Berlin is not only Germany's largest city (in both size and population), but it is the most populous city in the European Union. In the 1920s, Berlin was the third largest municipality in the entire world. After World War II, everything changed. The city was divided by the Berlin Wall in 1961, a symbol of the Cold War between East and West. The US, UK and France consolidated their sections on one side of the Wall, forcibly segregated from the Soviet sector. Berlin remained a divided City until reunification in 1990. At that point Berlin again became the capital of all of Germany and was re-established as a cultural, economic and intellectual mecca.
Most of the songs on this collection emphasize the political tensions that played out in a divided Berlin during the Cold War. The one notable exception is a World War II-era track by Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters. Along with a strong dose of soon-to-be victorious wartime propaganda, there is also a glimpse of the impact this glorious city would have on rural American soldiers (“How you gonna keep ‘em happy down on the farm / After they’ve seen Berlin.”)