The Day Before the Berlin Wall Construction Warning Sign  
The Day Before the Berlin Wall:
Could We Have Stopped It?
An Alternate History of Cold War Espionage
2014 is the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Soon to be in its third edition
25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

National Indie Excellence Book Award 2011

Branson Stars and Flags Book Award 2011

From T.H.E. Hill, the author of
Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary

The plot is based on a "legend" that was still being told by U.S. Army soldiers in Berlin in the mid-1970s. According to the legend, we had advance knowledge of the wall, and we knew that the East-German troops who were going to build it had been told to halt construction if the Americans were to take aggressive action to stop them.

The Day Before the Berlin Wall was written because Hill could not believe that we had the intelligence that would have allowed us to stop the Wall being built and did not take action on it. He wanted to explore the possibilities of keeping Berlin from becoming the epicenter of the Cold War, and liberating a whole generation of East Germans from tyranny.

In Hill's version of the tale, a young American sergeant is the one who gets this piece of intelligence, but he is in East Berlin and has to get back to his unit to report it. The Stasi (the East German secret police) are prepared to kill to keep him from reporting it. They have killed his postmistress, and framed him for her murder. Now it is not only the Stasi, and the Vopos (the East-German "People's" Police), but also the West-Berlin municipal Polizei and the U.S. Army MPs who are after him. It’s the day before construction is scheduled to start, and time is running out, so the sergeant is running as fast as he can to prevent the wall from being built, and to keep himself out of jail.

The key question of the novel is “even if he is lucky enough to make it back across the border, will anybody in the West believe what he has to say and take action on it before it is too late?” History says that he either didn’t make it, they didn’t believe him, or they ignored his information. Join T.H.E. Hill in this alternate history of Cold War espionage to find out what might have happened.

There is an encrypted mesage on page 112. Try your hand at breaking it in our Cryptologic Contest.

Berlin in Early Berlin-Wall Era CIA, State Department, and Army Booklets

Published in 2014, the 25th Annniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Learn more about the historical context of The Day Before the Berlin Wall in the non-fiction Berlin in Early Berlin-Wall Era CIA, State Department, and Army Booklets. They cover the period from 1958 to 1966, spanning  the critical year in which the Wall was built: 1961.

These booklets have a historical value that is greater than the sum of the individual booklets in isolation. The booklets all represent three different perspectives of Berlin: practical, rhetorical, and pragmatic.

  • The CIA Berlin Handbook is practical.
  • The State Department Background Berlin is rhetorical.
  • Berlin Brigade Special Services Presents Berlin is pragmatic.

The Day Before the Berlin Wall was written for the same reasons that Frederick Kempe wrote his well-received Berlin 1961 (May 2011). In an interview posted on, Kempe says: "The Cold War is still the least understood and worst reported of our three world wars. Berlin was its epicenter. The year 1961 was the most decisive. I wanted to tell the story of that year. And I wanted to tell it through its protagonists, as rich a cast of characters as history could provide. I also wanted to satisfy my own questions about whether the Berlin Wall could have been avoided—and whether the Cold War could have been ended much earlier. Might we have been able to help liberate a whole generation of Eastern Europeans—tens of millions of people—three decades earlier?"

You can read his whole insightful interview here.

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