April 18, 2022

1950. US Stages Armed Forces Day Parade in Berlin

American Forces March in Berlin
US Armed Forces Day demonstration at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin on May 20, 1950 (source)

Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

May 20, 1950

One hundred thousand Berliners are gathered at Tempelhof airdrome right now witnessing a spectacular, but token, demonstration of America's armed might. But the Armed Forces Day show is not designed so much for the people of this city as it is for the people behind whose Iron Curtain the parading is taking place.

America's top brass in Europe chose divided Berlin as the place where they would watch the Army, Navy, and Air Force parade. High Commissioner John McCloy and General Thomas Handy, commander of the US armed forces in Europe, arrived at Tempelhof by plane. Guests of honor included the British and French commandants. A Polish military representative showed up, but no Russian officers were on hand. They hadn't been invited.

A general invitation to the people of Berlin was extended and some appeared two hours ahead of time to be sure of getting a good viewpoint.

One of the last contacts we still have with the Russians in this country is being broken today. Since the end of the war, the four occupation powers have exchanged military liaison missions. A few days ago, the Russians announced they would take away the zonal passages of the American military mission in Potsdam and that movement of the mission would be restricted between their offices and their billets. The Americans, British, and French have retaliated with the same restrictions on the Soviet missions.

The news from East Germany this morning is a Russian announcement that 23 industries, claimed as Soviet property, have been returned to the Communist puppet government. The industries include several film studios, a bicycle factory, a typewriter plant, and a porcelain factory.

It is in line with the new Russian system of collecting reparations for the next 15 years—reparations will come out of current production. The Soviet authorities evidently feel that they will get more production out of German management than from under their own direction.

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