (Document 27 (Revised), vol. iii, p. 1283); none printed here. The remaining part of NSC 89, a memorandum from Marshall, dated October 18, giving the JCS comments on “A Review of the Berlin Situation”, is printed, p. 893.
  2. The operation under reference here has not been identified further.
  3. For information on the Third SED Party Congress, July 20–24, in Berlin, see telegram 921, August 2, p. 964.