Monday, November 09, 2009
Catholic Online (http://www.catholic.org/)
The date of November 9, 1989 has special meaning for the citizens of East Berlin. That is when the wall between East and West was breached.
The voice of the people, fueled by hope and joined in solidarity which both began when Pope John Paul II visited Poland, took down a wall and the tyranny that had erected it.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) – On Monday, November 9 we remember that a physical wall which stood almost three decades was breached. The breach, however, was more than just a change in the concrete and barbed wire barrier. It was the end of an era.
The fall of the wall did not occur through an aggressive armed assault at blocks of cement. Nor did it come through long days of dialog by political leaders. It came from the voices of people – thousands of them – in East Germany.
Just like shouts of the Israelites around the walls of Jericho, the people of East Germany had been shouting aloud. Monday demonstrations, peaceful protests, were taking place. Beginning in Leipzig on September 4, 1989, they spread to other East German Cities. By October 23rd, over 320,000 people were gathering in Leipzig alone.
It was this pressure that ultimately led to the end of the wall and ultimately the end of the communist era in Germany.
The physical Berlin Wall began August 13, 1961 when the German Democratic Republic, part of the Soviet bloc, erected 97 miles of barbed wire around the Western section of the city to cut it off from East Berlin and the rest of the communist-controlled territory in which it lay.
Located 150 miles inside of East Germany, West Berliners were cut off from normal means of travel as well as from loved ones who lived on the other side of the barricade.
In succeeding months, high concrete walls, watchtowers, flood lights, and a “no man’s land” were added. The separation was complete.
The wall now tangibly expressed the ideological gap that had existed in the occupation zones inhabited by the Soviets since the end of World War II. The four allied powers – America, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union – were assigned occupation zones in what was previously Nazi-Germany.
It didn’t take long to recognize that the intentions of the Soviets toward Germany were far different from that of the other Allied Powers, who adopted the Marshall Plan for reconstruction and re-development of the country along with other areas of Western Europe.
From Catholic Online, "Newt Gingrich: The Cross, the Pope and the Fall of Communism," "Tear Down This Wall," and "Pope: 'Christian tragedy' under Communism"
From Catholic News Agency, "Vatican daily remembers fall of Berlin Wall"