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The Berlin Wall 1970 to 1980

The primary period is 1970 to 1980 for this discussion of the significance of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall is 13 feet high and 28 miles long. It cuts the historic city of Berlin in half. More than a barrier made of concrete and barbed wire, it is a powerful symbol of the Cold War tensions that divided East and West (Smolowe, 1986, p. 32).

In his book, The Berlin Wall, Peter Galante described Sunday, August 13, 1961 in a uniquely personal way:

It was like splitting Manhattan down the middle of Fifth Avenue from the Battery to the Bronx; like splitting London with a zigzag line from Barnet to Croydon. . . . If you lived on one side and your office was on the other, you couldn't go to work. . . . If your mother lived on one side and you lived on the other, you couldn't go visit her. . . . The aim was simple and brutal: to shut a people in and annex to Communist East Germany what she had not been given by agreement, East Berlin. Its effect was cruel and horrible. At seven in the morning on the first day, a man went to see his child. Barbed wire, concrete blocks and armed police stood between them. For the people, it produced misery. From the people, it produced fortitude and heroism (Galante, 1965, ch. 1).

However, to analyze the dynamic aspects of the German culture and the unique subculture created by the Berlin Wall, a brief historical perspective will be helpful. Berlin is the historic capital and largest city in Germany. Located in the northeastern part of the country, Berlin was the largest city on the European continent before World War II. It was in ruins at the time of Germany's defeat in 1945 and was divided among the victors: the United States, Great Britain, France, and the USSR. At the same time, Germany was divided into zones of occupation, with Berlin in the middle of the Soviet zone. In 1949, the three western zones were united to form the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), and t...

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