By mid-1963, the immediate threat to European security from the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 had receded, but East-West tensions over the city remained high. Although some scholars such as Marc Trachtenberg have claimed that the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 was followed by a lasting East-West détente in Europe, this article shows that the status of Berlin remained a Cold War flashpoint until well into 1963. The article highlights three of the military showdowns (the so-called Autobahn crises) that occurred in October and November 1963 over the transportation rules for U.S., British, and French access to West Berlin. The crises caused a good deal of friction, but their resolution ushered in a more peaceful time for Berlin and Europe as a whole.

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