During the Cold War, Berlin served as a major strategic and political battleground between the United States and Soviet Union. The city was divided into East and West Berlin, with each side being occupied by different military forces. In this article, we will explore the troops that were stationed in Berlin during this period and their roles in the Cold War conflict.
1. United States Troops
The United States played a significant role in Berlin during the Cold War. American troops were stationed in West Berlin to ensure the defense and security of the city. The presence of these troops symbolized America’s commitment to its allies and their determination to protect West Berlin from Soviet aggression.
1.1. Berlin Brigade
The Berlin Brigade was a unit of the United States Army that was specifically assigned to West Berlin. It consisted of infantry, armor, and artillery units and was responsible for maintaining a strong military presence in the city.
The Berlin Brigade served as a deterrent against potential Soviet aggression. They conducted regular patrols along the Berlin Wall, monitored the border crossings, and ensured the safety of American citizens living in West Berlin.
1.2. United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)
Apart from ground troops, the United States also maintained a significant air presence in Berlin. The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) operated several air bases in West Berlin, including the famous Tempelhof and Tegel airports. These air bases served as crucial military installations, facilitating the movement of troops, supplies, and equipment.
2. Soviet Troops
On the other side of the Berlin Wall, Soviet troops were stationed in East Berlin. The Soviet Union maintained a large military presence to solidify its control over East Germany and East Berlin. These troops were part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSFG).
2.1. Soviet Army
The Soviet Army was the primary ground force deployed in East Berlin. It consisted of armored divisions, infantry units, and artillery. The Soviet Army played a crucial role in maintaining control over East Berlin, ensuring compliance with Soviet policies, and suppressing any opposition or attempts to escape to the West.
2.2. Soviet Air Forces
The Soviet Air Forces also had a significant presence in East Berlin. They operated from various air bases within East Germany, providing air support and defense capabilities for the Soviet Army in the region.
3. East German Troops
While the Soviet Union maintained control over East Berlin, East Germany had its own military force known as the National People’s Army (NVA). The NVA consisted of ground troops, air forces, and naval units.
3.1. Border Troops
The Border Troops were responsible for guarding the Berlin Wall and preventing unauthorized crossings from East to West Berlin. They were under the control of the NVA and worked closely with the Soviet Army to ensure the security of the border.
3.2. Combat Groups of the Working Class
Another significant paramilitary organization in East Berlin was the Combat Groups of the Working Class (Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse). While not officially part of the NVA, they were closely associated with it and served as a reserve force to support the regular armed forces.
4. French and British Troops
In addition to American and Soviet troops, British and French forces were also present in Berlin during the Cold War. Although their numbers were smaller compared to the United States and Soviet Union, they played a crucial role in protecting the interests of their respective countries.
The British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and the French Forces in Germany (FFG) were stationed in West Berlin, maintaining a strong military presence and contributing to the overall defense of the city.
During the Cold War, Berlin became the front line between the United States and Soviet Union. American troops, including the Berlin Brigade and USAFE, were stationed in West Berlin, ensuring its safety. The Soviet Union deployed the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSFG) along with the Soviet Army and Air Forces in East Berlin. East Germany had its own military force, the National People’s Army (NVA), with the Border Troops guarding the Berlin Wall. Additionally, British and French troops were stationed in West Berlin.
The city of Berlin symbolized the ideological and military standoff between the East and the West during the Cold War. The troops stationed there represented the clash of political ideologies and the determination to maintain control and defend their respective territories.