Leeds nostalgia: Russian cold front... in 1948

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Turn the clock back 70 years to 1948 and the West was having trouble with Russia, although this particular spat saw the two sides almost come to blows, after armed US soldiers surrounded a Russian building and refused to allow people to enter.

A report from the time states: “United States military police with tommy-guns surrounded the Soviet railway headquarters building - in the American sector of Berlin - and refused entry to 22 Russian officers, including two generals.

The US also announced a roadblock on the road from Berlin to Potsdam.

The measures were in retaliation for efforts by the Russians to seal off their side of Berlin and also followed a bitter speech which took aim at the US and Britain, dubbing them “imperialists”. Colonel Sergei Tulpanov, Soviet International Chief, said: “What we have decided on border and traffic controls will remain.”

He said the measures were being taken because the West was “sending masses of spies” onto their side in a bid to disrupt their operations.

He went on to say that to protect Germans in their zone, he must shut them out from Western influences.

He raged: “The imperialistic forces have not gained strength in the past three years but only gained impudence and insolence.”

The fractious relationship extended to near aerial combat, as Russian planes were accused of dive bombing some British and American aircraft.

Col Frank L Howley, head of the US military government, said the Russian rail building in Berlin was put under control of his troops because the Russians had sent guards there in the night in recent times. Britain, meanwhile, said it would not be bullied by Moscow.

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