As generations have come of age with few or no recollections of the existence of the Soviet Union, a standard false impression about Berlin has change into extra frequent. As a result of the German capital was divided between the previous East and West Germany, it’s straightforward to imagine that it should have lay on the border between the 2 states. In reality, the entire of Berlin, East and West, was utterly surrounded by East Germany, and to drive from West Germany to West Berlin entailed greater than 100 miles on the autobahn by way of Soviet territory. How, precisely, this was achieved is totally defined in “Destination Berlin,” the 1988 video from the Royal Navy Police above.
“You do not want to fret in regards to the journey,” says the northern-accented narrator, an announcement that fairly undercuts it personal supposed message. And few drivers, affiliated with the British army or in any other case, might watch the fabric that follows with out speculating on the host of false strikes that might end in an involuntary prolonged keep on the flawed aspect of the Iron Curtain.
You need to by no means pull off at a relaxation cease. In the event you break down on the freeway, you need to settle for help solely from Allied drivers. When saluted by any of the Soviet officers inevitably encountered alongside the journey, “you need to, regardless of your intercourse, standing, or type of gown, return his salute.”
“Must you be spoken to by a Soviet or East German nationwide,” the narrator explains, “you need to do the next: keep in mind as a lot element in regards to the dialog as you may, in addition to the bodily description, gown, and rank of the person. Stay non-committal all through, and don’t comply with something.” (And keep in mind, “you solely appeal to consideration to your self by talking in Russian to the Soviet checkpoint personnel, so don’t do it.”) These stern warnings evoke the Chilly Struggle period as powerfully because the audiovisual manufacturing of “Vacation spot Berlin” itself, even within the minds of those that didn’t stay by way of it. May anybody watching again in 1988 — anxious about simply which paperwork to current at which guard stations, to say nothing of the potential geopolitical penalties of a fender-bender — have imagined that the Berlin Wall would fall the very subsequent 12 months?
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Associated content material:
Louis Armstrong Plays Historic Cold War Concerts in East Berlin & Budapest (1965)
Protect and Survive: 1970s British Instructional Films on How to Live Through a Nuclear Attack
Bruce Springsteen Plays East Berlin in 1988: I’m Not Here For Any Government. I’ve Come to Play Rock
The East German Secret Police’s Illustrated Guide for Identifying Youth Subcultures: Punks, Goths, Teds & More (1985)
The Psychedelic Animated Video for Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” from 1979
Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His initiatives embody the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the guide The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by way of Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The City in Cinema. Observe him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.