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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Living in the Question? The Berlin Nuclear Crisis Critical Oral History

  • Author(s): Gould, Benina Berger
  • et al.

This research brings together the formal and informal historical voices of the Berlin Wall Crisis of 1961 and scrutinizes the questions asked by significant politicians, scholars, and students almost thirty years later. The formal history comes from Berlin Wall Critical Oral History meetings, held 1988 to 1990 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and includes primary sources about the crisis either written by the participants themselves or about their participation in the decision making during the Berlin Crisis. The informal history draws from memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, and written memos and letters found in archives. Anecdotal material drawn from the back-channeling correspondence between Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev and US president John F. Kennedy and personality profiles mandated by the US State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency are also included. The author investigates the link between memory and history. This working paper brings the reader into the mindset of the Berlin Crisis participants.

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