BERLIN AN ENCOUNTER OF A DIFFERENT KIND Essay Example

  • Category:
    History
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
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    2
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    1446

Berlin an encounter of a different kind

Introduction

As one of the most developed city in Europe, Berlin has very many feature which makes it outstanding and tourist destination city. It has a long splendid history which is manifested through some of the ancient features which shaped the development of this city (Sheehan, 2003).The ancient Berlin wall, all the features that signified the famous cold war as well as Checkpoint Charlie increases the fame of Berlin more as a city. During cold war the city was divided into two parts that is west and East Berlin. The wall is very vital to the people of Berlin since this was where suffered both emotionally and physically as they tried to fight for freedom. While one visited the city he /she could sense several things including the cold war which played a big part in controlling the city, the imperialist’s debauchery modernized state, as well as the stale grey state of East Berlin (Funder, 2002).

The cold war in 9th November 1989 ended consequently leading to the unison of West and East Berlin and, therefore, the fall of the wall which separated the two regions and had existed for over four decades. Families, friends and relatives that were separated for so long united again, leave scars which would take long to heal both physically and emotionally. Following the reunification of Berlin, many citizens were happy and they extremely enjoyed the move. After its reunification Berlin again became the capital city of Germany (Funder, 2002).For any tourist who plans to visit Berlin such places as Museum Island, the Stasi-museum in East Berlin and some remnant parts of Berlin wall usually are good places to start with. Other tourist’s destination points include Kurfurstendamm (kudamm) and Reichstag building, Charllottenburg, Tiergarten Brandenburg Gate with Quadrika pointing in the west direction. Also popular with tourists are the Checkpoint Charlie which was famous for the exchange between the East and the West before destruction of the wall (Stasimuseum, 2012).

A lot of East Berlin history and in particular Stasi can be learnt by visiting some of the chilling sites situated at Normannen Strasse, exit public transport, magdalenen Strasse. In these places many historical resources are preserved for those who are interested. For instance a lot of information of cold war are preserved in documentations and are well protected (Stasimuseum, 2012). During the cold war East Germany unlike West Germany supported communist ideologies which were supported by Soviet Union and its allies. The then government used to persecute the resistant groups who resisted the communism ideologies and supported the capitalist ideologies. This resulted in political prisoners / victims who were tortured and incarcerated as a result of rejecting and objecting the communism ideologies which the government embraced (Stasimuseum, 2012).

The resistant groups used to scrutinize their government under the help of cunning low technical surveillance devices which they used to hide in watering cans, under the rocks and even neckties. At the same time the governments incorporated communism ideologies in the East –Germany education system by the name political ideological education. As such, children and juveniles were indoctrinated in every subject the socialist personalities aimed at making them internalize the communist belief systems leading them to support the political system by all means.

The era was dominated by tough dictatorship from leaders such as who influenced all areas of life where they decided what citizens did or did not. Agents such as party, labor unions, state machinery which included the police and MFS (Germany: secret police) as well as justice systems used to enforce the leaders will and the defiant were highly tortured sometimes through corporal punishment and hard penalties. The time was marked with the production most modern technology especially ammunitions which was mostly used by the MFS but the technology vanished in the course of the disorganization (Donnersmarc, 2006). The technology then was comparable with the today’s technology such as computers equipments of surveillance and modern technology. Unlike West Germany East Germany economic growth was very slow while life was full of suffering, pain and misery (Donnersmarc, 2006).

Shortly before the end of the cold war in 1989 the boarder of East Berlin and West Berlin was opened to allow private trips abroad. As a result masses of people started to knock out pieces of the wall using hammers and chisels. Following this check points were opened at potsdamer platz and the Brandenberg gate. Also there was the fall of GDR in the East Germany leading to the fall reunion of West an East Germany. In early 1990 free elections we done and as a result massive emigration from east to west began leaving numerous economic and emotional scars (Sheehan, 2003). Stasi was a place named after the Stasi/MFS (Germany: ministry for state security) and it was where the MFS used to fight and torture the people who were defiant of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. Indeed Stasi fight against those who refused to follow the ideologies of communism as required by the dictators. Anger resentments dominated the period of cold ware. Families were made to spy on other members of the family resulting into shame and oppression (Sheehan, 2003).

Reflection

As a tourist who have just learnt the shocking history of eastern Berlin during the era of cold war I could feel that nothing have really changed as I walked around the city. As I walked people passed me and I could see the turmoil of surveillance that the Stasi (East Germany police) had subjected people to. Oppressions and old age caused by the former communist could be very evident as some maintained scars while others could easily narrate stories of what they underwent during the rootless era of cold war. As I walked I saw the famous East Germany prison commonly known Höhenschönhausen and I became interested to see what was inside (Rusch, 2007).This was the political hell where the political prisoners were tortured because of defying the orders of the communist dictators. I went through the main entrance where I encountered an elderly lady who was the tourist guide of the famous prison. In her Berlin language she explained the experiences of the political prisoners (Rusch, 2007)

As one of the person who witnessed the cold war era she had admirable history of the former communist republic which she adequately narrated to me. I asked her how political prisoners used to manage t survive in the prison and she told me that every citizen during the era was under heavy surveillance of the famous Stasi police or bunch of thugs as the lady called them. As I moved on down the corridor I could encountered with a smell which was a blend old men and ink smell. I saw the interviewing room, old surveillance equipments such as telephone chairs and desks where they hand remained intact without being moved for over forty years(Stasimuseum, 2012)The jails cells were small as I could see and if it were modern days the Amnesty laws would have regarded them as not adequate and inhuman leading to destruction of any form of life. Down the corridor I could see a good display of cameras as well as surveillance equipments which were simple but effective. According to the elderly lady, another means of torture that the prisoners were subjected to was the deprivation of sleep. This according to the old lady made the prisoners reveal most of their inner secrets concerning their refusal to obey the dictators orders (Stasimuseum, 2012). As I listened to this I thought of the abandoned Banderas Stamford prison experiment after the prisoners were tortured by the students who became wardens. It also reminded me of the famous Afghani prisoners in the American soil.

Conclusion

In conclusion as apparent in this paper freedom of Berlin was gotten out of fight which cased pain misery suffering of citizens as they tried to free from the communism they were subjected to by their leaders. As seen those who resisted were thrown into jails and where their freedom was interfered with as they were tortured so as to reveal their secrets about their resistance. Freedom was no really gotten on a silver plate the citizen of East Berlin really paid for it.

References

Donnersmarc, F., (2006). The lives of others. Retrieved on 17th September 2013 from <http://zooetrope365.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/the-lives-of-others-florian-henckel-von- donnersmarck-2006/>

Funder, A. (2002).1st. Ed. Stasiland.The Text Publishing Company. Australia.

Rusch, C. (2007). 1st. Ed. Meine Freie Deutsche Jugend. Suhrkamp Verlag.Germany.

stasimuseum (2012) stasimuseum.com.de .retrieved on 17th September 2013 from <www.stasimuseum.com.de >

Walker, m., (1995). The Cold War: A History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1995

Sheehan, s., (2003). The Cold War. London: Black Rabbit Books