QOTM: The fall of the Berlin Wall means… by YEM St Andrews




The Fall of the Berlin Wall means that the hopes and dreams of a whole generation were finally fulfilled and not only Germany, but the whole continent of Europe was peacefully reunited. The wall was the physical manifestation that symbolized oppression and abuse of power. It represented the political, economic and mental divide of one nation forced to exist as two: two currencies, two societies, two governments, two economic systems – two Germanys.  The separation has faded but its repercussions, positive or negative, are still felt 25 years later.

“Nun wächst zusammen, was zusammen gehört”, it was proclaimed. – One people which was physically divided for so many years still came together and prospered, which makes this statement one of hope. The border may have opened due to one fateful human error at first but the irreversible change of the political, social and economic sphere of Europe that were to follow are a product of civil activism of the German and European people.
It is clear that the 9th of November 1989 ended a tragedy, but was it also the beginning of a new one?  Looking beyond merely Germany, the iron curtain was lifted, only to bring about another spectacle of extreme significance: the omnipotence of capitalism and globalization over our minds and very existence. Nonetheless in the course of several revolutionary movements in the Satellite states of the Soviet Union, 45 years of repression in Central and Eastern Europe were to finally be terminated. Moreover, the fall of the Berlin Wall also signified the trigger for in-depth European integration, starting with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and which symbolizes the opportunity for less developed European countries to prosper and get closer to the Western world.

To conclude, twenty-five years ago 155km of bricks and metal were gradually dismantled and reunited families, a city, a nation and eventually a continent through their destruction. For the thousands of people in our world that still face dangerous barriers or obstacles that seem impossible to overcome, November 9th should serve as a reminder that the seemingly impossible can be achieved.