Divided City is Joining

Berlin and Its Changing Culture

Times, They are a Changing

"Take it down! Take it down! Take it down!" Millions of people yelled on the fateful day November 9, 1989. That was an ultimate day for the people of Berlin and its history. The day the Berlin Wall fell. But we'll get to that. First, we need to talk about other chronicles.

Berlin of the Past

Sights to See

Before Berlin became a Nazi-controlled and Communist-centered city, it had beautiful architecture and things to see. Museum Island, designed by King Fredrick William III for a place of learning and art, has 5 different museums consisting of Greek, Roman, French, and Babylonian art and sculptures. Also, there are places like the stunning Brandenburger Tor, (Brandenburg Gate) that have a 19th century, neoclassical feel. Then you have the Reichstag, enthralling and exquisite in the 1800s.

But a lot has changed.

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World War II Worries

Berlin was an elegant and enthralling city, Until September 1, 1939. Hitler and the Nazi Party invaded Poland and Czechslovakia to begin World War II in Europe. Germany and Europe itself became a war-torn territory. Life in Europe became awful. Thousands of people escaped and tried to go to a country that was not in the war, but almost all of the countries were participating.
World War II lasted until 1945, when the Axis Powers, who was created by Germany, Italy, and Japan, then later joined by Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia in 1940, surrendered. The Allies, who had with them the US, Britan, USSR, Australia, Canada, and many more, accepted the surrender about a week after Adolf Hitler took his own life.

Berlin of Now

Modern Metropolis

A lot has changed since the time of World War II. Berlin was like the story of the Ugly Duckling. During WWII, Berlin was the duckling, but now it has turned (back) into a dazzling swan. Berlin had been abandoned by WWII destruction and Wall neglect. Now, the Federal Chancellery has a helicopter pad, which is much better than a viewing platform to see from East to West. Berlin is making old, neglected buildings into cool cafes and hangouts. Also, Berlin has rebuilt Reichstag, which was abandoned in the mist of WWII. Now, it has a huge glass dome to add a modern feel. The Kurfürstendamm is a 2 mile street lined with shops, movie theaters, and more than 6500 restaurants. You can even get a three-day pass on the underground train so you can go shopping as much as you want without missing a shop.
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The Wall

August 13

August 13, 1961 was the darkest day in Berlin's history. It was the day East Berlin, ruled by Walter E. Ulbricht, a communist, put up the Berlin Wall. Ulbricht was seeing what was going on around him, and refugees were escaping to West Berlin. He was so mortified he told his soldiers to build a barbed wire wall over night, and only he and his minions knew. Families woke up split. Friends were broke apart for almost 30 years. Unless you escaped. People escaped (or tried) in numerous ways. When the wall was just 3 feet of barbed wire, Conrad Schumann, a soldier in the East, just jumped over it. Then, because so many escapes were being made, it was made into a full wall, measuring about 12 feet high and 41 miles long, with 300 manned towers where soldiers would stand and wait to shoot.

East is the Beast

The East was ruled the Soviet Union, by Walter E. Ulbricht, a communist. He believed in communism. If you lived in the East, you wouldn't be able to listen to the Beatles or wear the clothes you want. Those were considered "evil influences". All you could wear was gray! There was no art or really any color. You didn't even have control over your own money. They would even plant cameras in your apartment to spy on you to turn you in to the Stasi. The Stasi really were beasts.
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West is the Best

The West was ruled by America, Britain, and France, but more specifically John F. Kennedy. The people who ruled it were capitalist, so everyone was free to do what they want. When the Wall was up, they put graffiti on the Wall so they could make it brighter and try to make a positive situation out of something negative. You could wear what you want, listen to what you want, and live how you want.
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Stasi Scares

The Stasi were the Kylo Ren of East Berlin's government. They were making terror on East Berlin's people until February of 1990. They planted cameras in people's apartments to spy on them. Some would even spy on their own family and friends. They would keep records on people who "did things wrong" when even though they were just being themselves. Some people tried to escape once, fail, and then the Stasi would keep and eye on them. If you tried to escape, and the Stasi caught you, you would be dead meat. Literally. 1/3 of East Berlin had "done something wrong".

The Stasi broke apart in 1990. By then, the Stasi had 500,000-2,000,000 collaborators and 100,000 brainwashed employees, starting from the age of 18. When they split, people were permitted to see their own files. I couldn't imagine all the things that were in those files.

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The Fall

The Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989. Millions of people watched it on television, and thousands were there. It was a glorious day for Berlin and the world. The families that were split were united. Friends that hadn't seen each other in decades were together again. Berlin was officially a whole again. Chanting, screaming, it was beautiful.

The Rule of the Fürher

Hitler became the chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. It was a day that would make history. Little did everyone know what Adolf Hitler had up his sleeve.

Hitler believed that everyone who did not believe what he believed in like Jews and anyone who was of any other race should be exterminated, in Germany (and everywhere). To do this, shortly after he became chancellor, he opened the first concentration camp, Dachau, where he would kidnap Jews and send them to a concentration camp, where they would starve, work, and potentially die. There were more that were open as Hitler became more powerful.

Nazi Commanders

The Nazi Party did many things to the people of Europe. In the early 1920s, Hitler blossomed as a public speaker. But not in a good way. He blamed Jews for all of Germany's problems, though they had nothing to do with any of them. He gave speeches that sent the message out that hunger and employment would continue if there wasn't a revolution. In the 1932 election, they captured 230 of the 608 seats in Reichstag. When he was elected, all other parties were banned. You had to believe in what he did. By 1938, Jews weren't allowed in public places. An estimated 6 million Jews were killed in concentration camps.
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Powerful Propaganda

Hitler used propaganda in numerous ways during his time as chancellor of Germany. He would put up posters that persuaded people to follow the Nazi Party. He would give children and adults books that would blame Jews for all of Germany's problems, and that is really how he got most of his followers.

The End of Hitler's Rule

Hitler saw what was going on around him and realized that the Axis Powers were losing. A radio report was given that announced that Nazi Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, around a week after Hitler took his own life on April 30. It was the day the soldiers came home. It was the day that the Allies won. The day WWII ended.

Out With the Wall, In With the Love

Now, you have probably seen the progress of Berlin from the 1200s, to the 1930s, to the 1960s, then to 21st century. It has changed so much, through thick and thin (but mostly thick). Life in Berlin now is better than ever. Thanks for reading my report!

Power Words

capitalist: a ruler who believes in capitalism,which means the people are free and can do what they want with their money

communist: a person who believes that all people should be controlled and all money goes to the state