Berlin Reacts to the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

After President John F. Kennedy’s triumphant June 1963 visit to West Berlin to show support for that city and his famous proclamation “Ich bin ein Berliner,” it should not be surprising that citizens of West Berlin reacted strongly to the President’s assassination.[1]

The U.S. Mission Berlin (USBER) sent the following telegram reporting the reaction of citizens of that city in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

US POL 15-1 US[Kennedy.Berlin 718

U.S. Mission Berlin to Department of State, Telegram 718, November 23, 1963, file POL 15-1 US/Kennedy, 1963 Subject-Numeric File (NAID 580618), RG 59: General Records of the Department of State.  Original document now filed as part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection as document 1191001310244

Willy Brandt, Mayor of West Berlin sent the following message to President Johnson and personally attended President Kennedy’s funeral.

US POL 15-1 US[Kennedy.State 445.Brandt

Willy Brandt to Lyndon B. Johnson, Telegram (copy), file POL 15-1 US/Kennedy, 1963 Subject-Numeric File (NAID 580618), RG 59. This copy now filed as part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection as document 1191000710290

On November 25, the day of President Kennedy’s funeral, Berlin held a memorial rally.  USBER sent the following report.

U.S. Mission Berlin to Department of State, Telegram 728, November 26, 1963, file POL 15-1 US/Kennedy, 1963 Subject-Numeric File (NAID 580618), RG 59. Original document now filed as part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection as document 1191000610117.

Later the same day, USBER sent a brief report on a Berlin newspaper report relating to the assassination.

U.S. Mission Berlin to Department of State, Telegram 732, November 26, 1963, file POL 15-1 US/Kennedy, 1963 Subject-Numeric File (NAID 580618), RG 59. Original document now filed as part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection as document 1191000610110.

On November 27, USBER reported that Mayor Brandt’s bi-weekly radio address dealt with the death of President Kennedy and sent the following report.

U.S. Mission Berlin to Department of State, Airgram A-345, November 27, 1963, file POL 15-1 US/Kennedy, 1963 Subject-Numeric File (NAID 580618), RG 59. Original document now filed as part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection as document 1191000610058.

In response to the public outpouring of grief for President Kennedy and Mayor Brandt’s message and personal attendance at the funeral, the White House had the Department of State send the following message to USBER for transmittal to Brandt.

Department of State to U.S. Mission Berlin, Telegram 445, November 30, 1963, file POL 15-1 US/Kennedy, 1963 Subject-Numeric File (NAID 580618), RG 59. Original document now filed as part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection as document 1191001610206.


[1] For a report on Kennedy’s visit, see U.S. Mission Berlin to Department of State, Telegram 1350, June 27, 1963, printed in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Volume XV, Berlin Crisis, 1962-1963, (Washington: USGPO, 1994), p. 536-537

This entry was posted in Archives II, Civil Records, History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Berlin Reacts to the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

  1. Anonymous says:

    During his visit to West Berlin, JFK reportedly enjoyed fried chicken at a small restaurant near the Berlin Wall. The restaurant was still in business years later, but was closed when I visited in 1987.

    Like

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