Kennedy and the Berlin Wall
Oct 1, 2009
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W.R. Smyser talked about his book Kennedy and the Berlin Wall: A Hell of a Lot Better than a War
(Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; August 28, 2009). In his book Mr. Smyser, former U.S. diplomat to Germany, recounts .. Read More
W.R. Smyser talked about his book Kennedy and the Berlin Wall: A Hell of a Lot Better than a War (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; August 28, 2009). In his book Mr. Smyser, former U.S. diplomat to Germany, recounts the Berlin crisis of 1961-1963. Mr. Smyser was a special assistant to General Lucius Clay, President Kennedy’s representative in Berlin during the crisis when the wall was first built. He recounts the meetings between President Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, the threat of nuclear conflict, and the political fallout from the construction of the Berlin Wall. Mary Beth Stein and R. Gerald Livingston commented on the book and joined in a discussion with Mr. Smyster, who also responded to questions from members of the audience. Bernd Schaefer moderated this book event sponsored by the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
W. R. Smyser served at the U.S. Mission in Berlin from 1960 to 1964 and was special assistant to General Lucius Clay during the Berlin Wall crisis. He later served on Henry Kissinger’s staff and was assistant secretary of State and assistant secretary-general of the U.N. He is the author of several books, including From Yalta to Berlin: The Cold War Struggle Over Germany. He is currently a adjunct German and European Studies professor at Georgetown University.