The Wall

An evening pause: Fifty-one years ago today the Soviet Union and East Germany — in the name of ideology and communism — cut Berlin in half, putting a wall between neighbors, friends, and families. The documentary below was made in 1962 and will give you a sense of the evil of that wall, as felt by the people who were oppressed by it.

I think it a reasonable thing to remind ourselves again and again that the use of force in the name of any ideology, no matter how well intentioned, is always wrong.

Escape from Berlin

An evening pause: In honor of the fall of the Berlin Wall on this day in 1989, I post below Part 2 of a documentary on the history of the Wall’s construction and the many escape attempts by East Germans. Though the documentary does a poor job of explaining why East Germans desperately made attempt after attempt to flee to the west (a wish to escape from oppression and go somewhere where they could freely live their lives), it does include some incredible film footage showing the various escape attempts. Part 1 outlines the Wall’s initial construction, during which many people could easily break through.

Part 2, embedded below, describes the first deaths, when the communist East German government gave its guards orders to “shoot to kill.” Part 3 is even more fascinating, showing the effort by West Germans to dig tunnels under the 150 foot death strip in order to get friends and relatives out. Parts 4 and 5 show later attempts, when the Wall had become more impregnable, including one escape using an arrow (!) and another using two ultralight airplanes. Part 6 shows the Wall’s fall in 1989.

For twenty-eight years a government decided it had the right to imprison its citizens because they longed for freedom. In the end, all that government really achieved was to prove that freedom is better, and that good intentions — based on intellectual ideology and imposed on people by force — lead nowhere but hell.