Nobody Had Any Intention Of Building A Wall

Right. And nobody had any intention of tearing it down twenty-eight years later either.

Walter Ulbricht

But, you know, stuff happens.

In his lack of preparation, he mistakenly insinuated that the checkpoints in the Berlin Wall — which up until then were guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone trying to cross — were now open. They weren’t, but that announcement was all East Berliners needed to storm the wall and demand they be allowed to cross into West Berlin. After that, the wall became obsolete, and soon fell.

If You Didn’t Read It Here It Didn’t Happen

Go Neues Deutschland. There are not a lot of East Berlin newspapers out there that have the backbone to call the fall of the Berlin Wall fake news.

ND

Communist newspapers? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?

Wolfgang Hübner returns from the archives of the Neues Deutschland newspaper clutching a rare treasure: a thick binder containing one of the biggest misses in journalistic history.

Mr Hübner has unearthed the edition of Friday, November 10 1989, the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is the most consequential moment of the decade, yet that day’s ND — the official organ of the Socialist party of East Germany, boasting a circulation of more than 1m — contains not a word on the event.

“Lots of traffic at the border crossing.”

Go West, Young Man!

But not everybody at once! Sheesh.

Population

The East German rural population is now as low as it was back in 1905. The population in West Germany has more than doubled since then. For three reasons, demographers say: 1) Anybody who could fled from the Communist East after World War II and before the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, 2) Communist East Germany never had any immigration (of guest works like in the West, for example) and 3) there was also a big migration to the West after the Berlin Wall came down. Now it’s ghost town time over there and nobody knows what to do about it.

“For a long time, the problem of eastern Germany was, above all, the lack of jobs. Now you almost have the opposite problem: they are running out of workers.”

Practice Your German Tonight

And your Cold War attitudes from the 80s, while you’re at it. Looks like we might be needing them again.

Deutschland 83

“Deutschland 83” premieres 11 p.m. Wednesday on SundanceTV.

SundanceTV’s “Deutschland 83” is the first German-language series ever broadcast on a U.S. network. The eight-part fictional spy thriller is set in 1983, when the then-split Germany was the hot spot for escalating nuclear tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin: “More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defense systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year.”

Capitalism Causes All This Awful German Affluence

And it must be stopped immediately (the capitalism, not the affluence). And let’s get rid of democracy while we’re at it.

Democracy

Survey says… Nearly a third of Germans believe that capitalism is the cause of poverty and hunger.

The poll of 1,400 people found that 59 percent of Germans in the formerly communist east consider communist and socialist ideals a good idea for society. In western Germany, 37 percent said they considered communist and socialist ideals to be good…

The survey found that more than 60 percent of Germans believe there is no genuine democracy in their country because industry has too much political influence and that the voice of the voters plays only a subordinate role.

Although not covered by this particular survey, capitalism and democracy are clearly also the cause behind the German obesity problem, the German six weeks of vacation a year problem, the German lowest unemployment rate and highest per capita (does that word come from capitalism?) savings in all of Europe problems, too. To name just a few.

Einer Studie zufolge glauben mehr als 60 Prozent der Bürger, dass in Deutschland keine echte Demokratie herrscht.

Why Germans Are Desperate To Ignore A Dangerous World?

Desperate? I think determined is the better word. Why? Because they can. And this is just what Germans do. It’s never been any different here (not in our lifetimes).

Disneyland

Imagine being born and raised in a place that is cut off from the rest of that yucky world “out there,” just like your parents before you. In an amusement park kind of way, I mean. You know, kind of like Disneyland? Only they call it Deutschland instead.

I spoke about the relative weakness of NATO, about the failures of European foreign policy, about Russia’s use of money and disinformation to divide Europe and the United States. The crowd and the other panelists nodded—and then almost immediately changed the subject. Instead of NATO, the German audience wanted to discuss genetically modified food and chickens washed in chlorinated water.

“When I think of politics I think about my neighborhood, street lights and construction permits.”

Once An Ex-Communist Always An Ex-Communist

Another Ex-cellent chance to ex-ceed, I’d say. And a great way to celebrate the coming 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall!

Communist

Well isn’t this special. Germany’s main center-left party, the Social Democrats (SPD) – currently in power in Berlin with Merkel & Co. – said Tuesday a party ballot in eastern Thuringia state showed 70 percent favoring negotiations to join a regional government led by Left Party candidate Bodo Ramelow. The Left Party used to be the PDS which used to be the SED (the East German communist party), of course, but nobody with any manners likes to put it that way so I figured I would.

Do you think this coming ex-communist coalition with the SPD upsets anyone over here? Of course not. The only thing that ruffled a few folks’ feathers was the audacity Germany’s president Joachim Gauck had – a former East German pro-democracy activist – by openly questioning whether a party with communist roots like the Left Party could really be trusted or not. Can you imagine that? Who does this president of Germany think he is anyway? The president of Germany?

“There are parts of this party where I, like many others, have problems developing this trust (he means like the openly Stalinist folks).

Confirm Your Prejudice Here

Germans still have walls in their heads? Why should that surprise anybody? Everybody else does, too. It’s just that the Germans are the only ones who have an excuse for it, sort of.

Wall

“Eastern Germans often say that western Germans are arrogant, materialistic, more bureaucratic and superficial.”

…But Eastern Germans aren’t the only ones still holding prejudices – western Germans have their own clichés about Germans from the former GDR. According to surveys conducted by leading opinion research centers, western Germans think Eastern Germans are sour, mistrustful and anxious. On the other hand, only 43 percent of western Germans considered eastern Germans “motivated” and “flexible.”

And both are right, of course. Hey, if you believe you are a second class citizen, then you are one. And if you believe you are the superior one who calls all the shots, then you are. But it’s kind of fun watching these folks slowly ride off into the East-West sunset. Both camps know quite well that they’re already von gestern (yesterday’s news). Or as Butt-Head used to put it: “Uh-huh, old people, uh-huh.”

“The second and third generations after the unification are much more optimistic, and see more equality between east and west. The proportion of those who think there are more differences than similarities between eastern and western Germans has continuously decreased over the past years.”

And have a happy Unification Day already.

Here’s How You Dress For Success

If you have ever dreamed of being a startlingly effective secret policeman in a paranoid German Communist dystopia, I mean.

Stasi

The Stasi fashion collection was extensive. The agency sent thousands of spies into West Germany and had access to vast amounts of cash to buy western goods to equip agents with.

“For me, the banality of some of these pictures makes them even more repulsive.”

International Olympic Committee To Disqualify All East German Olympic Medals

Just kidding.

The Limpics.

That the IOC seems determined to find a way to strip Armstrong’s time trial medal prompted Bill Mallon, one of the world’s leading Olympic historians, to ask in an email why the Olympic officials can’t do it for the medals won by doped East German athletes.  

It’s a good question.  

There actually is more documented evidence of East German doping than there is of Armstrong’s.  The Stasi (East German secret police) files opened after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall gave names, dates, and dosages, implicating many East German Olympic medalists from 1972 through 1988.