Hi readers! Are you having a nice Tuesday? Last week there was sunshine and we had the windows open to let in the fresh air, but that was just a spring tease. Today we have 4 inches of snow on the ground. The Viper Pilot has the day off and since they closed the base due to the weather, I got the spend the entire day with the Mister. I’m perfectly fine with that. My tulips and garden, on the other hand, were no so keen on the snow day.
Last weekend the Viper Pilot, Elmer, and I hit the high road to the north and east — a part of the country we haven’t seen yet — and landed ourselves in Berlin.
This historic and reunited capital of Germany has become one giant construction zone but you can’t deny the modern history that is everywhere you look. In fact, you might even call it living history in some areas of the city. Nevertheless, the city is vibrant with youth and the energy of an anything-goes buzz.
The city was Hilter’s capital during WWII, and in postwar years, Berlin became the front line of a new global war between the Soviet-style communism and American-style capitalism. The East German government divided the city with a wall constructed (nearly overnight) in 1961. You know this tangible, almost too-apt Cold War symbol from history class — it’s the Berlin Wall.
To give you an idea of just how divided the city was by the Wall, take a look at this city map where the red line indicates the path of the Wall.
Smack. down. the. center.
Before the Wall was built (1949-1961), approximately 3 million people leaked to the West. In the 28 years that the 12-foot-tall Wall divided the city, border guards fired 1,693 times and made 3,221 arrests, and there were 5,043 documented successful escapes (565 of these were East German guards). Officially, 136 people were killed at the Wall while trying to escape.
Though the majority of the 96-mile-long wall is gone, the former course of the wall through the city center is marked with a double row of cobblestones as a stark reminder of times we must never forget.
Check back tomorrow for more Berlin adventures!