November ninth, 1999 marked the tenth anniversary of the Berlin
Wall coming down in 1989 as depicted above. The event was a major
monument in world history. Families reunited, barriers broken;
But do any of us know the real story behind the wall? That's
what I tried to find out.
The Berlin wall was built in 1961 by the Eastern Germans to
separate the capitalists from the communists. There the wall
stayed until November 9th 1989 when the Eastern officials announced
to ease up on security in front of the wall. Previously, any
suspicious-looking characters were shot when they approached
the wall so they could not escape the freedom of the other side.
At least 100 people were killed trying to cross from East Germany
People from both sides of the wall helped to break it down
and in 1990, The Republic of Germany was reunited. Some parts
of the wall remain up and there is a museum and a shop on remaining
pieces. Also, the most famous crossing point, checkpoint Charlie
is still standing today.
But the story does not end there, because there is still the
ongoing debate of communism vs. capitalism and both arguments
are good ones, but I am not stating my opinion only the facts,
you can decide for yourself which side if any you're on.
The root of the problem initially began in 1945, May 8th to
be exact. Germany had just surrendered to the Allies, ending
W.W.II and Germany was divided into four sections, each governed
by a different country: Britain, France The US, and the Soviet
Union. Then in 1948, The Soviet Union blocked Berlin in an attempt
to get the other countries to pull out. The Allies had to airlift
supplies for The people of Berlin until The Soviet Union backed
In 1949 the two German states were founded : The Federal Republic
of Germany ( West Germany) and The German Democratic Republic
( East Germany), East Berlin was chosen as the capital for East
Germany. On August 13 th 1961 East Germany sealed the border
between east and west and commenced building the wall ( The wall
was 166 kilometres long, cut through 194 street crossings and
was over 4 metres high at border crossings). On November 9th,
1989 the wall was torn down and on October 3rd 1990 Germany officially
reunited as a country.
It sounds like everything in Germany is solved but it's not.
Since the reuniting unemployment has gone up and the standard
of living has gone down. Some people think that they were better
off when they were under communism because everyone had a job
and always had enough food and could afford to travel. One 60-year-old
glassblower said " I would like to retire now but I can't,
I have to support my unemployed children, under communism this
wouldn't be happening and I will always vote for communism."
This does make a good case for communism but with this as with
everything, there is a downside. If the government tells you
to do something or move somewhere you can't do anything about
it and your freedom of speech, choice etc. can be taken away.
Also in communist countries, if a law is passed that you cannot
go to a certain place or leave the country at all, you would
have to obey these rules.
Capitalism on the other hand gives you freedom of choice,
speech and if you want to move to another country, you can. However,
in the example of Germany, East Germany had everyone working
so everyone made money and could support themselves. Under a
capitalist government, there is no one to find a new job for
you except yourself.
It is up to you to decide what you think and I'd like to hear
from you, please e-mail me at: