The fall of the Berlin Wall
So as years ago this Saturday a wall slicing through the heart of Berlin and separating the Soviet controlled east from the British American American and French secured West Foul after twenty eight years. The Iron Curtain had been breached. Thousands of East Germans came across the border. Today perhaps more than one hundred thousand so many that border police lost count and at every border crossing the thousands of West Germans there to say welcome off the second mode will the Potsdam agreement divided control and reconstruction of Germany between the victorious allies and with the British and Americans not willing to hand full control of the capital over to the Soviets the city was similarly a divided but with Berlin residing in the east the agreement men that a Western en clave was born and the west of the city became a potential escape route for eastern defectors east. Germany was losing its best and brightest and flows in charge. Something had to be. He done so in the early hours of the thirteenth of August nineteen sixty one barrier began to be enforced. This story has all the hallmarks of a political story. Still Alive and kicking today at its heart. The Berlin Wall was an immigration issue orbit one of keeping citizens in rather than out we used to be on together's then about twelve thousand years ago. We began to stopping together. As and at that point when static everything everything you have is precious to. You is also static. If you are feeling concerned that somebody else might covet your goods at that point you will defend them and building. Wolves will be part of that. And that's where the wool building started about twelve thousand years ago. It was no point until them. And before that and it has been throughout history whether it's the walls of troy the walls of Jericho Constantinople etc etc and most walls barriers and fences are physical manifestations stations of something much deeper which is the concept of us and then which was true in the time of the Great Wall of China one side barbarians the other side civilization and it's true now of trump's wall they are all these manifestations of division. That's the author author journalist Him Marshall who quite literally wrote the book on walls divided. Why we're living in an age of walls? Chronicles the thousands of miles of fences senses and barriers in our world and how they affect the political landscape too. So how did this particular wall come about the Berlin Wall and the subsequent fence which then fenced off East Germany from West Germany is actually probably a one off in the this will is actually a prison wall to keep people in so they count escape. What is most wolves That we don't want that law over. They're coming over the will to us so it is different in that respect as you get to the late. Nineteen fifty s Germany was divided into zones as one of the losers of the second world. War The problem was that the American can Marshall Plan was already kicking in and the western areas. We're doing much better economically. And so of course people in the Russian sectors sectors of East Berlin voting with their feet and in the years running up to when it was built a couple of million East Germans thought look the standard of life is much better over there and they started moving now. That is a direct challenge to the Russians to the Soviet Union and to the idea of communism because because if it is a physical manifestation is. That's working better for me I'm going that suggests something about your system. So they could not put up with his hemorrhaging. Both at an economical level. All of the workforce but probably more importantly for the Soviet Union and its populations. They can't put up with that because it's a challenge to their concept that our always life is the better way of life for everybody and people supported and so over night one night when the wall and the flow of people was cutoff immediately. I've been in both when the wall existed. But also he hears later and what struck me in the years. I've been since as I find it quite hard to imagine where wasn't people so this is where the war was. This river was a place where people use to try and swim across this dividing line. How complicated indicate it was it to divide a city when you think of our city London how you ever run a fence across the middle of it that would be effective? Well the Russians and East Germans had the advantage of not being directly answerable to their the peoples living there and there were the sectors as you know there was the French control sector British American and there was the Russian control sector so as they had control over that sector and the Americans. The British couldn't say no you can't put at a brick on top of another brick there. They simply walled off their sector unless said they did he overnight. They brought huge concrete slabs in and other things things fencing and they did it overnight but it wasn't politically difficult insofar as the other occupying power bill and didn't have a say in it so obviously go with the contours of the sector. They occupied and that was East Berlin. I mean if it'd been southbound South Bill would now be that buzzword that we have in politics not East Berlin just geographically. That's how far they got the sector that they took for centuries raise walls have been built to keep out invading armies but this was the first wall in all recorded history to keep an entire country from fleeing fleeing into West Berlin is three and a half million before the war was erected if the gods were there guns unsuccessful in keeping people from fleeing that there's the barbed wire if they crossed that that was the wall they reached the top. There was the broken glass and with that a city was divided. Millions of Berlin citizens were now defined by their street address. Peter Miller what is a journalist in East Berlin and the author of nine thousand nine hundred nine Berlin Wall my part in his downfall. Peter told us how he ended up with quite peculiar assignment. I immediately joined Reuters news agency London after finishing university and they sent me straight away after working as a trainee. They sent me to Brussels when I came back to London later about six months and then they say well how up in so it's my job. It's okay I don't Germany level moral and they said well nothing much happens at least seventy days. I'd say a couple of minutes but anyway they put me in there because they'd has the office since easterly separated in nineteen forty nine and a want to give it up because no other non German news agency had enough us on eastern side. The rule. So I I've lived in Paris and lived in Brussels. I thought it was just too good enough for two minutes and slightly disconcerted. I went there and discovered the billion Elian accents and started to pick it up and at the same time had to world. The when I was about to bury I hugged together would be East Germany. which was shook but I ended up there and I found probably one of the exciting places I'd ever be and so there I found myself going through checkpoint quite chilly and finding of flats it Roy says head for study use it was quite doubting? Tell me what was life. Like for a a journalist working in eastbound at the time did you have a sense that you are being watched by the infamous stars e the secret police. It's there's two sides to that question. was that ever since the Russians have done these German Roy shooting in Nineteen fifty-six and he just really accepted it was nothing we could do. Getting cross the Woolworth always dangerous restatements. Who tried to many had been shots and really very so nothing happening city except funding the old dissident who is willing to speak out yes? He took that for granted. Then only after the wolf find became done. We discovered that they started the headed. Twenty nine microphones in the FLACCO. Black I live in which was expected to be a little bit. Quite that many life for foreign journalists in East Berlin was clearly a well. Mona set one for many many in these Ovo life did go on. They wanted to escape and they took risks with their lives and hopes of making it to the West. I am what was seen as freedom.