Berlin 1949-1969 Recent History
Cold War

Berlin 1949-1969

The OSTPOLITIK pursued by chancellor WILLY BRANDT, ex-mayor of West Berlin, since 1969 was of special importance for the inhabitants of Berlin. A TRANSIT AGREEMENT was achieved with the GDR, regulation transit traffic from the FRG to Berlin and in the other direction, reducing the danger of another blockade and limiting arbitrary actions by GDR border guards. The FRG, on the other side, paid for the maintenance of the transit roads (which thus became the best kept highways in Eastern Germnany). New border crossing points were opened, visits to relatives made easier.
Economically, West Berlin continued to suffer from its insular location; other areas within the FRG were economically more attractive; the industries remaining in Berlin did so because of Berlin subsidies. Berlin attracted a considerable community of Turkish migrant workers; Berliners jokingly state Berlin-Kreuzberg to be the second largest Turkish city after Istanbul.

Over the years the west got accustomed to the existence of the GDR. The wall had become accepted reality. On the western side, it turned into a piece of art, covered all over with graffiti and sprayed images, itself becoming a tourist attraction.
Berlin, because of its peculiar situation, attracted a number of cultural and political visitors, among them US President RONALD REAGAN who said in a speech "MR. GORBACHEV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL". Before him, a music group, the EURYTHMICS, had given an open air concert not far from the wall. East German music fans had approached the wall from the eastern side to listen to the concert; they had been forcefully removed, some arrested, by GDR police. These originally unpolitical persons, in response to police action, shouted Die Mauer muss weg ! (The wall has to be torn down !). Yet such incidents were isolated, and few believed in the possibility of unification.
In 1988 the European Cup contest was held in the FRG. Yet, when the FRG had been allocated the cup, the Eastern European FIFA delegates had made clear that it was under the condition that no games would be held in West Berlin - these countries did not recognize West Berlin as being a part of the FRG.

DOCUMENTS Ronald Reagan 1987 "Tear Down this Wall" Speech, posted by Reagan Foundation
Eurythmics in Berlin, 9 June 1987, from Los Angeles Times
Statement on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Berlin Wall, August 13, 1981, posted by Reagan Library, UTexas
Remarks on Arrival in Berlin, June 11, 1982, posted by Reagan Library, UTexas
Remarks to the People of Berlin, June 11, 1982, posted by Reagan Library, UTexas
REFERENCE Deutschland in den 70er/80er Jahren, Informationen zur politischen Bildung 270, 2001 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on June 7th 2006

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