When the Cold War split Berlin in half, between the Communist East and the Free World neighborhood got caught in the middle.

The village of Steinstuecken (German for "stone pieces") belonged to the American Occupation Sector.  But, it physically sat one kilometer outside the city's boundaries, completely surrounded by Soviet-controlled territory!  No West Berlin-owned road or strip of land connected the village to West Berlin.  For more than twenty years, American Army and State Department safeguarded the village, keeping it out of Communist hands.  Meanwhile, the villagers tried to live as normal a life as possible.  My book tells their stories.

"Donald Smith's micro-history of the tiny postwar Berlin suburb of Steinstuecken offers a macro-historical view of larger Cold War complexities and dangers—especially the drama of whether an overextended America could stand up to nonstop Soviet pressure, the maze of occupation rivalries among British, French, and American forces, and the plucky spirit of Steinstuecken residents to trust in the protection of far-off America rather than give in to the overwhelming power of nearby communism. An engaging study of what a few brave people can do to preserve their freedom against overwhelming odds."

Victor Davis Hanson
The Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Author, The Second World Wars

"West Berlin, and the tiny 200-person hamlet of Steinstuecken, were shining lights of freedom in the darkness of Communist East Germany.  In one voice, they said to the Americans and their Allies, 'We will never give in; do not desert us.  If we lose our freedom, we will never get it back.'"

COL (Retired) Gail Halvorsen, USAF, the "Berlin Candy Bomber."

In this book, you’ll read about:

  • The American general who held firm against the Communists when they tried to take over Steinstuecken in late 1951.  From that moment on, America’s flag was firmly “planted” in the village.
  • Lucius Clay, the Army general who was the hero of the Berlin Airlift.  When the Berlin Wall crisis erupted, Clay returned to Berlin as President Kennedy’s special emissary—and made a dramatic helicopter flight to Steinstuecken, to emphasize America’s commitment to keeping the village—and Berlin—free.
  • Ernst Reuter, the legendary mayor of West Berlin, who used his charisma and powerful persona to rally the West Berliners behind the Western Allies---AND to pressure the Americans to stand by Steinstuecken!
  • The MP who reportedly got tipsy one night and shot out some East German border lights
  • The helicopter pilot who flew to the exclave late one night, thinking the village was under East German attack.
  • The two boys playing soccer who kicked their ball out of the village, went to retrieve it—and were detained by the East German border police for illegally entering their “country.”
  • The Army officer and Steinstuecken resident who started a close partnership between the villagers and the Army soldiers in Berlin—a connection that continues to this day.
  • The residents of Steinstuecken, who put their own safety at risk to show their allegience to West Berlin and the Americans.
  • The Berliners who helped the West win one of its first victories of the Cold War—at the ballot box!

Click the "Website" button to order!  Portions of the proceeds will go to the maintenance of the "rotor blade memorial" (see the Gallery for a photo), two Huey helicopter blades mounted on a pedestal, to commemorate the Americans who guarded and sustained this "little pocket of freedom."



$29.95 plus tax and shipping (hardcover only).

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