In June 1961, Nikita Khrushchev called Berlin "the most dangerous place on earth." American and Soviet fighting men and tanks stood only yards apart. Frederick Kempe talks about what made Berlin so dangerous. His book Berlin 1961 is based on a wealth of new documents and interviews, filled with fresh insights, and is a masterly look at key events of the 20th century, with powerful applications to these early years of the 21st century.
Some key takeaways:
- "Domestic politics drives foreign policy, even in authoritarian countries."
- "Checkpoint Charlie had greater potential for thermonuclear war than the Cuban Missile Crisis."
- "History doesn’t reveal its alternatives." – Brent Scowcroft in the book’s Foreword.
- "Our presidents come to office unprepared . . . match point on opening day."
Listen to the audio below:
Fred Kempe is president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. His latest book, Berlin 1961, was released on May 10.