Berlin 1961 : Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the most dangerous place on earth / Frederick Kempe.

  • New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons c2011
Physical description
xxv, 579 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
  • 9780399157295
  • Includes bibliographical references (p. [553]-563) and index.
  • Pt. 1 : The players. Khrushchev : communist in a hurry ; Marta Hillers's story of rape ; Khrushchev : the Berlin crisis unfolds ; Kennedy : a president's education ; The "sniper" comes in from the cold ; Kennedy : a first mistake ; Ulbricht and Adenauer : unruly alliances ; The failed flight of Friedrich Brandt ; Ulbricht and Adenauer : the tail wags the bear -- Pt. 2 : The gathering storm. Springtime for Khrushchev ; Amateur hour ; Jörn Donner discovers the city ; Perilous diplomacy ; Vienna : Little Boy Blue meets Al Capone ; Vienna : the threat of war ; Angry summer ; Marlene Schmidt, the universe's most beautiful refugee -- Pt. 3 : The showdown. "The great testing place" ; Ulbricht and Kurt Wismach lock horns ; The Wall : setting the trap ; The Wall : desperate days ; Eberhard Bolle lands in prison ; A hero's homecoming ; Nuclear poker ; Showdown at Checkpoint Charlie -- Epilogue: Aftershocks.
  • Bibliography
  • Illustrated
  • English


  • Based on a new documents and interviews, this work is a look at the Berlin Crisis of 1961, with powerful applications for the present. In June 1961, Nikita Khrushchev called it "the most dangerous place on earth." He knew what he was talking about. Much has been written about the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later, but the Berlin Crisis of 1961 was more decisive in shaping the Cold War, and more perilous. For the first time in history, American and Soviet fighting men and tanks stood arrayed against each other, only yards apart. One mistake, one overzealous commander, and the trip wire would be sprung for a war that would go nuclear in a heartbeat. On one side was a young, untested U.S. president still reeling from the Bay of Pigs disaster. On the other, a Soviet premier hemmed in by the Chinese, the East Germans, and hard liners in his own government. Neither really understood the other, both tried cynically to manipulate events. And so, week by week, the dangers grew.

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Location of copy Shelfmark Online location Holdings Notes
University of Cambridge Libraries: University Library: North Front, Floor 5 571:76.c.201.8
University of Essex: Albert Sloman Library, Colchester campus E 841.K4
King's College London Library: Maughan Library ; [LGF Humanities Books Store] E841 KEM
The London Library: London Library H. International Relations
University of Oxford Libraries: Pembroke College Library B 1.24 KEM
University of Oxford Libraries: Nuffield College Library: Tower open access E 841.K
Royal Holloway, University of London: Royal Holloway library Davison General Three Week 943.1550875 KEM
UCL Library Services: UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies Library G.IX.e.3 KEM