9 November: Fall of the Berlin Wall

Thursday 7 November 2019

9 November is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - one of the iconic events of the late 20th Century through its dramatic nature and its symbolism, signifying the collapse of communist control and the end of the Cold War.

The media is currently full of great clips and stories which are helpful to history students as well as useful for general tutor lessons or assemblies.

There are some very good accounts of the fall of the Berlin Wall on the BBC website. The first one here gives an overview of the key events and the significance of the collapse with interesting video clips; the second focuses on the collapse of the wall from the rather different perspective of Egon Krenz.

How 1989 reshaped the modern world (BBC News)

The wave of revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe helped shape the continent for decades to come.

Fall of Berlin Wall was 'worst night of my life' (BBC News)

East Germany's last communist leader talks about the fall of communism and his love of Russia.

The following clip has an interesting and informative interview with Gunther by his grandson about the building of the wall and his escape  - followed by escape of his girlfriend.

Berlin wall anniversary: Hear Gunther's amazing story - (www.bbc.co.uk)

Gunther was 13 years old when the Berlin Wall was built. In December 1969, he made a daring escape from East Germany, but that wasn't the end of his story.

If you are able to access the BBC programmes, BBC 4 has a series to commemorate the fall of the Wall:

BBC - BBC Four commemorates the fall of the Berlin Wall - Media Centre (www.bbc.co.uk)

To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC Four has announced four new films that address and discuss the surrounding circumstances that led to the end of the Cold War and the fall of the wall.

And where are we now 30 years after this momentous event?

Gorbachev has done an interview re his perspective on the current situation warning against building a new physical or invisible wall between Russia and the West:

Mikhail Gorbachev: World in €˜colossal danger€ - BBC News (YouTube)

The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that current tension between Russia and the West is putting the world in "colossal danger"

In a similar vein, this article from the New Statesman explains how the optimism which greeted the fall of the wall proved unfounded...

Leader: The revenge of history, 30 years on from the fall of the wall (www.newstatesman.com)

Liberals once believed that the retreat of democracy would be akin to water flowing uphill. The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 was greeted as the beginning of a new era of liberal hegemony. Globalisation'€™s apparent triumph proved a false dawn, however. Thirty years after the wall came down, liberal democracy is under threat across the world. Beyond the West, the assumption that economic liberalism would lead to political liberalism has been disproved.

And what about the wider significance of walls today as well as in the past?

Walls are still with us. Your students may want to look at the wider signficance of walls in the world today: this could be the focus of an Assembly or a display.

This article looks at the symbolism of the Berlin Wall and also examines the political consequences of walls today:

Why We Build Walls: 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall (Chatham House)

Robin Niblett talks to Gitika Bhardwaj about the physical and psychological significance of border walls and their role in politics today.

These articles also consider walls today which still divide communities:

16 significant walls dividing people, cities, and countries across the world (Business Insider)

Cities and countries are divided by walls across the world, and they're becoming more common. Here are 16 of the most significant walls.

A world of walls: the brutish power of man-made barriers (the Guardian)

Trump's border wall isn€'t unique. From Calais to Hungary, walls are always with us.

Photos: Built to Separate - €”Border Barriers Around the World (The Atlantic)

As more and more walls are built along borders worldwide, a look at some famous and some lesser-known barriers across the globe.



To post comments you need to log in. If it is your first time you will need to subscribe.