8 Replies to “Checkpoint Charlie”

  1. How did you get so far away from the Baltic? Enjoy a great city, and see if you can find any remnants of the Wall. They were pretty quick to destroy any traces. Sad if you think history should be remembered.
    Go to KaDeWe and eat at their grocery store at the top of the building. Very good food!

  2. “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”John F. Kennedy
    For the Leovillian’s that weren’t around at the time, you probably only have a vague notion of where Check Point Charlie is. Check Point Charlie plays a role in numerous spy novels as the place where spies from the West are exchanged for spies from the East.
    It is in Berlin, Germany. It was the point at which you left the American sector of Berlin and entered the Russian. At that time, West Berlin was guaranteed its freedom through the Four Powers arrangement. The US, Britain and France stationed troops their to guarantee that the Russians and East Germans would allow the West Berliners to remain an island of democracy in a sea of communism.
    President Kennedy went to Berlin and on June 26, 1963 in keeping with the policy embodied in the quote above, declared himself and all freedom seeking people to be Berliner’s in spirit with the quote “Ich bin ein Berliner”, or I am a Berliner – a bit of rhetorical flourish stemming from the boast civis Romanus.
    Later, another American President stood in front of the Berlin Wall and began the roll back of Soviet hegemony over Central and East Europe with the challenge “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!” That President was Ronald Reagan and he made the statement in a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987. Soon thereafter, the wall came down and Germany was reunified. It only took around a quarter of a century of steadfastness to bring liberty to Central and East Europe.
    Just a bit of fun history I thought some of you might enjoy.

  3. I remember JFK’s remarks. Unfortunately he did not pronounce “Berliner” correctly. He actually said “I am a doughnut.” — but the kind Berliners forgave him and understood what he meant to say…..
    Have a wonderful stay in Berlin-town…..
    Las Vegas, Nevada

  4. I was there about a month after the wall fell. Kinda spooky around there at that time. People were chipping pieces from the wall and selling them on the street. One street vendor was selling all kinds of U.S.S.R. army surplus. If I had the space, I could have picked up an entire uniform.
    Hope Leo goes to the museum that documents all of the tactics people used to escape. Amazing place with a lot of relatively recent history.

  5. You are partialy correct. “Ich bin ein Berliner” Does mean “I am a berliner”
    a berliner being a type of donut AND a resident of the city.
    Ein translated directly as A should not have been used, the problem wasnt in his pronounciation it was in his syntax. In german reffering to self does not require an “A”, adding “A” makes the refferance about a thing rather than yourself.
    To translate “I am a resident of berlin” which was his intention it should be translated as “Ich bin Berliner” His speach writer translated the words instead of translating the phrase.

  6. It may not be immediately obvious to most, but there is big change in one simple thing, windows. That’s right folks. Way back in the ancient early 80’s when I was stationed at Rhein Main I visited Berlin and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. If you looked East from outside the museum all the windows were bricked over. The symbolism wasn’t lost on me. They were turning their backs on us. The West had it’s answer though. A television station right next to “No Man’s Land” (border) put a gigantic television screen on its East wall just a few feet from the checkpoint. This presumably was to enable East Berliners to get the “real” news.

  7. “That President was Ronald Reagan and he made the statement in a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987. Soon thereafter, the wall came down and Germany was reunified. It only took around a quarter of a century of steadfastness to bring liberty to Central and East Europe.’ Mike, with all do respect (and appreciation of the fact that you know and posted some of the history), The wall did not come down until 1989 (don’t know, if we can consider this “soon thereafter”) and while there was great symbolism to Reagan’s visit and speech (as was Kennedy’s) the truly important historic events were sparked by the fact that East german citizens themselves started huge demonstrations and Gorbatchev as well as a large number of East German officials either allowed or half-heartedly opposed the beginnings of the End of the GDR. A big role was played by the then West German foreign minister Genscher and the Czechoslovak government of the day which allowed a large number of East German refugees at the West German Embassy in Prague to travel into West Germany through a (still) communist Czechoslovakia. Essentially the East German government was just “tired” and the economical failure of the dictatorial governments of the eastern block became obvious. At the time the fall of the wall was nonetheless a huge surprise to everybody. An entertaining and interesting movie to watch is “Goodbye Lenin”, depicting the differences between East and West Germany and the changes taking place around that time. We should however also never forget how many people died trying to escape from East Germany. The Check-point Charley museum is an informative place to visit and there are still large pieces of the wall remaining driving into Berlin ‘Mitte’ (‘Alexanderplatz’) from the South-East (Dresden) as well as adjacent to ‘Potsdamer Platz’. In a lot of places it blocked important infrastucture for a functioning city and had to be removed.

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