The Berlin Wall and its Resurrection as a Site of Memory

Harrison, Hope M.
August 2011
German Politics & Society;8/15/2011, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p78
Academic Journal
Initially after the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and its state-sponsored demolition over the following year, only a handful of sites remained with pieces of the Berlin Wall still standing. These were magnets for foreign tourists, but Germans themselves, including German officials, were far more interested in creating a united future than in preserving parts of the divided past. With the passage of time, however, the Germans have increasingly come to believe in the importance of explaining the history of the Wall, commemorating its victims, and preserving its few authentic remains in Berlin. This article examines several key moments and debates in the process of the Germans coming-to-terms with the history of the Wall. It charts the process whereby the public and political leaders have devoted greater attention to the Wall in recent years, particularly on the occasions of the fifteenth and twentieth anniversaries of the fall of the Wall in 2004 and 2009 and the fiftieth anniversary of the erection of the Wall in 2011. Finally, the article analyzes lessons German politicians are drawing from the history of the Berlin Wall.


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