Anniversary: The End of the Berlin Wall

November 9 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Peter Robinson, who drafted President Reagan’s speech including the line Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!, has some thoughts.

Bill Brandt offers some remembrances and some video clips.

Bill’s post mentioned Anna Funder’s excellent book Stasiland:  Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall, which I reviewed here.

An interesting website by a former East German MIG-21 pilot.

7 thoughts on “Anniversary: The End of the Berlin Wall”

  1. Also see Cold Spring Shops, citing Ryan Fazio at City Journal:

    Western culture and education today do an admirable job of teaching about the atrocities of fascism. Nazi Germany is reflexively understood as pure evil, and fascist regimes in Italy and Spain have also been damned. People understand the Holocaust to be history’s worst genocide. Broad awareness of fascism’s crimes serves as a bulwark against future threats to freedom.

    The twentieth century yielded another evil ideology, however, one that marked an anniversary this fall, with the centennial of the Bolshevik coup in Russia: Communism reigned in Russia for eight decades and spread to dozens of other nations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. These regimes subjugated more than 1 billion people and murdered tens of millions in the name of social revolution and abolition of private property.

    Radical leftism has largely avoided the stigma that we attach to fascism in the West.

  2. What I remember most vividly from news coverage 30 years ago isn’t so much young people dancing on the wall, rushing through the gaps, etc., but old people sobbing with joy, having never dreamed that the decades of commie oppression would end in their lifetimes.

  3. 25 Years After the Berlin Wall, How the News Media Covered Communism

    Here’s an excerpt, “Quote of the Year” winner in Media Research Center’s Notable Quotable Awards for 1990:

    “Few tears will be shed over the demise of the East German army, but what about East Germany’s eighty symphony orchestras, bound to lose some subsidies, or the whole East German system, which covered everyone in a security blanket from day care to health care, from housing to education? Some people are beginning to express, if ever so slightly, nostalgia for that Berlin Wall.”
    — CBS reporter Bob Simon on the March 16, 1990 CBS Evening News.

  4. David – you have given me a lot of good references – and the book by Anna Funder was just one. I generally donate my read books to the library; I have kept Stasiland.

    When I went to the former DDR in 1992, it was undergoing a huge transformation. I couldn’t even get a hotel room in Dresden; from Pensions to grand hotels, they were taken over by businessmen.

    A local directed me to a family with a small farm up in the hills overlooking the city, and like most things unexpected it was far more memorable than a simple hotel room.

    Over some beers at night, the farmer and I talked about life in the East vs West.

  5. Two comments. I was very tempted to go to Berlin for the New Years Eve after the Wall fell. I have always regretted that I did not do so. I was worried about hotel rooms, etc. I wish I had gone. An ER doc friend had a piece of the Wall his kids got for him when they did go.

    Two, I invested quite a bit of money in German depository receipts to invest in what I assumed would be a huge boom in East Germany. I thought it would be a lower cost German producer for a few years and anticipated large construction projects. It didn’t happen because the German unions fought any attempt to pay East Germans less than the West, even though the east had less skills and equipment. The boom did not occur and Germany has continued to make catastrophic mistakes due to politics. Such as ending nuclear power.

  6. Mike – a German told me the biggest mistake made was equating the west German Mark to the East German. Had they kept the East German lower it would have been a boom in the east and there would have been no exodus from the east to the west.

    Some cynical Germans said that it would have been better had they kept the Wall.

  7. NATO’s first Secretary-General Lord Ismay once said that the purpose of the alliance was to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

    NATO is still supposedly alive (although brain dead, according to Macron). Had they stuck to their mission, NATO never would have allowed German unification.

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