by Louis Foster
When I was asked to write an introduction to the section regarding what many people are now calling Cold War steins I was more frightened by it rather than flattered. The enormity of it struck me as a huge task and the responsibility awesome.
After a few days it struck me that this is supposed to be an introduction and not some kind of soldier’s Bible. It is just now getting under development and it will be a living, viable library for the future. More material will be added by others as it grows and more photos, etc. added when they become available.
The time period extends from before many of us were even born. Remember, there was no actual Cold War. In ways it was a struggle for dominance in much of Europe and eventually it was a global power struggle between two camps which were, as you may define them ~ Democracy versus communism, East versus West, NATO versus Warsaw Pact or maybe even the white, Anglo-Saxon Christians and their allies versus the godless, Mongolian hordes poised to rape, pillage and destroy Civilization itself or, maybe some Socialist Union of Workers all exploited by the capitalist pigs of the world and looking to throw away the yokes of their slavery and oppression.
(This is intended to reflect some of the attitudes of some of the participants.)
For sure there was some suspicion among the Allies who cooperated to defeat the greater threats posed by Hitler & Mussolini in Germany and Italy as well as Hirohito and Japan.
The seeds for the Cold War existed well before VE Day (May 8, 1945) and VJ Day (Sep. 2, 1945) and are reflected by beliefs that General George S. Patton wanted to re-arm German (POW’s) Waffen-SS soldiers and lead them to Moscow terminating in a little régime change there.
The term Iron Curtain is credited to Winston Churchill in a speech he made March 5, 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He said, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an "iron curtain" has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.
Actually the term is older, having been said by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels earlier in February 1945 and on May 2, 1945 Johann Ludwig von Krosigk (“Leading Minister” following Hitler’s suicide) was one of the first to refer to an " Iron Curtain " coming down across Europe, in a broadcast to the German people on 2 May 1945, a phrase which he had picked up from an article by Joseph Goebbels and later used by Churchill in a speech that made the phrase famous.
In any event, there was no formal declaration of war but it can be said that with the defeat of armed regular German army on May 8, 1945 the Cold War was on ~ East versus West.
Just as it is hard to fix the starting date precisely, the end of the Cold War is equally hard to pick. November 9, 1989 is the day the Berlin Wall was opened. However the reunification of Germany is given as October 3, 1990.
The steins which this site will focus on are still being produced for military personnel as such things have been produced in Germany since about 1875. The ones related to the Cold War started to being made about 1947 and the porcelain ones so common today started to appear about 1951 – 1952.
In any event, the period right now is some 60 years and during that time period the number of soldiers, airmen, sailors must count into the millions. The nations involved include the United States and Canada and the locations where they, men and women served include many countries.
As this site is expanded, more will be added. Where information is inaccurate or missing, I hope that readers will provide their knowledge and photos.
While this may start with the efforts of only myself and some input from a few other dedicated collectors, it will only be complete after 25 or 250 others get involved and share info.
I would be remiss if I did not mention a few other free websites which helped me in my research. As soon as I have permission, I will provide links.
Remember, this is no longer a military secret and we are free to tell much of what we did including endless guard duty and KP most weekends.
Suggestions and corrections to Lfoster8@columbus.rr.com
Louis Foster 24th Infantry Division 1965 – 1968 Munich