In what way was Berlin's location a problem for the Western powers?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Berlin’s location was a problem for the Western powers because it was deep inside the Soviet zone of occupation, which later became East Germany.

At the end of World War II, the Allies divided Germany up into four zones of occupation, each to be run by one power.  They also divided Berlin into four zones.  The Western Allies soon consolidated their three zones into one zone.  Their part of Berlin came to be called West Berlin and their part of Germany came to be called West Germany.

It was important for all four parties to hold part of Berlin.  This was because Berlin was the symbolic heart of Germany.  If either side had held Berlin exclusively, it would have had more of a moral and psychological claim to be in control of the “real” Germany. 

This is why Berlin was a problem for the West.  The West needed to maintain a major presence in West Berlin in order to retain its ability to claim that it held the “real” Germany.  However, Berlin was deep inside enemy territory, with no land access except through that territory.  This meant that Berlin could easily become a focal point for conflict and crisis, as it did in both 1948 and 1961.

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