The time is the 1950s, the place is Berlin
Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary
 
Americans in Berlin
A Cinderella-Stamp Commemorative Issue

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Berli Brigade 1945

Berlin Brigade (1945)

The American flag was officially raised for the first time in occupied Berlin on July fourth, 1945, and the value of this stamp represents the year in which the Americans arrived in Berlin to defend the cause of freedom east of the Elbe.
The emblem on this stamp is the patch worn by members of the U.S. Forces in Berlin. The patch as originally worn by members of the Allied Expeditionary Force that liberated Europe had a black background to symbolize the darkness of the oppression that held Europe in its grip. Following the Allied Victory, the black background changed to blue to reflect the lifting of that darkness. The flaming sword on the patch is the “Sword of Freedom,” the light of which rent the darkness of Europe’s oppression asunder.


The U.S. Headquarters Compound was located in the Zehlendorf district of Berlin on the corner of Saargemuender Straße and Clayallee, named for General Lucius D. Clay (1897–1978), who from 1947 to 1949 was the Military Governor of the U.S. Zone of Germany, and the “father” of the Berlin Airlift (1948-49).

Berlin Air Lift Stamp

The Berlin Airlift (1948-1949)

In 1948 the Soviets tried to push the Western Allies out of Berlin by requiring that all Western convoys to Berlin, which of necessity transited the Soviet Zone, be searched. The Allies, however, rejected this demand, and the Soviets stopped all surface traffic to the city. Thus besieged, the city’s three Western sectors faced starvation without supplies from the West.


General Lucius D. Clay issued orders for the Airlift, which were confirmed by President Truman, contrary to the advice of many of his advisers. Ultimately the Airlift lasted 324 days. It enabled Berlin to survive the abnormally harsh winter of 1948-49, by transporting over two million tons of supplies in 270,000 flights.
The number 70 on the Berlin Airlift stamp represents the number of American (31) and British (39) pilots and aircrew who lost their lives during the Airlift, and whose names are listed on the monument, with the inscription: “They gave their lives for the freedom of Berlin in service for the Berlin Airlift 1948/49”.

Field Station Berlin Stamp

Field Station Berlin (Teufelsberg)

The distinctive silhouette of the former U.S. Army Field Station Berlin atop Teufelsberg (“Devil’s Mountain”) is a defining feature of the Berlin skyline. It can be seen for miles in every direction. This unique silhouette is a visible reminder of the resolve of the Western Allies to defend Berlin during the Cold War, and of Allied friendship with the newly reunited Germany and with Europe.


Teufelsberg is where peace was built atop a pile of rubble from the destruction of World War II. From this commanding height, and from other sites spread throughout Berlin, the members of Field Station Berlin and its predecessor organizations stood steadfastly shoulder-to-shoulder with the West Berliners during the Cold War, resolutely ensuring that the island of freedom known as “West Berlin” remained free. They were “On Watch” twenty-four hours a day, every day, seven days a week (24/7) throughout the Cold War, helping to prevent the Cold War from turning hot and creating more rubble.


The depiction of the Teufelsberg silhouette on this stamp recognizes their efforts to win the peace, which were crowned with success when the Berlin wall fell on 9 November 1989.

Semper Vigilis

Learn how you can help Save Teufelsberg, as a permanent visible reminder of the countless men and women of the Allied Armed Forces who resolutely stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the West Berliners during the Cold War, ensuring that the island of freedom known as "West Berlin" remained free.

Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Twentieth Anniversary of the
Fall of the Berlin Wall

In Berlin, John F. Kennedy once said: “Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.” The men and women of the American Berlin Brigade felt this same sense of pride in being Berliners, perhaps even more strongly than Kennedy, because they actually lived in Berlin, and shared the fate of those whom it was their duty to defend.


While in Kennedy’s day the Wall was “the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system, for all the world to see,” today it is gone.


Kennedy looked forward to the day “when this city will be joined as one,” adding that “when that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost [four and a half] decades.” Though Kennedy did not live to see it, that day has come.
This stamp is intended as an obvious and vivid demonstration of the “sober satisfaction” felt not just by the members of the Allied Military Forces who stood watch in West Berlin during the Cold War, but also by the Berliners themselves.

Berlin Brigade 1994

Berlin Brigade (1994)

Berlin Brigade was considered an elite unit, and prospective assignees were carefully screened, because they guarded an Outpost of Freedom 110 miles behind the Iron Curtain that was constantly in the spotlight of world attention. All those privileged to serve with Berlin Brigade can proudly claim the title “Defenders of Freedom.”

The Allied Museum located in the former “Outpost” movie theater for U.S. Forces in Berlin describes the history of the three Western Allied Powers in post-war Berlin as a “fairy tale” with a happy ending. American, British, and French forces marched into Berlin in July 1945, as “victors and occupiers,” but they left, almost 50 years later, in 1994, as “friends and allies.” This change is symbolized in the design above by the replacement of the flaming sword of the victors with the Bear who inhabits the civilian crest of the city of Berlin.

The value of this stamp represents the year in which the Americans left Berlin.
Those who served there still have a suitcase in Berlin.

To learn more about Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary, follow the links below.

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