OPINION: 30 Years on, what is the real legacy of the Berlin Wall’s destruction?

The Slog


Caveat emptor: the value of an investment in geopolitical “dividends” could go up or down


When I first saw the Berlin Wall in 1965, it was only four years old. To me then, it was a symbol of everything truly third rate about the Soviet Union: colourless, drab, and very sloppily constructed. Like most other idealistic kids of my generation, it represented the Orwellian hatred of ‘forcing people to be happy’ by caging them in: I longed for the time when it could be torn down….but all of us were (rightly) terrified of nuclear weapons and their mutually assured destruction (MAD) threat.

I went through Checkpoint Charlie to East Berlin several times. You could almost smell the fear in bars there when anyone from the Volkspolizei walked in. The shop windows were dingy, the stock haphazard and uninviting, the streets tawdry, the mood grey. Surely nobody in their right…

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