On 13th of August 1961, »the wall« was built around West Berlin. Antifascist – that’s what the GDR called her border. Today they say, this antifascism was not real. But anti-fascism was so much more alive then than these days, with AfD and Pegida, burning asylum homes. If GDR-style anti-fascism still prevailed today, the 200 people murdered by fascists since 1990 would not have been possible.
Today we hear, that the people in the GDR were poor and unhappy. Of course there is happiness and unhap- piness in every society, but at least there was less wealth inequality. There was enough for everyone, and not just enough to barely survive, as it is today. There was also enough for the 25 % of children that have to live in poverty today.
In the mainstream media we are constantly reminded: »At least everybody can travel everywhere now«, as they cry for the hundreds who died at the »german-german border« during its 40 years. Such tears are only for Germans. No tears flow for the hundreds of people drowning at the »borders of Europe« each month. The Mediterranian sea – a mass grave, dug mainly by Germany. There they die silently, anonymously, without the pompous ceremonies commemorating »the Wall«.
That the border helped keep peace in the world, was especially important for the GDR. Today they say, that this peace was not real. But it was so much more real than nowadays. Then there was a Yugoslavia, a Ukraine which had space for everybody who wanted to live there. It gave states such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and others the right to exist, all those places that, since 1990, have been thrown into war, where millions die, which fuels reactionary movements such as the IS.
Germany wages war anew. This new era of a bellicose Germany begins with the demolition of the border wall. The wall was built in order to ensure that war would never rise from german ground again. For the GDR, the border was a renunciation of war made of stone. After this renunciation was dismantled, no 10 years had to pass before german bombers bombed Belgrade for a third time in german history. The GDR proved to have been right.
The opinions which prevail in the media today are the opinions of the now ruling warmongers and impoveris- hers – as it is their opinion about this border, that had been built to trim their freedom.
We say: It is urgent time for an unconditional renunciation of war!
War is everywhere, and »we Germans are to reckon with again« – and we are in the middle of it and at the front of it. War, what for? When the dust of the crumbling remains of the Berlin Wall had just settled in 1992, the Federal Secretary of War, Volker Rühe – whose prospect towards the East wasn‘t disturbed by the National People‘s Army‘s (NVA) bases any longer – gave an answer: »For the perpetuation of free world trade and the unopposed access to the markets and ressources of the world.«
From then it was quite obvious what had lurked for revenge behind the armored concrete of the inner German border on the West German side for over forty years. If it wasn‘t obvious then, it was certainly obvious six years later, when German HARM air-to-ground missiles launched from German Tornado aircraft turned Yugoslavian soil into a cratered landscape. Only a generation earlier had the clamor of the fascist Wehrmacht haunted the mountains of corpses there.
After the first war of attrition after 1945, a slob he, who still believed in a »peaceful army«, »our boys« filling sandbags and distributing soup at the Oder river in the midst of a flood. Today, Siemens, Krupp, and Deutsche Bank have a Federal President Gauck, and they no longer pretend to be peaceful. The tone has been getting an edge. German society‘s militarization, armament on a world champion‘s scale, the apparent preparation for war, and the stomping of German army boots where the Wehrmacht had always only dreamed of going – all this is just as »normal« as the army TV spot inbetween spots for German sausages and cookies. »We. Serve. Germany.«
However, the demise of the Berlin Wall didn‘t just coincide with the longest-lasting era of peace in Europe; the demise of the German Democratic Republic didn‘t just coincide with the end of the German postwar era. Since this border wasn‘t just any random kind of border, the state that fortified it on August 13, 1961, wasn‘t just any random kind of state. Historical developments led to both, developments that – as so often in the German past – had started out with a war.
This time it had been the Second World War. And what kind of atrocities against humanity the world had seen so far – Nazi Germany surpassed these by far. With the Holocaust Germany completely redefined the scope of hostility exercised against human life as such. To the horror of the civilized world, who destroyed German fascism united, in the name of freedom and life. It was a liberation! Sbasibo – thanks – merci, and danke!
The liberators didn‘t return in kind. The German people weren‘t shot, slain, burnt, neither famished nor gassed, as the Germans had done to millions. An alternative approach was to be deliberated. Thus, the heads of government of the four most important nations of the Anti-Hitler-Coalition gathered. And because this
took place in Potsdam in July and August 1945, the outcome was henceforth called the »Potsdam Agreement«. Its main resolutions became historically known as the »Four Ds« – and in East Germany they also became part of history books and, most importantly, society. »D«, as in...
1. Denazification: Ban of the NSdAP and all other Nazi organizations; punishment of all war criminals; punishment of all fascist, racist, anti-semitic, and chauvinist propaganda.
2. Demilitarization: Complete disarmament; divestiture of all military organizations and those promoting military traditions; dimemberment of the arms industry.
3. Democratization: Reformation of public life on a democratic basis; abolishment of all Nazi laws and decrees; admittance of anti-fascist organizations.
4. Decentralization: Annihilation of the existing excessive concentration of economic power, as obvious in the existence of cartels, syndicates, trusts, and other monopolistic conglomerates.
Furthermore, the Potsdam Agreement defined the postwar borders. As opposed to the angry protest from Bonn, no chauvinist clamor was heard in East Germany. To the contrary: On June 6, 1950, the new border between Germany and Poland was solemnly sealed in the now Polish part of Görlitz. Konrad Adenauer ranted about the Görlitz Agreement and summarized what the Federal Republic of Germany thought about the Oder-Neisse-Peace-Border: »Let me tell you with all possible clarity that the country beyond the Oder-Neisse Line belongs to Germany.« The Nazi infested German revanchist organizations applauded such declarations, organizations that proliferated on West German soil and disseminated their poisonous propaganda – in violation of the agreements made in Potsdam.
Germany was devided into four occupation zones. One each for France, Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. While the Soviet Occopied Zone (SBZ) was set on implementing one »D« after the other, the »good old German way of life« more or less flourished in the Western occupation zones. The concern about a resurrection of the German fascist plague became less and less the motivation for all actions. The Western powers looked away more often – and saw »Red« instead.
The new calculation of the Western powers was: The Bolshevists‘ enemy is my friend. Whoever clamored vigilantly enough against communism got the carrots: weapons and ammunitions. Even the least old Nazi, bandit, and clerical Islamist fascist was good enough for the stand against the Soviet Union. It was the West‘s call for those evil spirits that still terrorize the world today.
The three Western zones became the so-called »TriZone«, against the much smaller fourth. A plan of division, as could soon be seen. With the disintegration of the Anti-Hitler-Coalition the former common agreements became a nuisance in the Western zones.
Thus, German high finance and its fascist brutes got their wintering grounds, in the shadow of anticommunism‘s upcoming war against the Soviet Union. The handling of the Potsdam Agreement became the »red line« inbetween the zones.
While the war criminals and Hitler‘s financial supporters waited for disappropriations and death sentences in the East, their likes became part of the government in West Germany, built a new army and new company empires, based on their spoils of war. While their history, the history of Siemens, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, and others came to an end in the GDR, with the transfer into people‘s property, this history continued without hindrance in the FRG. Judiciary, science, research, education, economy, health service – anywhere you looked, the East took a different approach, while the West only continued old ones. The FRG relied on old experts, which was economically profitable. The GDR tore down all the old structures – even though a lot of things just didn‘t work out for a while and were economically unprofitable.
A deep rift existed within Germany, not only along the lines of the Potsdam Agreement. For the West, it couldn‘t go fast and deep enough. The direction and speed was predetermined there: Refusal to oblige to the agreed-upon reparations for the Soviet Union, final division of the German economic sphere by implementing a separate currency reform, founding the separate state of the FRG, integration into the Western military alliance of NATO, establishment of the Bundeswehr under the orders of Nazi military personnel.
The SBZ could only plead for the course that had been agreed upon with the West in 1945 and then react with faits accomplits: Founding the GDR and the Warsaw Pact, establishment of the NVA, protection of the national border of the GDR. History can never be judged without the appropriate context.
What was Adenauer‘s West afraid of? What was so unacceptable for the region of the old banks and corporations? Why were all offers from the East to sit down at the round table dismissed?
• Didn‘t they want peace instead of war? Not necessarily: The prescribed disarmament provisions were shat upon in the West. Nazi generals provided for the leadership of a West German army that was established against the Potsdam Agreement. »All the former members of the Waffen SS looking to support German soldiers‘ traditions are welcome as soldiers of the Bundeswehr.« Thus said Ulrich von Hassel in 1965, Secretary of War in the FRG.
• Or was it about human rights, about the brothers and sisters in the Eastern Zone? Certainly not. Since: He, who instrumentalized inner German trade and the application of embargoes/boycotts against the GDR – and thus harmed her people as well and made especially the early years hard for them – must certainly refrain from any sort of hypocrisy concerning the »poor Easterners«.
• Did Bonn rather want a unified, peaceful, neutral, and de-militarized Germany without the occupying forces, instead of a socialist GDR modelled after the USSR? Certainly not. Since exactly this was offered to the West in 1952, with the so-called »Stalin note«. In vain ... Even that the despised USSR would have surrendered the despised GDR for a neutral and de-militarized Germany couldn‘t soften the FRG. The »Stalin note«, as any other Soviet and East German offer for an all-German agreement was dismissed, the taken course ingrained into the division.
The central contradiction inbetween the opposite sides obviously wasn‘t a kind of »freedom« or »the sad fate of the Eastern Zone‘s inhabitants«. The contradiction that was responsible for the rift between the cardinal directions was a different one:
As the leading staff of the Nazi regime fled to the West, so did the proprietors of the banks and corporations who had once put their janitor Adolf Hitler into the position to take care of their raids. They were safe on the other side of the SBZ‘s borders – the implementation of the the Potsdam Agreement there would have meant their end. Thus the power FRG became, with all that was constituting her, the guarantee for the non-implementation of the Potsdam Agreement in the West. The FRG became the protecting power of the banks and corporations, whose abolishment was implemented in the East. It became the protecting power of the Nazi honchos and war criminals, whose punishment and disappropriation became a reality in East Germany. Just as the Tri-Zone had cemented that status with the founding of the separate state FRG, the SBZ could only react with founding its own state, in order to strengthen its position at that front. The GDR thus – with all that was constituting her – became the guarantee for the implementation of the Potsdam Agreement – and thus the implementation of the demands by those who had been attecked by German fascism, in at least a part of Germany.
The price the East had to pay for the imposed separation was an economic desaster, impeding its economy from the first to the last days of its existence. Fot the West, on the other hand, this separation came at low cost, since it put the West into a powerful economic position vis-à-vis the GDR, which enabled it to suffocate the neighbor economically, in fact, to blackmail it.
The favorable economic separation proportions, the gigantic untouched war profits of the German trusts and banks, together with a massive injection of foreign capital via the Marshall Plan, and the well educated labor force fleeing the GDR, was responsible for the economic difference between the two German states.
Over there higher wages and an »economic miracle« attracted the people, a miracle indeed not very miraculous. At the same time, people were attracted as they didn‘t have to be part of the dispute about the German past that was rampant in the East. The GDR at first could only attract somebody by promising a very different life – hard work for meal vouchers and the presence of those Russians who the Germans had so thoroughly learned to hate in the past years of Kaiser and Führer.
In the months before the Berlin Wall was constructed, the GDR had lost one of the battles of this 1,000-fronts-war that was kept alive by the West. Affluence, the economic miracle, and the final stroke against German history were a lot more attractive for the many than anti-fascism, anti-militarism, and socialism. Since these weren‘t and aren‘t guarantees for »affluence and amusement«, but for responsibility, for daily victories and daily setbacks – and mainly for mighty enemies.
The open border not only opened the doors for currency and commodity speculation, but also for widespread economic espionage and sabotage, in the middle of Berlin, the city with the highest concentration of foreign spies of all intelligence agencies worldwide. In this constellation no state would have endured such a disturbance of public peace for long.
And indeed: Nobody in Paris, London, or Washington was taken aback by the decision to fortify the national border to West Berlin. The decision‘s effect was not only economically stabilizing, but also securing peace. The decision was not only detested, it was also, regarding the real distress, the only possible solution. It was all that was left, after the Potsdam Agreement had been broken in the West. The solution to build a »Wall« was, as John F. Kennedy put it, »not a beautiful solution, but, damn, better than war«. The British and the French were also a lot less shocked about August 13, 1961, than the West German rabble-rousers would have appreciated. One of them, Franz Josef Strauß, rejoiced optimistically: »If the United States provides four additional divisions, if Great Britain mobilizes, and France backs up with additional divisions, then we could implement a larger military operation.« This, of course, never happened – since as much as they hated the Soviet Union, the Western powers hated the idea of a third World War more.
Adenauer and his cronies kept lamenting about the West‘s lack of military support against the Berlin Wall for a long time.
For the people in the East this border meant a huge obstacle concerning their freedom of movement towards the West – but at the same time it meant a huge obstacle of freedom of movement for the West German army towards the East. This border cost the GDR millions that she didn‘t have, plus a loss of sympathy that she couldn‘t level out on her own. Nonetheless, the GDR stayed on scene for another twenty-nine years, years during which the Potsdam Agreement was at least implemented in the region between the rivers Elbe and Oder. Twenty-nine years during which twelve feet of armored concrete and the NVA made another war from German soil impossible.
»Anti-fascist / anti-militaristic protective barrier« – who didn‘t poke fun at the GDR‘s propanganda? Sometimes the motivations behind a decision will only get obvious after its revision. After more than 200 victims of German fascists since the annexation of the GDR, after leading the first German war of attrition after fifty-four years of cease-fire with the German bombardment of Belgrade in 1999, and after one deployment of German troops to areas of war after the other, no more laughter will escape our lips. With each new step of the FRG to prepare new and bigger wars for ressources and markets, which each further acquisition of territory for German militarism in schools and universities, with each instigation against those who are socially marginalized, with each new victim of German racists and anti-semites it becomes more obvious that this border was abolished in order to make us got to war together once more.
The world is changing, nothing remains as it was. Regression against progress – history is made every day. To discuss about German history is to fight against repeating it, each and every day. The foggy incense named »freedom«, with which the powerful want to make you weep not only nowadays, isn‘t worth a damn tear. A clear head and a clear view – let‘s take a closer look!
Whoever has multiple possibilities,
whose freedom it is.
If the worker has many and more possibilities,
it is the worker‘s freedom.
If capital has many and more possibilities,
it is capital‘s freedom.
Look around and see
who has many and more possibilities.
Then you will know whose freedom it is.
Unentdecktes Land e.V.
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