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BERLIN - POLITICAL INTRIGUE, ESPIONAGE & WAR

This extraordinary five day tour not only explores modern history from 1944 to 2018, but delves in the future relations between Russia & the West. Kafkaesque enemy with evil intent...or potential ally in the struggle against Islamic extremism?

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Meeting experts in their field including Rob Deere, former security consultant to the UN, Major General Peter Williams CMG OBE, historian and a former Intelligence Officer at BRIXMIS, and Dr Dimitri Trenin, former Colonel in Russian Military Intelligence (GRU) and now Head of the Carnegie Institute in Moscow.
  • Exploring the Teufelsberg, the abandoned site of the former US National Security Agency and GCHQ Sigint facility in the Grunewald Forest and the amazing Nazi and Soviet bunker complexes at Zossen Wünsdorf.
  • Visiting the Stasi HQ and the infamous Hohenschonhausen prison.
  • Meeting escapees from the East and victims of the Stasi.
£3,948
per person

Price from

Management Team Ed Granville

ED GRANVILLE

Europe Specialist

VIEW PROFILE

  1. Arrive
  2. Day 1 Berlin - 7th June 2018

    Participants will gather at the delightful Hotel de Rome, formerly the headquarters of the Dresdner Bank. Centrally located in the Bebelplatz, many of its splendid features still remain and it provides a haven of civilisation in a hectic city. In the afternoon, head off with Major Nigel Dunkley (formerly BRIXMIS) to explore Berlin's Olympic complex including the famous Langermarcke Halle, where Hitler became overwhelmed with emotion before opening the 1936 Olympics. We then drive to the infamous Bendlerblock, Headquarters of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) from 1938, as well as the Abwehr intelligence agency and it is here we learn about the July '44 Stauffenberg Plot, see where he was executed and stand on the spot where co-conspirator Colonel Beck was forced to shoot himself. Later on we regroup in Berlin's finest beer tavern, the famous 'StäV,' to enjoy a fun and light-hearted supper.

    Overnight: Hotel de Rome

  3. Day 2 Berlin - 8th June 2018

    Morning departure for the River Oder and the Seelow Heights, a major starting-off point for the massive Russian final push on Berlin.The battle began on 16th April 1945, when almost one million Soviet soldiers of the 1st Belorussian Front, commanded by Marshal Georgi Zhukov, attacked the position known as the "Gates of Berlin". This was defended by 110,000 soldiers of General Theodor Busse's 9th Army, part of the Army Group Vistula. The resulting battle was not only bloody in the extreme but also served as the opening phase of the Battle of Berlin. Today we are accompanied by Rob Deere, former soldier and leading battlefield guide with a Masters in International Military Strategic Studies. Near the battlefield we will have a private screening of a short documentary on the unfolding battle. A picnic lunch will be served close to the remains of Zhukov's command bunker at Reitwein before heading to Jahnsfelde, site of the last stand of a German anti-tank unit facing impossible odds with immense courage. We will finish the day where the Russians did...on the roof of the Reichstag, where we will be joined for dinner by Major General Peter Williams CMG, OBE, historian, former intelligence officer, cold war expert and target of a Stasi assassination attempt in 1982.

    Overnight: Hotel de Rome

  4. Day 3 Berlin - 9th June 2018

    Today, we switch up a gear into the Cold War, starting with a breakfast lecture by former signals intelligence (SigInt) officer, Mike 'Bunker' Barton. Probably the leading authority in the world on cold war bunkers, Mike will present the fascinating history and architecture behind the vast bunker complex at Zossen Wunsdorf. Originally constructed by the Germans, their construction proved too tough for the Russians to destroy at the end of WWII, leading to the Russian decision to take them over, expand them and add nuclear proofing. It is from this site, the entrance hidden in woodland, that the Soviet forces would have conducted war with the West. We will explore the complexes of Maybach I and Zeppelin (former military staff and communications bunker of OKH, the High Command of the German Army) as well as the military constructions of the Soviet High Command of the West Group and the 16th Soviet Air Force. After a picnic lunch on site, we head back towards Berlin to visit the former National Security Agency (NSA) listening post at 'Teufelsberg' in the Grunewald Forest. Once top secret and heavily guarded, this vital complex has now been taken over by a group of anarchists whose graffiti is not only amusing but also a work of art. We will ascend the ruins of one of the former 'golf ball' listening posts for a lecture by Major General Williams on the clandestine espionage activities of BRIXMIS. This evening will be free to either relax in the Hotel de Rome or explore Berlin's vibrant nightlife.

    Overnight: Hotel de Rome

  5. Day 4 Berlin - 10th June 2018

    Now firmly in the grip of the Cold War, today we explore what life was like for ordinary citizens of Berlin - on both sides of the wall. Under the leadership of former Guardian journalist and Cold War expert Matt Robinson, we start by visiting Check Point Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate and one of the very few remaining sections of the wall. We will also meet a former East German escapee who escaped to the West not once, but twice. During the course of the day we will explore the former Headquarters of the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit or MfS, commonly known as the Stasi, perhaps one of the most capable, successful and repressive intelligence / secret police agencies ever conceived. Under the brilliant leadership of Erich Mielke, the Stasi not only destroyed those whom they deemed a threat but almost unbelievably, they also managed to plant an agent, Günther Guillaume, as top aid to West German Chancellor Willy Brandt causing his downfall when it was discovered in May 1974. We will have a privileged meeting with the Director of the Museum, himself a former victim of the Stasi before visiting Hohenschönhausen Prison, a place that even today sends shudders down the spine of every visitor. Unspeakable horrors were perpetrated in this prison and our guide, a former female inmate, will throw light on what a sentence in Hohenschönhausen really meant. Following a fascinating and somewhat emotional day, we will unwind tonight over a delicious dinner in Lutter & Wegner one of Berlin's most iconic restaurants.

    Overnight: Hotel de Rome

  6. Day 5 Berlin - 11th June 2018

    Once again, we switch gears, this time to take a look both into the past and into the future. The day will commence with a breakfast lecture by Major General Williams on The Reunification. We will then be taken to an undisclosed location for the final lecture: Russia - Friend or Foe in 2018 & Beyond? Delivered by Dr. Dmitri Trenin, a former Colonel in Russian Military Intelligence (GRU) and now Director of the Carnegie Institute in Moscow. This will be followed by a Q&A session (involving both Peter & Dmitri) under the Chatham House Rule. The morning will finish with a light lunch.

  7. Depart

NB: Whilst we will endeavour to provide all of the witnesses and experiences / sites mentioned in the programme, please note that changes can and do occur due to circumstances beyond our control such as site closures or situations affecting witness availability.

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