The Berlin Wall: The Remaking of a City
The Berlin Wall is perhaps one of the most iconic historical structures located at the city of Berlin, Germany. The wall was built in 1961 by the German Democratic Republic, better known as East Germany, which also divided Berlin into two different parts. West Berlin was occupied by the former Allies of World War Two, and East Berlin was occupied by the Soviet Union. The Berlin Wall was taken down in 1989 and Germany was reunified the following year.
While interacting with local Berliners, I realized there were two perspectives on the collapse of the wall. For West Berliners, this became a sign of prosperity and the opportunity of freedom for them and their counterparts on the Eastern part of the city. But East Berliners had a different view on this historic event. Many East Berliners had taken the ideals of communism as part of their daily routines. They had jobs, families, lifetime experiences that to East Berliners was enough to be happy. And when the people began smashing down the wall with sledgehammers, there was a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty for the future. Not only was the future at stake as former Eastern Germans, but to adapt into a new democratic society was a difficult process that even some would argue that the reunification process only benefited West Germany.
Recently, Berlin celebrated the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. So, what has changed since then? Berlin is the city capital of one of the wealthiest and powerful nations in Europe, it has a lot of history that attracts visitors from all over the world, and it's one of the most welcoming and vibrant cities I have ever visited. The Berlin Wall Memorial serves as a site of commemoration and rememberance, while the East Side Gallery is designated as a heritage site that resembles artistic murals demonstrating the creativity and spirit of the Berlin community. For Germans, especially Berliners, coming to terms with the past hasn't been easy. However, being able to witness people from all walks of life as they admire this historical structure has demonstrated that Berlin is a city of dreamers, where adversity is only a barrier.
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