The Berlin Wall - 24 Years On
Published: November 9th 2013
Today saw the 24th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. November 9th 1989 marked the day when East met West and the ideological barrier between the two began to crumble. This momentous event was met with hands reaching through the wall to their German counterparts, cheers and camera flashes capturing the first moments the wall was breached. Jubilant scenes followed the breaking of the Iron Curtain, but the reunification of Germany was far from an easy transition for many East Berliners.
For students, a visit to Berlin provides them with a history tour that breaks all boundaries of a ‘typical’ museum trip down the road. Berlin is a metropolis of historic monuments, landmarks that mean a great deal to many, and locations that were once the site of something entirely different. Travelbound tick the boxes for excursions that will enhance the learning of your students, while providing that cultural experience only possible with a visit to the destination. Postdamer Platz is such a location that might not immediately be recognised by many as a place of importance, but is in fact significant in Berlin’s modern history. The Berlin Wall that tore through the centre of the city effectively made this area devoid of any activity – a dead zone between the East and West. Today, Potsdamer Platz is a hive of business that benefits from the central location that became available following the breach of The Wall with big-name businesses Daimler-Benz and Sony securing large parts of the area.
Little can be compared to the moment The Wall was breached and it is difficult to imagine such an influential moment will be realised in the near future. The Middle East continues to be faced with the Israeli-Palestine differences and Korea’s North/South divide looks to set to remain for many more years to come. In today’s context, these examples may seem a world-away from the Berlin example, but in reality the Cold War years would tell a different story. Travelbound looks to provide students will the opportunity to explore the history of the Cold War and the impact on the city with a trip to Berlin. How did the Berlin Wall impact on the lives of those on either side? What led to the breach of The Wall in November 1989?
The Checkpoint Charlie Museum provides students with the running history of the Berlin Wall from the point at which construction began, to the moments when the wall was breached and to the various parts of the wall that have remained on display for tourists to see today. The East Side Gallery also provides an insight into events surrounding the various attempts to defect to the West and those that succeeded through an open-air gallery of art. These ties make the remains of the Berlin Wall a must-see when visiting Berlin where your group’s focus is the Cold War or events stemming from World War II. Visiting these sites and the information and insights the students take on-board will be the lessons students will remember. The Berlin Wall may have fallen, but the stories and historic events surrounding its construction, purpose and demolition continue to live on.