City Councilor Ernst Reuter Appeals to the "People of the World" (September 9, 1948)
Because there were no Allied agreements on the right of the three Western powers to access Berlin from the Western Zones by land or water, the Soviet Union was able to blockade the routes in question on June 24, 1948. In response, the Western Allies launched the Berlin Airlift two days later. The blockade prompted numerous demonstrations in West Berlin, including one on the Platz der Republik on September 9, 1948. At this particular demonstration, Ernst Reuter – then a city councilor responsible for transportation and supply operations – made his now famous appeal: People of the world …. look upon this city! You cannot, you must not, forsake us! There is only one possibility for all of us: to stand together until this fight has been won, until the fight has finally been settled through victory over the enemies, through victory over the force of darkness." Reuter's speech drew international attention to the fate of the city. A few months later, he was elected mayor of Berlin. Photo by Benno Wundshammer.