BERLIN COMMAND by Frank Howley


Email this review


As Deputy Commander of Military Government in Berlin --overseas for four frenzied years of ""cold war""- General Howley has a grim story to tell, a sort of ""now it can be told"" of his experiences in saving Berlin from the Russians. For that is what formed the kernel of his problems -- and he can write more honestly of it than can General Clay in his Decision in Germany which Doubleday is publishing February 9th. Howley went to Berlin with a confident faith in the working out of the tripartite plan (to which France was added). He had his first disillusionment when he reached the Elbe bridge and was halted by the Russians, detained, forced to reduce his already small forces, and eventually permitted to move into the designated American sector. From then on, through successive meetings of the Kommandatura, where the Russians held the whip handle, through a series of insults, slurs, deliberate interferences, through a barrage of propaganda intended to confuse the Germans, affairs moved steadily to the supreme insult of the blockade- and the unexpected retaliation in the success of the airlift. The story is told tersely, with no camouflage, but with occasional saving grace of humor, and a real sense of anecdote, human interest, and drama. Howley calls a spade a spade- names names- and at every turn bears witness to what a problem child he must have been to some of his superiors who came more slowly to a recognition of the futility of appeasement, the hopelessness of meeting the Russians on common ground. This is first rate reading- vastly more entertaining than Decision in Germany.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1949
Publisher: Putnam