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When the Wall Went Up…

Cultural divides are not as easily demolished as physical barriers.

Robert Wargas


August 14, 2012 - 7:13 am

Fifty-one years ago yesterday, on August 13, 1961, the Berlin Wall (Die Berliner Mauer) began to go up in that divided city. It started as a barbed-wire fence and eventually became brick and mortar.

Nevertheless, Konrad Adenauer, the West German Chancellor, could not concede to a divided German spirit. “They are and remain our German brothers and sisters,” he said of the eastern portion of his country.

Unfortunately, there are many Germans today who would feel uncomfortable uttering that same statement. Rightly or wrongly (I think wrongly), to them the words “brother” and “sister,” as applied to national sentiment, trigger images of Nazism in too many heads–not their own, but others’.

It’s interesting to note that Nazism today is illegal in Germany, while Communist parties are free to run in open elections.

Robert Wargas is a contributor to PJ Media. A native of Long Island, he was educated at the City University of New York and Yale University, and has also written for The Daily Telegraph of London and The Weekly Standard. Outside of opinion writing, he has worked as a professional historian for a major research laboratory and university, documenting the history of biotechnology since the 1970s. He has also reported for both weekly and daily newspapers, including Newsday. He maintains a personal blog/website at Follow him on Twitter @RobertWargas
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