Truman Plaza

In Dahlem, near the old center of Dahlem Dorf, lies across from the current Embassy of the United States at the Clayallee, next to Truman Plaza, the Allied Museum. The exhibit can be viewed for free and is called “Mission Accomplished.” Located in an old US Theater “Outpost” and the adjoining building of the Nicholson Memorial Library, the museum houses relicts from the Cold War. Best known of course, is the original wooden front of Checkpoint Charlie inside the Nicholson Memorial Library and the later guard house of Checkpoint Charlie at the entrance square. Also to be found in the square are a DDR guard tower which once stood at Potsdammer Platz and three slices of the Berlin Wall, a French military train wagon that was used for the only direct train connection from Strassbourg to Berlin and a French plain, which was part of the Air Lift.

The current US Embassy, which will be replaced by a newly designed and to be build embassy at the Französischer Platz at the Brandenburger Tor, is a beautiful building in Nazi style and served formerly as the Head Quarters of the Allied occupational forces in Berlin. The building is unfortunately hardly accessible because of strong security measures and an impressive gate.

The Allied Museum itself, like for instance the Stasi Museum, is only a small and cosy museum which, thank god, passed by the wave of musea renovations in the late 90s, which turned every museum into a education center for the family, with plenty of interactive toys. It attracts only a small number of tourists, probably mostly former US Army members. But the atmosphere in the museum is welcoming. It allows the visitor to quietly walk around, not feeling chasted by an impatient and suspicious room guard.

The Nicholson Memorial Library contains spy paraphernalia, amongst which a reconstruction of the famous spy tunnel from the fifties, which allowed the Allies to tab communications by the Soviets, a Jeep and Mercedes all-terrain vehicle used by the Allies in Berlin reconnaissance, a documentation station with access to Allied, Soviet and DDR documents related to Cold War activities in Berlin, and a video display of spy and reconnaissance operations. The former US Theater “Outpost” contains information from the early years after the war, from the capitulation, like original front pages from newspapers of the day after German capitulation by General Doenitz, announcing Hitler’s Death, German capitulation and the fall of Berlin to the Soviets, to the process of denazification and the Berlin Bloccade and Air Lift. The most daring logistical project of the time, certainly. Don’t forget to turn over the pages of the guest book of the museum, with many comments by Allied veterans!

In combination with the airport Tempelhof (go and see before it closes down), with the Memorial to the Air Lift at the Platz der Luftbrücke, the museum provides a vivid memory of the (symbolical) importance of the liberation and defense of Berlin, during the time of Air Lift from 24 June 1948 to May 1949.

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One thought on “Truman Plaza

  1. GMc

    Hurts everyday to see the plaza flattened to nothing. I pretty much grew up there and it truly was a second home. Childhood hurts ._.

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