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20–22.06.2019: Konferenz: The Potsdam Missions. The Story Beyond the Bridge of Spies

The United States Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) to the Commander-in-Chief (CinC), Group Soviet Forces Germany (GSFG) operated in East Germany from April 1947 until October 1990, the Day of German Unity. The “Potsdam Missions” Conference will highlight the intelligence gathering and liaison activities of USMLM, a unique HUMINT organization with an analytic capability, and its partners, the British (BRIXMIS) and French (FMLM) Missions. The Allied Missions (AMLM) collected the best intelligence of any Cold War unit focused on GSFG. AMLM soldiers and airmen had daily contact with the Soviet Army. Few knew the Soviet Soldier better.

At any given time, there were 10 AMLM tours operating in the GDR. The reconnaissance ‘tours’ focused on reporting on Soviet military activity. Tour planning took place at operational headquarters in West Berlin, while the Potsdam House, located at Am Lehnitzsee in Potsdam Neufahrland, served as representational headquarters.

The Socialist Unity Party (SED) attempted in vain to persuade Soviet leadership to restrict and curtail Potsdam Mission activities. In addition, party officials and the Stasi teamed up to make propaganda videos warning citizens against Mission activities.

The conference is being organized and generously supported by the Allied Museum Berlin, the Berlin Wall Foundation, the German-Russian Museum, Berlin-Karlshorst and the Potsdam Museum, where the event will be held. The Potsdam Museum has been recently renovated and occupies a central location in downtown Potsdam. The conference’s German partners will conduct a German language colloquium on Thursday evening, 20 June, where former Mission members will describe their experiences.

On Friday, attendees will have an opportunity to tour the former Soviet command bunkers in Zossen-Wünsdorf, south of Berlin. Wünsdorf was also the headquarters of the Nazi High Command and, as such, contains the history of two former adversaries. The staff ride will leave from in front of the Mercure Hotel Potsdam City at 0900 and return at approximately 1700.
The University of Maryland, University College (UMUC) is hosting a reception on Friday night, June 21 at 1900 at the Potsdam Museum to which the public is cordially invited.