Thursday, November 19, 2009


The President has recently been unable to find any time in his busy Olympics-peddling, Health care-pushing, bankrupting-the-economy agenda to commemorate the 20th anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall. At the same time, CNS News has released a study documenting how the "mainstream" media devoted no small amount of effort to "whitewashing" the evils of Communism. That isn't much of a surprise to those of here at das blog, and in some cases I would go so far as to say "worshipped" rather than "whitewashed". We've touched on the Utopia that was the Soviet Union under Joe Stalin but it appears that another history lesson about the Iron Curtain and the significance of its fall is in order, for there are far too many Americans, especially young people, who have never head of it.

In a war-torn Europe in the aftermath of WWII, Joesph Stalin was the leader/dictator of the now powerful Soviet Union and at the peace tables he demanded just about every little eastern European country that had just been liberated from the Nazis as a "buffer zone" to protect Russia against the highly unlikely event of an invasion by the U.S. or the United Kingdom (not even a fanatic as paranoid Stalin was worried about the French). The "liberated" countries in the Russian sphere of influence became nothing more than occupied satellite states of the Soviet Union, forced into Communist regimes for government, and ruled with an iron fist by Moscow.

Sir Winston Churchill coined the famous iron curtain phrase in a 1946 speech: "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an 'iron curtain' has descended across the Continent." Many liberals condemned his speech, of course, but history proved him right, again. The citizens/serfs of the occupied countries quickly began to flee their "Workers' Paradises" for the (then) freedom of the West. It still remains a mystery to many liberals why these people would flee a country with universal health care, but they did.

To keep his new subjects from finding freedom in the West, Stalin did indeed order the construction of a real Iron Curtain, starting with the Berlin Wall in that divided city, and eventually growing to border fortifications than ran clear across the continent of Europe. Unlike other border fortifications built as defenses to keep enemies out, the Iron Curtain was more akin to prison walls, and meant to keep people and information in.

These new fortifications were indeed an Iron Curtain. The above illustration from the West German Border Police (Grentzshutze) shows all the components of the dreadful system. From West to East, first came the actual border, delineated by markers. Roads were, of course, blocked or gated and guarded. The dreaded fence consisted always of at least one barbed and razor wire barrier ten feet tall, and in many places it was electrified as well. Vicious attack dogs patrolled up and down inside the fence with leashes attached to overhead cables and pulleys so that they wouldn't wander off into the electric fence on one side or the minefields on the other.
You hear right. Landmines. Pressure-released anti-personnel mines. Bouncing Betties that fly a few feet up in the air before exploding a storm of shrapnel in all directions. A person hoping to flee to the West first had to navigate a 100-meter wide dead zone full of landmines to even get to the fence itself. All of this was overlooked by fifty foot guard towers manned 24-hours a day, equipped with binoculars, spotlights, night vision, and, of course, automatic weapons to mow down anyone spotted Westbound.
Inside the border barriers was the "5 K Zone", another five kilometer stretch, empty of habitation, off-limits to all but work details. Villages within the 5 K Zone were also walled with electrified wire.
I was once observing the East German border while patrolling it when an elderly couple pulled up in a rented car. They stood looking at a village a considerable distance inside the Iron Curtain. We let them use our binoculars.

Eventually, the man explained that he had been a World War Two infantryman. He had met and married his German wife in the post-war occupation. Her sister lived in that village in the distance. After the wall went up, they had received two letters, and then the letters stopped. For the past twenty years they had never heard from the woman again. They had no idea if she was alive or dead. Looking through binos at her childhood home and wondering about her family, the lady began to cry and they said their thanks to us and departed.

When Colonel Jeff Cooper visited "The Wall", he interviewed the young black staff sergeant who was guiding him on his tour. The soldier had witnessed a mother and her small child attempt to reach the fence. The guards released the attack dogs.

The sergeant told Cooper: "I stood there with a rifle in my hands, but I was not allowed to shoot. I hear those screams every day. The mother's were louder than the child's. They were long and very high. They drown out the growling of the dogs. For a while. As long as I live I will hear them."

For forty years this was the situation, and hundreds of men, women, and children died attempting to escape the Communist Workers' Paradises. When the walls came down in 1989, it was an event of monumental worldwide significance, freeing entire populations, bringing ecstatic celebrations up and down the falling curtain.
So we can see why the anniversary was no big deal, and certainly nothing important enough for the messiah to dirty his hands with. And the fact that very few people out there ever heard about the real wall and what went on there shows our media to be biased indeed; they were too busy bashing Reagan over government cheese to even notice that the Communist countries were nothing more than giant prisons.

No reason to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this blight upon mankind being torn down.


Ben said...

Excellent article Bawb. Very informative.

Ben said...

This article stands in stark contrast to MY next article which will be about feeding Pop Rocks to a goat.

Bawb said...

I eagerly await your next important column. Having led a sheltered life, I have only fed Pop Rocks to an alpaca, so I will be very interested in the results of your experiment.

Anonymous said...

managed to escape before everything was barb-wired and mined
the guards were Russians at the time
and sometimes shot women and chidren
30 years later I went back to our former house after obtaining an expensive visitor's visa and much
harassment by the East German government. Same harassment on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin. Those days must never return.