Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Fall of Berlin

The Berlin wall built in 1961 to separate East and West Germany. The fight to bring it down began as soon as it came up. At midnight on November 9th, 1989, East Germany's Communist rulers gave permission for the walls gates to be opened. The East Germans were greeted by the West Germans as the gates were opened. Although the wall was still physically up on this day, figuratively it was down. Germans could now pass through with a Visa and didn't have to take a detour through Czechoslovakia.
Two big newspapers at the time were on the front lines, ready to cover it. The Washington Post and the New York Times both came out with stories the next day, telling the world what happened.
In the New York Times article, A Jubilant Horde, the writer begins with a light, happy summary of what happened the night of November 9th, 1989. The writer adds in excitement some words about the celebration and happiness the Germans endured and that the guards were not checking Visas, but in fact just smiling and taking snapshots of the historic event. Then the writer dips into some detail. He shares the statement of Gunter Schabowski, a member of the Politburo, in his decision to grant the Germans access quickly and with out preconditions, "we know this need of citizens to leave the country... the decision was taken that makes it possible for all citizens to leave the country through East German crossing points. " The writer adds interesting facts relevant to the wall, then continues to the history of how this came about ever since 1961. This article seemed to be framed around all readers. It is an informative article, that gives the facts but it is also enjoyable and easy to read. By the time the reader is finish, he/she has a solid understanding of who, what, when, where, how.
In the Washington Post article, East Germany Opens the Gate, the write begins with the joke, "East Germans no longer have to climb out the back window to leave home." The writer then spends the entire article, mixing opinion with facts, "They will still have to pass heavily guarded gates that they know could be shut down again at any moment." The writer has no source for this information, which may make the reader skeptical of it. Some other opinions of the writer present in the article are: "The Berlin wall is one of the ugliest monuments in the world", "because it [the government] fears that the alternative might be a violent explosion", "freedom of movement can be established immediately if the regime is courageous", "perhaps if Germany and the world are fortunate, the next great advance will be at the Berlin wall." Although this writer includes many facts, the amount of opinion that is present turns to be potentially persuasive.
Between the two articles the New York Times did a greater job and doing its job, telling the news.

East Germany Opens the Gate : http://0-proquest.umi.com.opac.sfsu.edu/pqdweb?index=0&did=734242562&SrchMode=2&sid=2&Fmt=10&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=HNP&TS=1237338143&clientId=17866
East Germany's Great Awakening : http://0-proquest.umi.com.opac.sfsu.edu/pqdweb?index=3&did=114934338&SrchMode=2&sid=1&Fmt=10&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=HNP&TS=1237338084&clientId=17866


  1. Although this was an extraordinary occasion, the happiness of this event should not have overshadowed political and social debates on the conditions as to why this wall was constructed. It seems that few know why this wall was even constructed and the implications it meant to citizens of Berlin.
    The people of Berlin were trapped like rats in a cage while they were striving for what is the American West's version of the good life, ex. capitalism, a free market economy, while also trying to get away from Stalin.
    State run endeavors such as Stalin's regime and the wall being erected are examples as to why people needed to have these discussions on their political and community future and not just be grateful for being "free."

  2. Although this event was a nightmare for many people who were trying to gain essential rights of a free market economic system, I believe the fall was a joyous occasion.
    I think that this event in history should be an inspiration for many people who have whatever restrictive 'walls" in their life, to let them know that progress and change can be achieved, you just have to be persistent.