INT: Was it necessary, do you think, for the United States to cultivate the identity, the notion of an enemy, after the Second World War, in order to encourage an extension of American foreign policy?
FL: I would put it the other way. I think that's a kind of conspiracy theory which I just don't ascribe to... or subscribe to. There were threats that were visible and that were real. There were agreements; the agreements on... on all Eastern Europe were broken, and very flagrantly broken, by Stalin. It became clear that Stalin was determined to expand. So that I don't think there was a search for an enemy, but what there was, a search to mobilise resistance - it's somewhat different. Then... The United States didn't come out of that war wanting to run the world; on the contrary, this huge demobilisation that I spoke about... Marshall Plan only came later... there was no intention... Marshall Plan was also provoked, to a very considerable extent, by the Cold War, by the sense of... of "we have to support the people who are otherwise going to be swallowed up by Soviet influence". So I wouldn't say there was a search or an ambition, but it fed on itself; and then, as always happens when you get in this kind of fervour, exaggerations take place and provocations take place on all sides.
INT: What was the worst moment in the Cold War?
FL: I suppose Cuba '62, the nearest to a nuclear exchange.
INT: And where were you at the time?
FL: Actually, I was in London, I was just about to move and I had come here from Germany, and I had come here to look for schools for my children and for an apartment. But we didn't really realise how serious it was until afterwards, and even much afterwards. There have been conferences over the last few years between Americans and Russians who were involved - Robert McNamara was a critical figure in these - where they each learned what they didn't know at the time. Americans didn't know... they thought the warheads had not arrived in Cuba, and they had arrived, and they had a false idea about the Soviet procedure for authorising their commanders on the ground to release warheads. So the danger, it turned out, was even much greater than was understood at the time.
INT: You were in Berlin at the time when the tanks faced each other across Checkpoint Charlie. Can you tell me about that?
FL: Yes. Well... it was a moment... in a way, it was certainly a crisis, and it was very... very dramatic; but at the same time, it was pretty theatrical, because there were just a couple of tanks, there was no real sign... it was more a diplomatic crisis, in which tanks came on stage to dramatise the diplomatic crisis. There were a number of other moments where that same kind of diplomatic crisis was provoked, but afterwards they were careful not to push the tanks on to the stage. But there were times of great danger. As I say, when the Wall went up, if the crowd in West Berlin had not been deflected from marching to the Gra... Brandenburg Gate, from pouring into East Berlin, where the East Germans... East Berliners would surely have met and joined with them, that could have led to... it could have escalated to all kinds of degrees.
INT: Could you ever have conceived of the Wall coming down?
FL: Well, yes. I always thought the empire would fall apart. As I told you, I believe it came very near that in 1956, and that it was the Suez distraction that prevented it from happening. But I never thought I would live to see it; I didn't think it would come in my lifetime.
INT: You were there to witness it. What impact did it have on you?
FL: Oh, it was very exciting, because I'd been there when it went up, and I saw it coming down. Uh, the great importance was that... Gorbachev had decided that the Soviet army would not be used to support the East German regime. That meant they would not be around to support any of the others. That meant it was falling apart, the whole thing.
INT: I wonder if you could just say the word, or the words of the name Konrad Adenauer? It would help me cut what you said earlier. Just say "Konrad Adenauer".
FL: Konrad Adenauer.
FL: Konrad Adenauer.
INT: OK. Thank you very much indeed, Flora.