Home  /  Did you know ... ?  /  why there is a piece of the Berlin Wall at SHAPE?

why there is a piece of the Berlin Wall at SHAPE?

When the Soviet Union began threatening to interfere with the access of the three Western Allies (France, United Kingdom and United States) to West Berlin in late 1958 and early 1959, these three nations established a small planning staff in April 1959 under the code name LIVE OAK to draw up plans for possible reactions to Soviet interference on the access routes to Berlin.
LIVE OAK was commanded by General Lauris Norstad in a third hat known as "Commander LIVE OAK" in his addition to his NATO (SACEUR) and U.S. (Commander-in-Chief U.S. European Command or CINCEUR) hats. Initially located on the compound of the U.S. European Command on the outskirts of Paris, LIVE OAK soon moved to the SHAPE compound to provide better communications facilities for the two non-U.S. members of LIVE OAK (expanded to three through the addition of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1961).
LIVE OAK remained co-located with SHAPE for the rest of its existence; thus when SHAPE moved to Belgium in 1967, LIVE OAK did so too. LIVE OAK continued to prepare for a possible Berlin crisis for the next two decades, and then ceased operations after German unification on 3 October 1990. In early 1991 the staff was disbanded, but prior to that a section of the Berlin Wall was placed in front of the LIVE OAK Building in recognition of the organisation's four decades of efforts to preserve the freedom of access to Berlin.

Search our content:


Rue Grande
7010 Mons

Media Operations

Public Affairs Office
Attn: Media Section
7010 Mons