Wednesday, May 26, 2010

THE BERLIN WALL

 The Berlin Wall ( Berliner Mauer in German) represents and depicts one of the Europe's worst, sad, barbaric, uncivilized dark history resulting from the end of the second World War. Willy Brandt, the mayor (der Burgermeister)  of Berlin - West Berlin to be specific- at that time fiercely demonstrated against this inhuman action and referred this Wall as a  "Wall of shame". Many people around the world and those in East Germany agreed with him and many West Berliners joined him in demonstrations. Willy Brandt, born as Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm - he changed his name to escape the Nazis as he was crossing the borders due to his opposition to Hitlers policies- had experienced Nazi ( Nationalsozialisten) brutality and he saw the same kind of brutality in this Wall. He later became West Germany chancellor ( 1969 - 1974), but resigned through a call of his conscience in 1974, when he discovered that one of his aides was working with the STASI - East Germany intelligence service (Staatssicherheit). I must honestly admit that, what Brandt did was one of the noble deeds in making such a decision and that is why he is one of my Role Models. As Chancellor he was very passionate about Ostpolitik where he tried to improve relations with the communist countries such as Poland, the Soviet Union, Hungary and East Germany. This was not well received in West Germany and was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971.
Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader ( der Fuehrer) was killed during the last days of the second world war and that resulted partly to the end of the war and Berlin was divided into four zones namely under the following powers: United States, England, France and the Soviet Union. The three powers consisting of France, England and United States agreed that Germany needed the reconstruction aid through the " Marschall Plan", but the Soviet Premier Josef Stalin could not agree with the three powers. These three powers combined to for one sector the West Berlin and the Soviet controlled the East Berlin. Hence the birth of West Germany ( BRD- Bundesrepublik Deutschland) and East Germany ( DDR - die Deutsche Demokratische Republik - but whether the country was democratic or not is not of our interest at the moment, but may be later).
According to Stalin he wanted to have total control of this new communist states and may be later encroach the West Germany territory. At that moment he had Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the East Germany.West Germany starting embracing the west's capitalism and free market ideology, but the her neighbor sister took the opposite direction: the Soviet Communism. The East Germans at that time believed that West Germany was not fully de-Nazified ( Entnazifierung). With time the difference between life in the two countries was very evident; the west citizens were prosperous and the East Germans were poor, were under close watch of the secret police - it was a secret police state and you did not know who the next person to you was!a - and the students, pupils, teachers and everybody was indoctrinated in Marxism / Leninism. This resulted into many people moving to West Germany for better lives. The East Germany Government secretly thought about the solution to this Problem and tried to put bureaucratic rules to prevent this mass movement.
Finally on weekend, 13, August 1961 the  East German police and army started closing the border and the citizens woke up in disbelief and some were prevented from crossing to the other side of the border. For the first time in history a nation was closing its border to prevent its citizens from moving to another country, because the leaders feared they might end having no one to rule! I can quote one German author - I cannot get the name from  my active memory and I will be very happy for any help -," Waere es nicht besser, wenn die Regierung wahlt ein anderes Volk?"  This wall resulted into Berlin being divided into two parts and many relatives were divided no one was allowed to cross to the other side. Many East Germans died trying to cross as they were either killed by the guards, fall down trying to jump over the wall, bitten by dogs and other installed measures by DDR. The East German regime gave out an order -: " shoot to kill" -for anyone trying to flee to west Berlin through the Wall! Was the DDR leadership justified in preventing its citizens from moving to another country? Were das Volk ( the people) not patriotic to their Vaterland ( fatherland)? Many questions can be asked, but one point is clear: The communist East Germany Leadership was very dictatorial and people react according to the way they are treated. Some will react according to the four Fs; some will fight back, some will flee, some will wait for their fate and some will follow any decrees due to their fear. So was the situation then. It was really harsh.
With all my heart, I must give these two men credit for their decisive roles they played in ensuring that Wall of Berlin became a history - although painful , but better - ; more to Ronald Reagan, - because he stood for the weak human beings when there was one to speak for them!.A man is charged by the way he stands to his true inner convictions and callings of his heart, -  and then to Michael Gorbatschow. The date 12th, June 1987 remains an important date for Germany and peace lovers throughout the world; during Berlin's 750th anniversary of Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate ( Brandenburg TOR) -, in his speech, US President, Ronald Reagan passionately and strongly  appealed to Gorbatschow to tear down the Wall; "Mr. Gorbatschow please tear down this Wall.". This is one of the best speeches that I have heard and the crowd at Brandenburg were moved into tears and wails.Not everyone was happy with this and I must mention two personalities who were oppossing what Reagan stood for: British Prime Minister , Margaret Thatcher and French President Francois Mitterrand. Thatcher argued that united Germany will pose instability in Europe and she pleaded with Gorbatschow to not to let Berlin Wall fall. History will never forgive Thatcher for that! This was the start of a precious event for the Germans and the world.
On 23 August 1989 Hungary removed its wall on its borders with Austria and the East Germans were crossing through Czechoslovakia and their destination was West Germany - specifically west Berlin. Of significant note, is that during the month of September 1989, protests and demonstrations broke all over the DDR ( East Germany), wanting to go to West Germany and they were shouting the slogans, " Wir wollen wieder Frei" - we want to be free again," Wir haben genug mit dem Kommunismus und der Diktatur"- we are tired of Communism and dictatorship. The previous visit by Ronald Reagan, in my considered opinion precipitated these mass protests and demonstrations that proved decisive in the East Germany regime leadership to give in to these demands. Nothing was going to stop the power of the oppressed nation; not even the bombs, guns or any other weapon: It was very strong. The west Germany Television stations also played a pivotal role in breaking information about the plans to crush the Wall. You must put in mind that listening to foreign media stations were not allowed - "Das war Verboten"- This was banned. Only stations that were compatible to communism were aloud and "das Volk"- the people were forced to listen to national news.
Days later it was too much for the East Germany leadership. The BERLIN WALL was finally down. For nearly a quarter a century this wall inflicted pains to many people - the Germans, Britons, French, and the world a t least psychologically. There was intense celebration brought about by the joy the German reunification brought to the German people. The East Germans and West Germans met at the Gates of Berlin wall - especially relatives and friends separated by this wall based on the location their land fell.Millions also traveled from around the to witness this historic moment.The next step that followed was to break the walls in minds of the people and build bridges to link the entire humanity and especially the East Germans who had suffered the communist indoctrination.

Written by: Silvestre Kipchirchir Boit
Email: fachdsch@yahoo.com
Website: www.acetranslations.blogspot.com

3 comments:

alex said...

hey, thanks for the article!

Anonymous said...

You are a very good writer, Keep it up. I will be reading them .

Acetranslations said...

Thank you for comments, I hope you will be reading my articles. You are highly welcome and your comments are highly appreciated.