Explore with our guide a piece of West Berlin history during this individual bus tour for your group.
The Allied Control Council
After the Second World War, the Allied Control Council was set up by the occupying powers as the supreme occupation authority for Germany west of the Oder-Neisse line and exercised the highest governmental authority. Its seat was in Berlin and it consisted of the military governors of the four occupation zones in Germany. He issued so-called Control Council laws and other directives that applied to all occupation zones and had to be decided unanimously. Their execution was at the discretion of the military governors; in the event of irreconcilable differences in the Control Council, each of them had the right to make their own decisions in their zone on the instructions of their government. For this reason there was, as it were, a “right of veto” in questions of the victorious powers’ common policy on Germany, which allowed each occupying power to take its own path in its zone. After the Soviet representative had left the Control Council on March 20, 1948 against the background of the beginning Cold War, the latter practically ceased its activities. The Allied Control Council was founded on the London Agreement on Control Institutions in Germany of 11 November 1944 and the Berlin Declaration of Four Powers of 5 June 1945.
City Hall Schöneberg
Schöneberg City Hall is the town hall of the Berlin district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg. From 1949 to 1993 the Berlin House of Representatives met here and from 1949 to 1991 it was the seat of the Governing Mayor. After its completion in 1914, it was the town hall of the independent city of Schöneberg until 1920. From 1920 until the district merger in 2001 it housed the administration of the then Berlin district of Schöneberg.
During the time of Berlin’s division, important events in the city’s history took place here:
the handing over of the Liberty Bell on October 21, 1950
On 26 June 1963, John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech on the square in front of the town hall, in which he made the historic confession “Ich bin ein Berliner
This is where the demonstration began on 2 June 1967 in West Berlin against the state visit of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, during which the student Benno Ohnesorg was shot dead.
The broadcasting centre in Berlin-Schöneberg
The RIAS (Radio in the American Sector) was a radio station based in the West Berlin district of Schöneberg (Kufsteiner Straße), which was founded by the US military administration after the Second World War and broadcast two radio programmes from 1946 to 1993 and one television programme from 1988 to 1992.
RIAS was founded immediately after the Second World War in the destroyed Berlin, which was divided into four sectors. The reason for this was the refusal of the Soviet Military Administration SMAD to grant the Western victorious powers broadcasting time on Berlin Radio. As a result, the Americans and the British made arrangements to set up independent radio stations in their sectors. There was a lack of their own terrestrial transmitters, so on 17 December 1945 the U.S. Headquarters, Berlin District, ordered that the (largely underground and intact) telephone cables be used for signal transmission – so-called wire radio. The transmitter was under the direct supervision of the Information Services Control Section. The first broadcasts were made from February 1946 onwards under the name of wire radio in the American Sector (DIAS); the broadcasting studio was located in the Winterfeldtstrasse Telecommunications Office in Schöneberg. Until 1949, radio newspapers in the eastern sector of the city still printed the programme of the new western station. In 1949, the East German Government declared RIAS to be a propaganda instrument of the political opponent. The RIAS, it was said, softened the socialist consciousness with false reports and created “music traps” for the blameless listener. The “RIAS duck” became a common term in East Germany propaganda of the 1950s. The East German leadership systematically disrupted the RIAS and justified this by saying: “The station is financed via covered channels of the Central Intelligence Agency, which, through the station, covered the GDR with American propaganda. In numerous East German criminal trials in the 1950s, the RIAS’ unauthorised listening was a leading theme of the public prosecutor’s office. In 1955, the Stasi functionary Erich Mielke ordered “Aktion Enten” to identify RIAS informants in East Germany and bring them to trial. In June 1955, this led to the RIAS trial, which ended with long prison sentences and a death sentence.
The RIAS building was located at 69 Kufsteiner Strasse.
The Allied Museum
Under the title “How Enemies Became Friends,” the Allied Museum tells an extraordinary story full of tension and drama. It begins with the defeat of the Germans in World War II.
A few months after the Red Army invaded Berlin, the troops of the United States, Great Britain and France followed as victors and occupiers in the summer of 1945. Together with the war ally, the Soviet Union, the German Reich was to be liberated from National Socialism.
But it came to a conflict. The Western victorious powers wanted to rebuild Germany on the basis of freedom and democracy. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, used its communist social system as a model. Berlin became one of the most important scenes of those conflicts that went down in history as the Cold War. More than once it threatened to become “hot” here.
Nevertheless, in 1989/90 German unification took place in peace and freedom. What role did the Western powers play in this process? Above all: How did it come about that they left the city again after almost 50 years as allies and friends?
The traces of these eventful times are still present in this historic place today. The Allied Museum is located in the middle of the former American sector.