March 12, 1959

BERLIN AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Washington, 11 – US President Dwight D. Eisenhower made an extremely interesting statement at a press conference today: that a war for Berlin, if it ever happens, will not be waged by land forces in Europe. «We,» said the president, «will not wage a land war in Europe, where Russia has 23 brigades in East Germany and another 150 to back up its positions in Eastern Europe and Russia itself. Nuclear war is a terrible and expensive type of war and self-defeating, but it cannot be ruled out.» Furthermore, President Eisenhower made it clear that a battle for Berlin would rapidly and immediately lead to an all-out nuclear conflict between the Western forces and Russia. He gave a realistic image of the small guard in West Berlin as being afloat in an ocean of red armies. «West Berlin is an island in the midst of communist territories linked to the West only by certain transportation lines. The Western guard, consisting of thousands of men, could easily be defeated by the red forces surrounding Berlin. Therefore, it is not a significant factor in the city’s defense but only a symbol that shows the Western forces are determined to fight for West Berlin if it comes under communist attack.»

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