Today is a special historical day. 20 years ago, by sheer miscommunication, the division between West and East Germany (DDR), and in many respects the conflict between Soviet and Capitalist / East and West began to grind to a halt.
If you read articles about the Berlin Wall, you would think that the 155 km, anti tank concrete wall around West Berlin toppled over, that it fell. Well, I am hear to tell you it DID NOT fall! In fact, the word ‘fall’ is so inaccurate a description of what happened I am going to set it straight once and for all!
Things began changing in 1985 when Gorbachev became powerful in the Soviet Union. By 1989, things had changed and people were leaving East Germany via Hungary and a complex train system from Czechoslovakia. The East German government needed to find a way to stop thousands of people taking well timed holidays to Hungary and Czechoslovakia and decided to grant permission for a few select people to cross into the West if it was a necessity and they had a passport. This new plan was set to start in a few days time.
A chap called Gunter Schabowski (new press person in the DDR) went on stage to give a live, global media conference about a change in government. Stuffed in his pocket was a note he was asked last minute to read out, live on TV. Now this bit of paper is key. On it was a message about the easing of travel to West Germany. Problem was that Gunter had no idea what he was talking about, he had no idea bout it starting in a few days and that you needed a passport. Adding to the nightmare, there was no relevant information on the paper.
The conference ended like this…
Gunter: I have one more announcement (gets paper out of his pocket)… people from the East will be … err….. (scratches head)… hmm…. able to travel into the West.
Press floor: Sharp intake of breath
Journalist: What do we need to cross the border?
Gunter: (looks at paper, finds no answer)… well, umm… I guess, and in my opinion, you don’t actually need anything to cross
press: (gasps of excitement) when does this new rocking plan start?
Gunter: err… well…. hmmm…. I guess it starts… umm…. right now.
ROOM EMPTY. Everyone dashing to cross and see friends and family they have not seen for years.
At the Berlin Wall tens of thousands of people began accumilating at the crossing points (of which there were 14 with 7 running through the centre of the city). The border patrol men had no idea what to do, no idea what was going on and were totally overwhelmed. They had two options, kill everyone or let people cross. They didn’t have enough bullets to kill everyone, so they let people cross.
Once people had crossed they started attacking and making holes in the Berlin wall. It was then deconstructed, along with most Eastern Governments over the course of the following year. Germany was reunited a year later on 3 October 1990.
So, where is this amazing story is it appropriate to say the Berlin wall fell? It was smashed, it was crossed it was attacked, but fell? ‘Fell’ requires no united action so how is it a good way to describe the amazing events of 9th November 1989.
Anyway, ranting aside.
The Hoff sung this song about freedom by the Berlin wall in a fantastic coat so think it appropriate to share it with you.
There is the link to trafficking….. Freedom! He sung for freedom, we campaign for freedom? Are you with me?!
Your ever so slightly irrate Victoria Kuhr