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The Berlin Wall: Its Rise, Fall, and Legacy

November 5, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Democratic Party candidates for president advocate socialism. Young adults view collectivism as a serious alternative to capitalism. Most anyone under 40 has little memory of the Berlin Wall, probably the most dramatic symbol of the most murderous human tyranny to afflict the world. After decades of oppression, hundreds of millions of people were finally free, which today we take for granted.

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The Soviet Communist or Bolshevik Revolution was an accident of sorts, a tragic consequence of economic and social collapse resulting from World War I. Absent that conflict, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin probably would have lived out his life in Swiss exile spouting radical doctrines and playing chess. His later colleagues would have suffered obscurity in imperial prisons or exile. Russia’s Czar Nicholas would have lived out his reign as his country prospered economically and reformed politically. Wilhelmine Germany, with a franchise broader than that of Great Britain, also would have seen a gradual shift in power toward liberal constitutional rule as Junker conservatism lost influence.

Alas, Europeans collectively jumped into the abyss of cataclysmic conflict, leading to a continent dominated by fascism, Nazism, and communism. The USSR concentrated its brutality on its own people until Adolf Hitler took control of Germany. The Fuhrer triggered the convulsion known as World War II, a conflict Hitler began but could not finish. In 1945, he committed suicide in the bunker of the ruined Reich chancellery. And the Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin, occupied Berlin.

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A Divided Germany

Germany was divided among the US, Great Britain, France, and USSR. The first three combined their zones into what became the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. The Soviet zone became what was unofficially known in the West as the “sogenannt,” or the so-called German Democratic Republic (GDR). The four victorious powers occupied Germany’s capital, as well, which left West Berlin as an oasis of freedom in the middle of East Germany. In 1948, Moscow blocked land routes …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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