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TOPIC: berlin wall

This Happened

This Happened—November 9: The Cold War Begins To Crumble

The beginning of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which allowed East Germans to cross into the West, marked a new epoch in world history.

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Visiting The Murky World Of Underground Berlin

Built on a soggy bed of sand, the German capital isn't an ideal place for underground infrastructure. And yet, there's a relatively unknown maze of tunnels, bunkers and other surprising spaces down there.

BERLIN — Schloßstraße, a busy shopping street in the west of Berlin, has all the big city essentials: shops, restaurants, cinemas and a theater. And yet, for a brief period of time, things were even busier under the Schloßstraße.

Back in 2012, over the course of several months, bank robbers dug a 45-meter long tunnel there. They drilled their way through from an underground parking lot and at night, under the cover of darkness, removed tons of sand. Finally, in January 2013, they reached the vault of a nearby Volksbank and emptied all the deposit boxes. They disappeared using the same tunnel through which they arrived, and to this day, they've never been seen or heard from again.

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Not The First Time Elites Failed To See History Being Made

Experts do know a lot. But they have a tendency to consider the object of their expertise as immovable.

BERLIN —The elites' misreading of current events did not begin with the blindness to Donald Trump's impending victory in the election to become president of the United States. Those who hold power and establish conventional wisdom have often misjudged the signs of the times. Need only look back a few months to the vote on Brexit, or what was then the unforeseen crumbling of the Berlin Wall. History seems so clear in retrospect, but those reading the teas leaves of the present so often get it wrong.

END OF HISTORY

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Geopolitics
Alain Frachon

Across The World, Democracy Slides Into "Recession"

A generation ago we saw the Berlin Wall come down and Nelson Mandela go from prison to the presidency. Today, we have Orban, Erdogan, Trump. What happens next?

-Analysis-

PARIS — If we measure the world's many political models as a marketplace, liberal democracy is in a serious recession. The world is less democratic than it was 10 or 20 years ago. In democratic countries, the tide is also ebbing: Some countries are becoming less free. An ominous wind, an old authoritarian tropism is making itself known again from the South of the planet to the North.

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Israel
Dominique Moïsi

From Israel To Hungary, Walls Will Never Solve Our Problems

-OpEd-


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Germany
Dominique Moïsi

What Will Define The 25 Years Since The Berlin Wall Fell

-OpEd-

PARIS — As Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Sunday, we mark the passage of time. Historically speaking, time is a variable. Much can happen in a quarter century, or very little.

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Germany
Verena Mayer and Charlotte Theile

Born When The Wall Fell, Germany's Transition Generation

Five Germans, from the former East Germany, who were born on or near reunification 25 years ago, talk about how the past is bound to shape the future.

BERLIN — They are as old as German reunification. They grew up in a time of transition, with a freedom that generations before theirs could only dream of. At the same time, they experienced the uncertainty of their parents, whose worlds changed completely from one day to the next. They had to find their way amid the confusion in Berlin, in the provinces, and abroad.

How were young East Germans born during the transition years affected? What hopes and expectations do they have? To what extent do they represent Generation Y, and to which generation do they really belong?

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Germany
Jacques Schuster

Russia, How To End The Bad Behavior Of A Fallen Empire

Moscow is clearly testing the limits of the West, which must now put a stop to Putin's muscle-flexing with some muscle of its own. How about a German-Polish army brigade?

-OpEd-

BERLIN — With the brutal Soviet regime in mind, Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov once described his homeland as a "country of moral cretins, smiling slaves and poker-faced tyrants." Hardly any of his Western contemporaries shared this harsh verdict. It was just the opposite, because since the 1960s or earlier we've developed a penchant for glossing over Russian derailment, whether it concerned domestic matters or issues abroad.

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Germany
Norbert Schwaldt

The Mall Of Berlin, A Whole New Concept For Urban Consumers

Malls, not walls, in Germany's capital, but can it compete with the Internet?

BERLIN — Fashion outlets, a chain bookshop, drugstores, bakeries, fast food joints: Shopping centers in Germany are all pretty similar, inside and out. Most of these temples of consumerism have also aged, and are in urgent need of a facelift.

Even as the economy evolves, and part of it moves online, the goal is still the same: to fuel a desire to buy. The trend in Germany has been to move malls and outlets into downtown, like the Skyline Plaza and MyZeil in Frankfurt/Main, in an attempt to target wealthy city dwellers. Still, most feature similar mixes of leaseholders and mainly sell uniform mass-produced goods.

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Germany

Soviet Disobedience

At the end of WWII, several monuments were built across Berlin to commemorate the Soviet soldiers fallen during the war. As imposing as this memorial in Treptower Park seems, I was unimpressed: I’ve always been circumspect about soldiers. So was my wife Claudine, who looks like she’s turning her back to these Soviet occupiers, who controlled East Berlin at the time.

Germany

Soviet Soldiers Playing Tourist

Strong sun and light spirits for these Soviet soldiers in East Berlin, four years after JFK and 20 years before Ronald Reagan spoke from the other side of the Wall.