Sociology Index


Berlin Wall was a barrier of barbed wire and, later, of concrete and minefields built in 1961 between the eastern sector of the city of Berlin and the western sector. Berlin wall was built at the direction of the Soviet Union to prevent migration from east to west and to minimize cultural contact between east and west Berlin. With the uprising against communism in east Germany in 1989, the east German government was forced to declare free rights of emigration for all citizens and in December of 1989 the Wall was opened for free passage. Berlin Wall and now the Mexican Wall show the absurdity of the money poured into what amounts to little more than a broad symbol of xenophobia.

Trump’s $27m-a-mile border wall is now being scaled with $5 ladders. Berlin Wall, a barrier of barbed wire, concrete and minefields built in 1961 dividing Berlin came down in 1989. No wall can stop humans. Walls show the absurdity of the money poured into what amounts to little more than a broad symbol of xenophobia.

“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!” – Ronald Reagan (1987).
Ryan Bobst, International Affairs and German Senior Seminar, Fall 2006 Communism suffered a constant decline beginning with Poland, then East Germany in 1989, and finally the Soviet Union in 1991. The application of Glasnost in the Soviet Union permitted non-Communist governments, such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia, to break away from Soviet domination. Gorbachev, the Soviet President, urged Honecker, the East German President, to accept reform and allow certain freedoms in East Germany. After many demonstrations by the East and West German people, East Germany collapsed thus leading to the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of East and West Germany.

The Economics of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall - MANFRED TIETZEL, MARION WEBER, Universitat Duisberg, Rationality and Society, Vol. 6, No. 1, (1994). The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain are explained in the context of an exit-voice framework presuming rational actors. It is shown that the prohibition of exit by establishing what we call "political costs of individual mobility" was a conditio sine qua non for the effective suppression of internal political opposition in Eastern Europe, and in East Germany in particular. The analysis of the costs of emigration and of political protest as instruments of autocratic rule leads to interesting and surprising implications as to the general stability of dictatorial regimes.

Remembering the Berlin Wall: The Wall Memorial Ensemble Bernauer Strasse, Gerd Knischewski and Ulla Spittler - German Life and Letters 59 (2), 280–293.
Abstract: Remembrance and commemoration of the National Socialist past have always been contentious issues within the political culture of West Germany. After unification this process of 'coming to terms with the past' began to include the 'second German dictatorship' in the form of the GDR. A case study of the Berlin Wall Memorial site and 'Documentation Center' in Bernauer Strasse shows that remembrance of the Wall indeed has high potential for instrumentalisation in political-ideological conflicts. However, several other factors have also contributed to the development of this remembrance of the Berlin Wall, and its improvised form and content.

"The Fall of the Wall"
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall the ORB broadcasted one of the longest documentary series in the history of television. The ORB has extended "The Fall of the Wall" into an ambitious tri-medial project involving television, the internet and radio. This provides a special opportunity for the ORB, a young east Germany station, to make a significant contribution to the recollections of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A different political forum - East German theatre and the construction of the Berlin Wall 
Laura Bradley, University of Edinburgh. Journal of European Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2, 139-156 (2006).
Using new archive material, this article explores how East German theatre responded to the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. East Berlin's theatres and opera houses faced serious logistical difficulties, as they had previously relied heavily on Western practitioners. Even so, dramatists, directors and actors rallied in a strong public show of support for the Wall. Behind the scenes, most dissenters fell silent, in contrast to other professionals in East Berlin.

The influence of geopolitical change on the well-being of a population: the Berlin Wall - V Heon-Klin, E Sieber, J Huebner and MT Fullilove, Medical University of Lubeck, Lubeck, Germany. American Journal of Public Health, Vol 91, Issue 3 369-374.
OBJECTIVES: Social cohesion is recognized as a fundamental condition for healthy populations, but social cohesion itself arises from political unity. The history of the Berlin Wall provides a unique opportunity to examine the effects of partition on social cohesion and, by inference, on health. RESULTS: The separation of Berlin into 2 parts was a traumatic experience for the city's residents. After partition, East and West Germany had divergent social, cultural, and political experiences and gradually grew apart.

Driving the Soviets up the Wall: A Super-Ally, a Superpower, and the Building of the Berlin Wall, 1958-61 Harrison H.M.
Abstract: For understanding the key events and dynamics of the Cold War, it is insufficient to study just the policies of the superpowers; the new archival evidence increasingly reveals the importance of the goals and policies of the superpowers' key allies, or 'superallies', in the Cold War. Based on archival research in Moscow and Berlin, this article examines the Berlin Crisis of 1958-61 during which a 'superally', East Germany, used direct and indirect means to persuade the reluctant Soviets to build the Berlin Wall.

A German ‘Heimat’ further east and in the Baltic region? - Contemporary German film as a provocation 
Alexandra Ludewig, University of Western Australia - Journal of European Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2, 157-179 (2006).
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, unification and the subsequent reinvention of the nation, German filmmakers have revisited their country's ‘Heimatfilm’ traditions with a view to placing themselves creatively in the context of its intellectual and artistic heritage.

Symbolic Uses of the Berlin Wall, 1961-1989. Bruner, Michael S. 
Abstract: Examines samples from public discourse during the period 1961-1989, which reveal several different symbolic uses of the Berlin Wall. Suggests these differences reflect the never-completed struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Inverting Images of the 40s: The Berlin Wall and Collective Amnesia. Loshitzky, Yosefa.
Abstract: Examines images of World War II invoked in two live, international music concerts (one rock, one classical) celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall. Argues that Western television's choice of imagery represented the Wall's demise as a marker of the end of the Cold War rather than a vanishing monument of Germany's conflicted struggle with Holocaust memory.

Twelve Years After: The Berlin Wall as Will and Idea 
Robert J. Kelly1 and Robert W. Rieber, City University of New York, New York.
Abstract The Berlin Wall at different times in its ignominious history has been demonized by Western opinion less because of its real paltry role in the Cold War tension in Europe than because of the fears and frustrations it generated within Europe. This is the central theme and claim of this paper. We attempt to show through an excursion of personal and institutional events how the perceptions of Soviet communist realities were refracted through the icon of the Wall as a Cold War symbol.