May 21, 2017

1949. Soviets Mark the Fourth Anniversary of Victory Day

Soviet War Memorial Inaugurated in Treptower Park
The Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park in East Berlin on July 19, 1961 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

May 8, 1949

Today is V-E Day plus four years in Germany. Here in Berlin it has meant only that the bloodiest military struggle in history with the Germans has been replaced by history's most exasperating political struggle over the Germans.

The Soviet military government today is dedicating its giant memorial to the Russian soldiers who died in the capture of Berlin. Located in Treptow, it is an impressive affair containing the mass graves of thousands of Soviet soldiers. Atop the main mausoleum is a large statue of a Russian soldier, a child on one arm and with a sword in the other.

The Russian-licensed German press today marks the fourth anniversary of victory in Europe with the usual attacks on Western democracy charging that another war is in the making. They also demand the withdrawal of occupation troops. The Communist press makes no mention of the historic lesson in the presence of the legions of Russian troops in Treptow who will never leave Germany.

The newspapers in blockaded Berlin also comment on this anniversary with a history of disagreements during the past four years that has brought about the present East-West crisis. The interesting thing is that not a single German publication even hints that Germany might have had a part in making this V-E Day an anniversary—an anniversary of the second defeat of German totalitarian expansionism.

In Bonn today the West German parliamentary council is expected to pass the final draft of the Basic Law which will form the foundation of the West German republic. The three Western military governors will approve it on Thursday.

The Communist-led People's Congress has sent a memorandum to the Big Four foreign ministers in Paris asking for the unification of Germany and for a peace treaty.

Britain's foreign minister, Ernest Bevin, has been having a look at the airlift this morning. He is now speaking to the city council of blockaded Berlin, and in a few hours from now will make a statement to correspondents here.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.