November 4, 2017

1949. Gloomy News Updates as East Berlin Celebrates an Anniversary

A Cold Day in Berlin
Lord Mayor Friedrich Ebert at a ceremony in Berlin to rename Wilhelmplatz "Thälmannplatz" on the one-year anniversary of the founding of the rump magistrate of East Berlin, November 30, 1949. The sign reads "Berlin ist die Hauptstadt der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik" ("Berlin is the capital of the German Democratic Republic") (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

November 30, 1949

The news from Germany this morning is as gloomy as the gray, cold, rainy day outside.

Exactly a year ago today the Communists of East Berlin divided this city into two parts by setting up a rump government in the Soviet sector, a political split that finally led to the division of the entire country and the establishment of two German nations.

The puppet Oberbürgermeister, Fritz Ebert, is marking the occasion today with a series of receptions and speeches and the reading of congratulatory messages from the Russians.

In American military headquarters in Heidelberg today, Army and Air Force officials begin a series of important conferences with atomic experts from the States. It is a routine meeting but serves to point up the perilous state of the peace which somehow is existent in the East-West Cold War.

From East Germany's Baltic coast this morning we have reports that Soviet occupation authorities have ordered immediate expansion of German shipbuilding yards at Rostock, Wismar, and other ports.

The purpose is to build minesweepers, destroyers, and submarines—reportedly a new type of submarine with a rocket type propulsion making it unnecessary for the craft to surface when on a mission.

The Communist press of East Berlin today calls the Atlantic Pact defense talks in Paris a conspiracy against peace, charging that the signal for full speed ahead has been given in the Western preparations for a war against the Soviet Union.

And to complete this list of depressing news from Germany is the tragic story of two brothers, aged 11 and 8, who last Sunday went into the ruins of a bombed building in the American sector to search for lead which they might sell to a junk dealer.

They kept their search a secret from their mother. They were inside the building when the walls suddenly collapsed. For the past three days firemen have been digging day and night through the tons of broken brick. There is little hope that the boys are alive.

The purpose of their search was to secure enough money to buy their mother a Christmas present.

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