ily] occupied in the Karshorst residentialnarea [the ‘East Zone’] wasnanything but palatial, but the rentnwas cheap.”nHow can one flee to freedom if thenrent is cheaper in a Soviet colony? True,nin the Soviet colony an apartment rentnis no rent. No one can rent a dwelling.nA dwelling is “issued” to one, as innmedieval serfdom, one sticks to it allnone’s life, and pays a “rent.” But whatnreally matters is that this medieval-serfn”rent” is lower than the rent in WestnBerlin. Georg (the husband) tried tonmake his wife see the light. Did he readnto her that famous German poem proclaimingnthat “only he is worthy ofnfreedom who can fight for it every day”.-*n”Georg finally managed to convincenher that a higher salary [of a degreeholdingnengineer in West Berlin]nwould enable him to pay the highernrents encountered in the West.”nStill, his wife was wavering. The argumentnand discussion went on forn”weeks, indeed, months.” Finally, hisnwife made up her mind. Surely she hadnnot read “On Liberty.” But Milkena (anbaby food) was on sale in West Berlin,nand not in the Soviet colony.nGate describes the observations ofnPatrick Habans of Paris-Match whennBerlin had already been divided bynbarbed wire, but some East Berlinersnmanaged to make a gap in the fence andnescape.n”But what amazed Habans was thennumber who stayed behind, simplynstanding around to watch the fun.nHolding the wire open for them tonslip through, the young man keptnpleading with his fellow East Berlinersnto avail themselves of this chancenof escaping. But only a handful—perhapsnnot more than fifty or sixty —ntook advantage of this opportunity,nwhereas the crowd behind, so itnseemed to Habans, now numberednin the thousands.”nIt is a sterling merit of the book thatnwhile obviously inspired by the conceptnof freedom, Gate does not idealize humanityn(the Germans, in the presentncase), though he is not bitter about itneither. He describes these human beingsnas they really were, with detachmentnand sympathy. And it is apparentnfrom his description, if Germany is anfair sample, that in all countries, Eastnand West, very few are strongly motivatednby freedom as such. If we stillnhave freedom in the United States, itsnedifice rests on a very few shouldersnwhile most are sheer consumers, consumingnwhile consumption is good.nLike all Soviet strategic actions,nwhether the invasion of Czechoslovakianin 1968 or the coup in Afghanistan inn1978, the creation of the Berlin Wallnwas a highly efficient operation, swift,nresolute, impeccably planned and executed.nGate shows this convincingly.nAmericans who laugh at Soviet inefficiencynin the production of electricnshavers or the growth of vegetables,nshould remember that only those whonlaugh last laugh well, and the invaderngets all, including the shavers andnvegetables.nAs usual, the response of the relevantnWestern bureaucracies was self-defeating,nlackadaisical, indifferent. In thingsnstrategic, these bureaucracies performnvery much like the Soviet bureaucraciesnmanage the production of consumerngoods, except that to their inefficiency.nWestern bureaucrats add ignorance, ineptitudenand the indolence of the 18thncentury French Court.n”For reasons that are still obscure, thenfirst message about the crisis in Berlin,nwhich the White House duty officernhad promised to transmit tonHyannis Port at eight o’clock in thenmorning, failed to get through to JohnnKennedy. Or if it was delivered, thenmessage was so vague that it seemednunimportant. Shortly after 10:00 a.m.nthe president and Mrs. Kennedy leftntheir gabled cottage and drove to thenSt. Francois Xavier Church in Hvan-nnnnis Port for Sunday morning mass.nAccording to Kenneth O’Donnell’snpresidential appointments Ixiok, theynleft the church thirty-five minutesn• later and were back at the cottage byna quarter to eleven.n”Shortly afterward, John Kennedy,naccompanied by Jackie, Caroline, andnother members of the family, set outnon the ‘Marlin’ for a midday cruise.nThe weather could hardly have beennbetter. There were few clouds in thensky, and there was a refreshing tenknotnbreeze blowing from the north.nThis time their destination was GreatnIsland, where they were to have lunchnat the Mellon Beach House with JohnnWalker, director of Washington’s NationalnGallery of Art, and his wife.”nBesides, there was some logic in doingnnothing about the Berlin Wall. Afternall, in 1945 Franklin Delano Rooseveltngave Eastern Europe to the Soviet rengime. Formerly, logic had been that thenSoviet rulers were entitled to conquernand assimilate territories within thenformer Russian Empire: the British Empirencould not do it, of course, but thenRussian Empire, allegedly reincarnatednin its destroyers, was entitled to keepnevery inch of its territory. But in ’45nRoosevelt gave away territories whichnhad never been part of the Russian Empire.n(A frequent explanation is thatnpoor Roosevelt was so sick he did notnknow what he was doing, and my objectionnis that if he was so sick, why didn’tnhe retire.” Was his stay in office for anothernmonth more important to himnthan half of Europe.’) The rest is certainlyna corollary. If Koenigsberg ornPrague could be given to the Soviet regime,nwhy not half of Berlin.” Or halfnof New York, for that matter.? Thenother half could probably go to the rulersnof mainland China.n1 hose who accept the Berlin Wallnas a humdrum reality will accept anythingnin the same spirit. This is whatnGate reminds us with his excellentlynresearched study. Dn^^^mmmm^ii^XlnChronicles of Ctilturen