Senior Fellow Richard Reeves‘ book Daring Young Men: The Heroism and Triumph of The Berlin Airlift-June 1948 – May 1949 has been named the “Best History Book” of the past year by the Book of the Month Club. The book is also on the required reading list issued annually by the Air Force Chief of Staff.
Here is a small excerpt from Reeves’ acclaimed book:
The Newsweek headline was “dateline germany, 1948: the Big Retreat.”
The dispatch below was from James O’Donnell, the magazine’s Berlin bureau chief, reporting on the exodus of American and British officials and soldiers from the city as the Soviet Union took complete control of the old German capital.
After the Russians claimed control, O’Donnell reported, General Lucius Clay, the American military governor of Germany, had cabled Washington that he intended to order B29 Superfortresses to begin attacking Soviet installations across Germany — and beyond. Washington responded, “Withdraw to Frankfurt.”
Then, the Newsweek story continued, “At 1000 hours Saturday, the American cavalcade rendezvoused with the British…The bedraggled and demoralized caravan proceeded along the 117 miles of Autobahn to Helmstedt in the British zone…”
At the bottom of the two-column account, published on August 8, 1947, Newsweek added that the story was a fantasy, but still a plausible scenario:
This fantasy does not sound so fantastic in Berlin as it does in the United States. For the German capital has been buzzing with rumors that the Western Allies would this winter recognize the irrevocable division of Germany and pull out of Berlin. The Germans probably envision some dramatic exodus. Actually, policy makers in Washington have seriously considered quietly leaving Berlin for the Russians to rule — and feed.
You read the first chapter of “Daring Young Men: The Heroism and Triumph of The Berlin Airlift-June 1948 – May 1949” on Wall Street Journal Online.