What were you doing on the night when the Berlin Wall fell?
I was watching it live on TV. I could not believe what I was seeing. For those of us who grew up during the Cold War, it was an event of unprecedented significance.
Margaret Thatcher was deeply opposed, and frantically begged Gorbachev to preserve the Wall in the interests of maintaining a permanently divided Germany. She was motivated by her paranoia about the potential influence of a unified German state.
Fortunately Thatcher's pro-Soviet whining and pleading was to no avail: Gorbachev simply ignored her.
My father was born in Kiel, West Germany. He predicted that the Berlin Wall would not come down within his lifetime. Sadly, he was right: he died less than a month before it fell.
What were you doing on the 9th of November, 1989?
I don't remember.
I was a twinkle in my mother's eye as she often puts it
I was staying in a caravan park in Normandy, the next day my dad took a photo of us all saying.
"Remember this photo because its where you where when the Berlin wall fell."
I'll see if I can find it.
I was in kindergarten, so I don't remember much of world events at that time. Believe me I wish I could remember.
I was working in Munich that year. First thing I thought about was the East German guy that worked on the carlines with me in BMW - that he'd finally get to see his family again. He just told me 'he got out' about ten years beforehand but never said how, alas, despite my constant badgering. Then I thought of all the Turkish guys in the factory with us and wondered whether they're jobs would be safe now that they'd have competition from all the East Germans.
Decent sort those guys - most of them scrimped and saved every penny they got and sent it back home. They were great men for breaking out the family photos and what have you. Older married Turks would usually stay in the Wohnheim working quarters where there was a mini-mosque set up in the basement. You could hear the daily prayers ringing through the building while we'd play cards all day and get plastered. They wouldn't have been happy if the Wall coming down meant they'd lose their jobs.
Most of all though, I shared with many others at the time the same recurring nightmare of what a newly unified Germany would actually mean - the horrible, almost insanely unedifying prospect of them completely dominating the World Cup!
Just to turn the blade of course they went and won it the following year ..
My oldest son was six years old at the time, so I was probably reading him a bedtime story or something. Or maybe we were watching a Thomas the Tank Engine video.
I was between flats, and staying with my sister and her then husband at the time, in an old pub that had been renovated and turned into flats. We were watching the wall come down on live TV (whilst rolling and smoking a spliff I seem to recall - such are the extravagances of youth).
I remember how fantastic it felt to see it happening. I grew up in an age when the Cold War seemed set in stone as a permanent feature of world geopolitics. I never imagined that I would see the wall come down and the iron curtain disappear in my lifetime. Few people did. As a young lad in the 70s I used to read science fiction comics, and they assumed that the Soviet system would still exist centuries into the future, with Soviet colonies on the moon and suchlike. And this just demonstrates that it was easier to imagine Soviet colonies on the moon, than it was to imagine the collapse of the Soviet system.
The fall of the Berlin wall was a momentous and wondrous event at the time, and recognised as such my most people witnessing it.
Wasn't born yet :p
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