National Geographic : 1959 Jun
Air Bridge Monument symbolizes the heroic spirit of the men who flew the West Berlin Airlift in 1948-49. To supply two million people cut off by Soviet blockade, a round-the clock aerial convoy delivered 2,325.000 tons of supplies. The big planes descended at three-minute intervals; some dumped candy to children as they came in. The soaring concrete arc faces the West, source of the city's succor. Curving fingers represent the three air corridors that witnessed more than a quarter of a million flights. Names of 77 flyers and ground 740 crewmen who lost their lives are inscribed on the base. now you are standing on prewar Munich." But walk through Munich to day. True, you would know it had been bombed. There are still scarred walls and vacant lots, and some of the great public buildings await repair. But look along the complex of streets and squares leading to the Karlsplatz (page 742), along Theatinerstrasse and Maxburgstrasse, where tall new buildings of steel, aluminum, chrome, and glass have risen. Here are ultramodern offices and apart ments, and glittering shop windows filled with fashionable clothing, furs, jewelry, television sets and refrigerators, shiny new cars and costly china and antiques. To find out about Munich's re construction, I called at the big, echoey Rathaus (city hall), to talk with Thomas Wimmer, the Lord Mayor. Herr Wimmer is a famous man in Germany. He spent part of World War II in a Nazi con centration camp; when the Allies occupied Munich, they drafted him to help run the city government. He has since been elected to his present office three times. Stocky and red-faced, he re ceived me in shirt sleeves at a desk piled high with papers. I con gratulated him on the appearance of his beautiful city. He thanked me a trifle wryly. "It looks better than it did," he admitted. "We tried hard to get it presentable for our 800th anni versary celebration. But the job of rebuilding is still only about 60 percent done, and that's just part of the story. Dr. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1949, strolls toward his rose garden in the Rhine village of Rhon dorf, across the river from Bonn. capital of the Republic. The dynamic 83-year-old statesman served as Lord Mayor of his native Cologne for 16 years, until the Nazis deposed him in 1933. Later they imprisoned him twice. After the war he emerged from obscurity to lead his nation out of despair and back to prosperity.