Berlin: Test of Nerve

Moscow last week seemed strangely quiet, becalmed by a news and diplomatic lull unparalleled in recent years. Virtually all the top Kremlin leaders were away from the capital, most of them probably down on the Black Sea coast talking business at Nikita Khrushchev's winter vacation spot. Hence the West's surprise when Moscow abruptly decided to heat up the Berlin crisis again with an ominous threat to the Allies' three air corridors that lead over Communist territory to the surrounded city.

It began with a bland request by the Soviet officer on duty at the four-power Berlin Air Safety Center: because...

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