East german wall

In 1955, the Soviets gave East Germany authority over civilian movement in Berlin, passing control to a regime not recognized in the West. [38] Initially, East Germany granted "visits" to allow its residents access to West Germany. However, following the defection of large numbers of East Germans under this regime, the new East German state legally restricted virtually all travel to the West in 1956. [36] Soviet East German ambassador Mikhail Pervukhin observed that "the presence in Berlin of an open and essentially uncontrolled border between the socialist and capitalist worlds unwittingly prompts the population to make a comparison between both parts of the city, which unfortunately does not always turn out in favour of Democratic [East] Berlin." [39]

More than 2 million people from East Berlin visited West Berlin that weekend to participate in a celebration that was, one journalist wrote, “the greatest street party in the history of the world.” People used hammers and picks to knock away chunks of the wall–they became known as “mauerspechte,” or “wall woodpeckers”—while cranes and bulldozers pulled down section after section. Soon the wall was gone and Berlin was united for the first time since 1945. “Only today,” one Berliner spray-painted on a piece of the wall, “is the war really over.”

My book titled Bending Spines: The Propagandas of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic (Michigan State University Press, 2004) provides an analysis of much of the material on the German Propaganda Archive. It can be ordered in the United States through amazon . It is also available in a French translation. A Chinese edition appeared in July 2012 but was almost immediately banned by the Chinese government (but not in Hong Kong). It has since been “unbanned.”

East german wall

east german wall

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