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Robert F. Kennedy Draws Huge Crowds in West Berlin

Feb. 22, 1962 - Huge and emotional crowds greeted Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy today as he began a two-day visit to West Berlin. He responded later by telling the West Berliners that their freedom would be supported by the “full strength of American power.” An estimated 150,000 people stood in a freezing wind in front of the city hall to see and cheer him. In addition, about 100,000 people were lined up along the streets as he drove from Tempelhof Airport amid snow flurries. Mr. Kennedy sat, bareheaded, on the back of an open car that was slowed to a crawl by the crowds. With him was West Berlin’s Mayor, Willy Brandt. It was clear that the young Attorney General meant something special to West Berliners. His visit was a symbol of U.S. commitment to West Berlin, an especially powerful symbol because he is the President’s brother. Such symbols are important to the West Berliners in their mood of apprehension about the Communist threat. A sign in the City Hall Square said: “Tell your brother what you see — Berlin wants democracy.”

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