Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom

Retail Price: $29.95



Steinstuecken: A LittlePocket of Freedom tells a success story.  The people of Steinstuecken, and the American soldiers and diplomats who protect them, were determined to keep this village, a “little pocket of freedom” in Communist territory, free.  They succeeded! Their efforts and determination deserve to be remembered; their story makes for interesting, even inspiring, reading.

Please enter the code SEPA in the comment section at checkout, if you are a SE PA Cold War Historical Society member ordering a book for the 10% donation to the society.

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Help future generations learn about and be inspired by this American Cold War success story. Present a copy of this book to a local library, or give it as a gift.

If you select the Personalization option, the book will have this statement on the inside front cover:

This book is presented to (name of recipient) by (your organization’s name), to commemorate the American soldiers and diplomats, and the West Berlin citizens, who worked together to win one of the most important “battles” of the Cold War– the battle to keep a small village safe and free.

The author, Don Smith, will also sign and write a personal inscription on your copy.

Don’t just drop the book off at the library, make a public event of it!  Acclaim Press can give you a draft press release, which you can customize and provide to local media.  Also, Don Smith, will make himself available for a telephone or ZOOM interview with local media.

Fill out this form with donor and recipient information. For purchases of 5 or more books, Acclaim Press will add a bookplate to the inside front cover, with a message and logo from the purchaser.  Contact Acclaim Press Customer Service at or (573) 472-9800 ext. 11 to customize your bookplate.



When the Cold War split the German capital of Berlin in half, between East and West, one neighborhood was trapped in the middle. For more than twenty years, the hamlet of Steinstuecken was caught in a tug-of-war between the Americans and the Communists. Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom, tells this hamlet’s story and examines its impact on the Cold War in Europe.

Steinstuecken officially belonged to the U.S. Occupation Sector of Berlin. But, it was located outside the city boundaries, completely surrounded by East German territory.  No West Berlin-owned roads or trails connected it to the city.  It was a de facto Western island in a Communist sea.

America could have turned its back on Steinstuecken—but it didn’t.  U.S. officials in Berlin rose to the hamlet’s defense. American diplomats interceded often with the Soviet occupation authorities on its behalf.  During the Berlin Wall crisis, the Americans established a Military Police (MP) outpost in the village to ensure its safety. Steinstuecken became a Cold War “canary in a coal mine,” a test of America’s determination to keep its promises to safeguard West Berlin and resist the Soviet Union in Europe.

Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom describes the challenges America faced in keeping Berlin safe and vibrant in the years after the Berlin Airlift.  It also showcases the courage of many Steinstuecken residents and West Berliners, who defied the Communists and supported the West, often at real personal risk.

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 rallied West Berliners behind the Western Allies during the Berlin Blockade—and pressured the Americans to keep Steinstuecken free, and out of Communist hands.
  • 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 Thanksgiving dinners the Berlin Brigade airlifted into the village, and the MP company’s tradition of inviting Steinstuecken children to their mess hall for Thanksgiving.
  • 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!




Proceeds from the sale of this book will also help other communities and organizations preserve their history through Our American Heritage Project, a non-profit organization.
About The Author

Donald Smith  Don  Smith is a retired Army Reserve officer who served in Germany from 1986-89. He visited Berlin (West and East) three times. On one of those trips, he saw Steinstuecken and never forgot it. He has a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Strategic Intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College (now the National Intelligence University). He has been published in Military History magazine, World War II magazine, and the U.S Army Intelligence Center’s (USAIC) Militar Learn More about Donald Smith

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

A wonderful David and Goliath story about the brave citizens of this little hamlet and the courageous American MPs who came to protect them.  Any student of the Cold War, Berlin, or Germany needs to read this well researched and grippingly told book.


-John B Emerson, US Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, 2013-17

Book Details
Author: Donald Smith
Pages: 344 pages
Product Dimensions: 6" x 9"
ISBN: 978-1-948901-80-2
Cover Type: Hardcover
Case Quantity:
Meet the Author Donald Smith, "Steinstuecken: A Little Pocket of Freedom"

St. Charles City-County Library-Spencer Road Branch

427 Spencer Road

St. Peters MO 63376

The people of Steinstuecken, and the American soldiers and diplomats who protect them, were determined to keep this village, a “little pocket of freedom” in Communist territory, free. They succeeded!

The Library is excited to partner with the St. Charles Sister Cities Programs with Ludwigsburg, Germany for this event.

For more information, please visit

March 27, 2022 9:00 am-10:00 pm


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