COLD WAR: Rebellion in the Rain

By 7 a.m., the streets of East Berlin were alive with workers who would not work. Barehanded, they gathered in the grey morning rain. They wore the uniforms of their trades—masons in white overalls, carpenters in traditional black corduroy smocks, day laborers and factory hands in hobnailed boots and raveled suits.

Many were youths; some were peasants from outside the city. In mumbling columns that suggested disconnected centipede legs groping for a body, they streamed from all directions toward the center of East Berlin, where the Communist proconsuls rule.

Along Stalinallee, the newly constructed showplace of the East...

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