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Condemnation of the Wall by the West German Government (August 18, 1961)

Speaking in the Bundestag, i.e. federal parliament, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer denounces the building of the Wall as proof of the bankruptcy of the East German dictatorship. He blames the Soviet Union for violating the Four-Power status of Berlin and calls for a solution to the German question through the “right to self-determination.”

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Konrad Adenauer, Bundestag Speech of August 18, 1961

The rulers of the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany have brought traffic between the Soviet sector and the three Western sectors of Berlin almost to a complete standstill since the early morning hours of August 13th. Barbed-wire entanglements have been erected along the sector border; large units from the People’s Police and the border police have taken up position on the sector boundary in order to block all traffic between East and West Berlin. At the same time, troops of the National People’s Army have been deployed in East Berlin.

These measures to cordon off [East Berlin] were taken on the basis of an August 12th resolution by the rulers of the Soviet-occupied zone. With the implementation of that resolution, the Ulbricht regime made a clear and unmistakable declaration of the political bankruptcy of its sixteen-year reign of tyranny to the whole world.

(Applause from CDU/CSU and FDP.)

With these measures, the Ulbricht regime had to admit that it is not carried forth and supported by the free will of the German people living in the zone. With these measures, the Ulbricht regime has confirmed that the exercise of the right to self-determination by the German people should no longer be delayed for the sake of maintaining world peace!

(Applause from CDU/CSU and SPD.)

These illegal measures, which the Federal Government has taken note of with concern and repugnance, stand in stark contrast to the Four-Power agreements on freedom of movement within Greater Berlin and to those Four-Power agreements that address the regulation of traffic between Berlin and the Soviet-occupied zone.

By blocking traffic between East and West Berlin, the zone regime has unilaterally and brutally violated the existing Four-Power agreements on Berlin that are recognized by the USSR to this day.

The Federal Government notes with deep regret that this despotic act has been carried out with the approval of the government of the USSR as the leading power in the Warsaw Pact. By giving this approval, the Soviet Government has contradicted its own constant assertions about wanting to solve the problem of Germany and Berlin by means of negotiations. Whereas the American president, during his most recent press conference on August 10, newly expressed the readiness of the U.S. Government to engage in negotiations on the problem of Germany and Berlin, the rulers of the Soviet-occupied zone reacted to the Western desire for peace and negotiations with military measures. This reaction demonstrates to the whole world – more strikingly than words ever could – that the present crisis has been triggered solely by the Soviet policy on Germany and Berlin.

(Applause from CDU/CSU and FDP.)

[ . . . ]

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