Friday, 30 April 2010

The Wall from Both Sides, Different Angles

"There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that Communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that Communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.
Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put up a wall to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us."
- John F. Kennedy, in his 'Ich bin ein Berliner' speech, June 26, 1963.

"Comrade Ulbricht himself told me that the economy of the G.D.R. immediately began to improve after the establishment of border control. The demand for food products in East Berlin went down because West Berliners were no longer able to shop there...

Furthermore, the establishment of border control in Berlin had a very positive effect on the consciousness of the people. It strengthened them and reminded them that the task of building Socialism was a challenge of solid and lasting importance, dwarfing the temporary phenomenon of West German propaganda which had been used to tempt the East Germans over to the side of capitalism. The establishment of border control restored order and discipline in the East Germans' lives (and the Germans have always appreciated discipline)".
- Nikita S. Khrushchev, in his reminiscences, written in the early 60's.

"You can't live here and not be tied to the wall. It's not that I'm for it or against it. I'm totally confronted by it."
- Peter Unsicker, a West Berlin sculptor, Nov. 11, 1987.

"[The Wall] will still be here in 50, in a hundred years, so long as the reasons for its existence have not been eliminated. That much we must do to protect our republic against robbers, not to speak of those who are ready to disturb stability and peace in Europe."
- Erich Honecker, East German leader, January 1989 [10 months before the opening of the Wall].

The New York Times (1989) The World; Voices From Different Times, and Both Sides Of the Wall. [Online] [30/04/2010]