From the Stars and Stripes archives

Reds stage quiet rally in Berlin

Scenes from a September, 1948 Communist rally in Berlin's Lustgarten Square.


By FROM UNITED PRESS Published: September 14, 1948

BERLIN, Sept. 12 — An estimated crowd of more than 75,000, mostly unenthusiastic, Germans flocked to Berlin's Lustgarten Square today to hear Communist leaders denounce Western Allied influences in Berlin and Germany.

The three-hour meeting was highlighted by its quiet orderliness. There was no sign of violence nor any attempt to stage a mass march into the Western sectors of this troubled city.

Elaborate preparations had been made by American and British military police and troop units to preserve order should the assemblage march on the four-power Allied headquarters.

Russian Lt Gen Gordojev, chief of the Soviet Victims of Fascism delegation to a two-day meeting here, told the crowd that imperialistic American policies were pushing the world toward war.

"The fight goes on." he shouted. "In one camp are (American) imperialists, in the other (Soviet) democrats ... The imperialists are growing weaker and weaker."

"For the unity of Germany, all occupation troops and occupation authorities should be withdrawn, followed by a complete rebuilding of Germany's political system," he declared.

Demonstrators began arriving at the Lustgarten shortly after 10 am for the scheduled noon meeting. They came in long, weaving columns carrying Red banners and singing the Communist Internationale.

The crowd, which had melted to fewer than 50,000 by the time speakers began talking, applauded politely but without the usual gusto normally expected at Communist rallies.

Russian-controlled Radio Berlin said the crowd totaled 400,000.

Today's meeting climaxed a Russian-sponsored two-day victims of fascism convention.

Three large funeral pyres, symbolic of the thousands of victims of fascism, blazed in the square. Thousands of wreaths were placed on the steps of the huge stone museum building which bordered it from the south.

Conspicuously missing from the row of 20 flags was the Star Spangled Banner. Britain's Union Jack was present.

Hundreds of demonstrators began drifting away from the crowded square even before speakers mounted the rostrum.

Some of the speakers were ironically drowned out by roar of American planes on the air lift to Berlin.