The Fall of the Berlin Wall

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    Nov 10, 2009 6:14 PM GMT
    I was a little sad to see that noone on here mentioned the fall of the Berlin Wall which happened 20 years ago. It is one of my strongest memories from childhood.

    To those of us who believe in a common humanity, and that we as humanity must strive to make a better future, I cannot think of a more significant anniversary.

    So here's the discussion: Where were you when the wall fell? And how did it affect you?
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Nov 10, 2009 6:20 PM GMT
    I was only 10 when The Wall fell. I remember watching it on tv with my mother. While I didn't understand everything it stood for, how it came about, what it meant, etc., I do remember knowing how important this occasion was and that it meant better things for the world.
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    Nov 10, 2009 6:28 PM GMT
    I was visiting my parents with my wife and two children in tow, and I'll never forget getting chills down my back seeing those folks reuniting with family memebers, their tears of joy, the interviews, the peoples joy at bashing that damn wall, and a few scenes where even the guards were happy. I hope some will tell of experiences they had from actually being there, or have second hand tales of their friends and relatives who were there. Thanks for posting this TigerTim
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    Nov 10, 2009 6:32 PM GMT
    That fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing collapse of the Soviet Union was one of the most powerful memories of my childhood. I didn't feel like we (the Americans) won. I felt like humanity itself was lifted from a great darkness. First the people of Germany were freed, then Poland, then Russia itself. The world was a safe, beautiful place.

    Then when the Iraq war started a few years later.
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    Nov 10, 2009 7:32 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidThe fall of the Berlin wall was a direct result of the USA outspending the Soviet Union on military during the cold war.

    And Ronald Reagan had something to do with it as well.


    Understanding is a three edged sword.
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    Nov 10, 2009 9:46 PM GMT
    I was in sixth grade. It was the first dawning of my awareness of geopolitics. The rest of the world suddenly seemed that much less abstract, and that much more real. And plus, I had a mad crush on Kendra Berlin, the prettiest girl in my class. I asked her if I could peek past her wall once...
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    Nov 10, 2009 10:02 PM GMT
    zdrew said I had a mad crush on Kendra Berlin, the prettiest girl in my class. I asked her if I could peek past her wall once...


    I revoke your gay card

    funny-pictures-orange-cat-tongue-taunts.

    128685608878055481.jpg
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    Nov 10, 2009 10:55 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidThe fall of the Berlin wall was a direct result of the USA outspending the Soviet Union on military during the cold war.

    And Ronald Reagan had something to do with it as well.

    During my US Army Officer Advanced Course, Jan-Aug 1981, when Reagan was just beginning his first term, we had secret briefings that were predicting exactly what eventually happened: Soviet defense spending was consuming too much of its GDP to be indefinitely supportable, the military & civilian infrastructure was crumbling, and political & domestic instability within the Soviet alliance was growing.

    Reagan did keep the pressure on, which was good. And he moved more forcefully than Carter had done to rebuild the "hollow military" that was the legacy of Vietnam. But the Soviet cracks were already there, and collapse inevitable.

    At least it was a far cry from another secret briefing I attended in 1975 as an armored division officer, when Ford was President following Nixon. At that time Soviet tanks in Central Europe outnumbered ours 10 to 1, and theirs were superior in some ways.

    We were basically told we would fight a defensive holding action, while the politicians decided whether or not to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield. Otherwise we didn't have a chance, we were either dead or prisoners, something I'd hear again when I lived in West Berlin for 2 years (more on that here later).

    And one Captain in the audience stood up with a question for the Pentagon briefer, and asked, with the heaviest Southern accent you can imagine:

    "Suh, are you tryin' ta tell us we're gonna LOSE???"

    And the audience broke into laughter at his slowness to grasp the notion that this time the Americans weren't going to win (in spite of Vietnam, though I'm not sure if it had finally fallen yet), and despite this very clear briefing we were attending.

    The US has had its ups & downs, with credit & blame for every administration. Which brings us to the Berlin Wall...
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    Nov 10, 2009 10:56 PM GMT
    After the Berlin Wall fell during theI the first President Bush’s “watch” I was disappointed he didn’t act more decisively to encourage the unification of Germany. And later, as the Soviet Union dissolved, to reach out to the former Warsaw Pact nations to help them establish a firm economic foundation for their new democracies.

    From 1978 to 1980 I crossed the Berlin Wall many times, not only at Checkpoint Charley in the middle of the city, but also at Checkpoint Bravo, at Berlin’s western boundary, before you crossed into the open countryside of East Germany. And then after 103 miles on the Autobahn you came to Checkpoint Alpha, where you entered West Germany.

    Many people mistakenly believe divided Berlin sat on the East & West German national border, but it was actually 100 miles inside communist East Germany. You were like on an island, surrounded on all sides by Soviet forces. On the other side of that infamous wall was a military monster we tried not to think about, since our own position in West Berlin was hopeless.

    One time near the wall in 1979 we were conducting military exercises, occupying abandoned buildings that had lost their value when the wall was erected. We were using blank rounds, grenade simulators and smoke, fairly realistic, with simulated casualties & wounds, and "aggressors" wearing Soviet-like uniforms.

    Prior notice had been given to the residents, but a little old lady walking down the sidewalk apparently wasn’t aware, somehow getting past our roadblock and blundering into the middle of the shooting. I found her crying & hysterical, thinking the Americans were fighting invading East German & Soviet forces who had come over the nearby wall.

    “Nein, nein, meine liebe Dame,” I said to her. “Alles ist in Ordnung! Dieses ist ein amerikanischer Spielkrieg! Niemand verletzt Sie! Diese Soldaten sind auch unverletzt.”

    [No, no, my dear lady! All is in order! (Euphemism meaning everything’s OK) This is an American play war. No one will hurt you! These soldiers are also unhurt.” I don’t know where I came up with Spielkrieg for play war, since I didn't know any German word that described what we were doing, but she understood me. Germans love to make compound words, and I later learned Spielkrieg was as good as any for our exercise. LOL! ]
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    Nov 10, 2009 10:58 PM GMT

    Where was I? At work, as usual. It was 10 days BB (Before Bill), lol.


    -Doug
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    Nov 11, 2009 12:20 AM GMT
    I was 22 and living in Winter Park, CO and remember the event quite well. I was going to pick up the phone to call my mother, when she called me to tell me about it. Having grown up in that era, it was a HUGE historical event in my life. I had gone through grades 8-12 with someone that had grown up in East Germany, so I had a better idea of what it was like there.

    The next summer, a good friend was in Europe and brought me back a small piece of the wall. I still have it to this day to remind me of the good and evil in this world.

    Let us not forget what anniversary will be coming up the end of this December also. That will be the 20th anniversary of the overthrow of Causecou(sp?) in Romania. Another historic event that ultimately led to the changes in Eastern Europe that we see today.
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    Nov 11, 2009 12:22 AM GMT
    I'm in Berlin now and I ventured down to the Brandenburg Tor gate to catch up with the festivities. Unfortunately I arrived too late and everything had just finished but there was a good handful of people left, I'd say a couple hundred partying. Good time !
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    Nov 11, 2009 12:54 AM GMT
    I have no recollection of the fall of the Berlin wall, which is kind of odd because I'm married to a German whose father escaped East Germany just before the wall went up. We spent that Christmas in Germany, and what stands out in my mind was all the crappy little Trabis on the Autobahns.
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    Nov 11, 2009 1:10 AM GMT
    General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity
    for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization:
    Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!
    Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

    Ronald Reagan in his famous “Tear Down This Wall” speech
    at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, June 12, 1987

    It only took another two years before it fell.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reagan_Brandenburg_Gate_speech.ogg
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 11, 2009 1:25 AM GMT
    I was in law school at the time. It was an awesome moment. We talked alot about it and what it meant. I think most people thought it couldn't be real. I remember how happy I was... it was a whole new world.