9th November 1989 is etched onto the German national consciousness as the day on which the Berlin Wall fell. Televised images of the euphoria experienced by the inhabitants of this divided city, of their seemingly infinite delight and disbelief, provoked unprecedented sympathy worldwide for a people long respected for the economic success and political stability of the two states in which recent history had determined that they should live, but for whom few outsiders had been able to muster any real affection. The Wall had been erected on 13 August 1961 by the communist rulers of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), ostensibly to ‘protect’ their East German population against the ‘imperialism’ of the capitalist west. Berlin thus embodied the global division into two competing power blocs after the Second World War. The collapse of the Wall thirty-eight years after its construction inaugurated the final chapter in the Cold War following the ‘velvet revolutions’ that had swept across eastern Europe at the decade’s end, and a new beginning for Germany, which was unified almost a year later on 3 October 1990.
KeywordsGerman Democratic Republic German Identity National Socialism West German State Velvet Revolution
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References and Suggestions for Further Reading
- Knight, Julia 1992: Women and the New German Cinema. London: Verso.Google Scholar
- Elsaesser, Thomas 1987: ‘Public Bodies and Divided Selves: German Women Film-makers in the 80s’. In Monthly Film Bulletin, December.Google Scholar
- Elsaesser, Thomas 1988: ‘A Retrospect on the New German Cinema’. In German Life and Letters, 41, 3.Google Scholar
- Elsaesser, Thomas 1989: New German Cinema: A History. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Fulbrook, Mary 1991: Germany: The Divided Nation. London: Fontana.Google Scholar
- Fulbrook, Mary 1995: Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949–89. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sandford, John 1980: The New German Cinema. New York: Da Capo.Google Scholar
- Schneider, Peter 1992: The German Comedy: Scenes of Life after the Wall. London: I. B. Tauris.Google Scholar