Only fifteen people took the quiz about the Berlin Wall. Either I have few readers born after 1980, or many are wimps. I am disappointed either way.
The answer to all four questions is: “False.”
The GDR, Communist East Germany, built the wall in the middle of Berlin in 1961 to stench an hemorrhaging of East Berliners moving to ( capitalist) West Berlin and to (capitalist) West Germany. Between 1961 and 1989, 61 people were murdered trying to cross the wall from East to West. No one died moving in the opposite direction. West Berlin and West Germany never even thought of stopping people from leaving. I don’t know if a single person left West Germany for Communist East Germany, ever. If they did, all they had to do was buy a subway ticket.
There was a no peace conference at all around 1989. The (Communist) GDR was then (again) losing tens of thousands of its citizens anyway (again) because still nominally Communist Czechoslovakia had declined to stop East German “tourists” from crossing its border into (capitalist) West Germany for good.
The Soviet Union was falling apart from inside and the Soviet elites, including and especially the KGB, knew it well. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, then. He had made several speeches condemning the Soviet Union and Communists everywhere on completely moral grounds. At the time, American liberals laughed at him for calling the Soviet Union, “The Evil Empire.” Reagan’s moral clarity was not lost however on the then-current leader of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev. Thought still a Communist, Gorbachev understood that the system was a massive and terminal failure. He could see that the mass exodus of East Germans was the final nail in Communism’s coffin. That’s because the East Germans had the highest standard of living in the Communist world and the GDR was the most economically successful Communist State. If Communism did not work in Germany, it could not work anywhere, he knew.
Gorbachev did not negotiate anything. He did not “help” remove the wall in any way. He simply had the immense good sense to order the thousands of Soviet soldiers stationed in the GDR to stay in their barracks. And that’s how President Reagan won the last battle of the fifty-year Cold War, without firing a single shot.
Every other Communist regime fell in Europe soon afterwards, including Soviet rule over Russia itself and over associated non-Russian republics.
Conclusion: Communism sucks! The Chinese Communists have saved themselves by losing communism and becoming the world’s most successful mafia. Cubans are awaiting the death of a few old men, both on the island and in Florida, to get rid of the old “communist” Halloween costume. There will be a phone call in the early morning and Cuba’s remaining Communists will have surrendered by mid-afternoon to a flotilla of pleasure boats from Miami. Rolls of Charmin’ toilet paper will be the invaders’ weapon. Remember, you read it here first.
For really good info from inside Cuba, follow the “Generation Y” link on the front page of my blog. It’s written by a courageous single young woman he regime is afraid to shut down.
Today is the anniversary of the end of Wold War One. My grandfather died in it. That was both an especially bloody war and an especially stupid one. It was fought between people who had very similar world views and no intention of enslaving each other. It was the last big war like that. The people we are figthing now want to kill us unless we agree to subscribe to their grotesque beliefs. Thats’ worth fighting againt.