The Green Hope Falcon

On This Day in History: One Germany

Geoffrey Dean, Staff Writer

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On October 3, 1990, one of the most significant moments of the 20th century took place.  As the clock struck midnight, East and West Germans rushed to the infamous Berlin Wall, reducing it to rubble.  It was an act of unity that would change the known world forever.

 

For nearly 29 years, the Berlin Wall had separated the Soviet-controlled East German sector of Berlin, from the democratic West German sector of Berlin.  Life in East Germany was poor, which incentivized it’s citizens to try and make a run for freedom. Colin Purtell, a former Green Hope student who has since moved to Germany said the difference is apparent, “Due to the Russian occupation in Eastern Germany there is a much more sparse and rural population, compared to Western Germany, which is slightly more developed and urbanized.” The wall was built by the East German government to keep their citizens within their borders, and discourage defecting to the far more prosperous West Germany.  It served as a symbol of division, contention, and terror, to further aggravate the relationship between the Capitalist West and Communist East. As the Cold War increased in tension, the ferocity with which the East Germans protected the wall also rose. Almost 80 people lost their lives trying to cross over the wall into West Germany.

 

However, there were also stories of incredible heroism and bravery on the part of the West German side.  West Germans risked their lives to help tunnel their fellow Germans out of the East. East Germans sacrificed their lives so that others could safely reach the other side.  Towards the end of the Cold War, it was the Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union, who took the bravest steps. Gorbachev went against everything his government had stood for in a series of reforms within the Soviet Union.  He reduced the size and spending of the Soviet military, in addition to removing the USSR from global military conflicts such as Afghanistan and Cambodia. Gorbachev also began develop a more open style of government, and started to make information that was previously held secret, available to the general public.

 

Many people in power to the west of the wall took an active part in trying to bring the country together. Protests outside the wall were staged routinely, in an attempt to convince the East German government to remove the wall.  Concerts took place just outside the wall, featuring famous musicians from Bruce Springsteen to David Bowie. Their songs called for reform, denouncing the terror that gripped the East. The pinnacle of the fight for reunification was the famous speech by Ronald Reagan outside of the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987.  Reagan spoke with intense passion, and demanded that Gorbachev, “Tear down this wall!” This line from his speech will forever be known as a key moment in the path to a unified Germany.

 

The tremendous emotion that was seen that joyous night on the third of October cannot be understated.  Families who had been separated by the government were reunified at last. Friends who had not seen each other for decades, finally rejoiced.  A people who had been held hostage by the evils of corruption, were freed. It was the acts of the public, that finally brought about change to the situation.  After a long hard battle, they succeeded. 28 years ago today.

 

About the Writer
Geoffrey Dean, Staff Writer

This is Geoffrey’s first year on The Falcon.  He is an aspiring writer, who is now a Junior after spending two years at Green Hope already.  He is looking forward to his favorite class, history. Some interesting facts about Geoffrey is that his spirit animal is either an eagle or killer whale, depending on the day, he is an oldest child, and does not own any pets.  Geoffrey enjoys pop music and will listen to anything that is playing on the radio. His favorite thing about green hope is the teachers, he has not had a teacher that he did not like, and he is a swimmer on the Green Hope team.

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On This Day in History: One Germany