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American Soldiers Behind the Iron Curtain

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Soviet cogitations: 117
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Nov 2010, 07:17
Post 07 Dec 2010, 07:45

From 1947 to 1990 the US Military based a very small unit in the Potsdam, German Democratic Republic, this unit was called the United States Military Liason Mission. The British and French operated similar units in East Germany and the Soviets based a similar unit in West Germany. Originally established to promote cooperation between the conquering powers of WWII in occupying Germany, members of the Military Liason Mission members had diplomatic status and were free to roam the other occupying powers' sectors. Members of these missions were largely untouchable by local authorities or military officials. As the Cold War went on these Military Liason Missions were increasingly manned by military intelligence personnel who spied on the other conquering powers military installations and military exercises. In essence legal espionage was taking place.

From 1947 to 1990 it was not unusual to see Soviet Liason personnel monitoring Operation Reforger, NATO's annual war games in West Germany, and like wise it was not unusual to see US personnel monitoring Warsaw Pact exercises in East Germany. Of course the occasional propaganda mission was carried out as well, in the late 60s the Commander of the US Mission used to drive his personnel Corvette Stingray throughout East Germany on a regular basis.


In most cases, these quasi diplomats were respected despite how annoying their presistence in monitoring the other sides military movements might be. However incidents, some fatal, did take place during the Cold War. The most notable incident that took place in 1985, and is considered by many scholars to be the last crisis of the Cold War. On March 24, 1985 Major Arthur D. Nicholson (US Army) was shot and killed in East Germany by a Soviet Guard outside a base that served as a facility for the Independent Tank Regiment of 2 Guards Tank Army. Major Nicholson was wearing his US Army uniform and identification showing he was with the US Military Liason Mission when he was shot, his driver was also wearing appropriate identification and they both had arrived in a marked vehicle. This was shocking to the west because Soviet liasons operating in West Germany were never treated in such a way.
Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms.
-Che Guevara
Soviet cogitations: 200
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Sep 2010, 04:15
Post 10 Dec 2010, 01:35
I wasn't aware of this, thanks for sharing. How long did staff remain a member of this?
Soviet cogitations: 12
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Feb 2011, 05:15
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 04 Mar 2011, 09:05
I was in the US Army, stationed in Frankfurt, West Germany from 1977-1979. In particular at the PX, I occasionally saw officers in Soviet Uniform, members of the Soviet Military Liason Mission.
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Soviet cogitations: 136
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Aug 2010, 17:20
Post 13 Mar 2011, 11:36
Ive read this before.... Is this a direct copy/paste from Wiki? Tho I have a feeling that it may have been from The Wall: The peoples story" by Christopher Hilton

As for the guy who was shot, he was snooping around a Tank base.. But these liason officers, mid Cold War, were ture to life James Bonds. They were the guys that had cameras in hats and guns in suitcases. Not all of them, and not only them. As the OP reads, a lot of the the legitimate military personnel were swapped out for intelligence personnel.
"I know that after my death a pile of rubbish will be heaped on my grave, but the wind of History will sooner or later sweep it away without mercy."
"Death is the solution to all problems - no man, no problem."
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