Fifty years ago on Aug. 13, 1961, East Germany sealed the border between East and West Berlin and began to build what became known as the Berlin Wall. The wall symbolized the global Cold War conflict and the repression of communism, and its peaceful fall on Nov. 9, 1989, signaled the end of the Cold War and of communism in Europe.
The Max Kade Center for German Studies at Case Western Reserve University will examine the secret dealings that brought about the wall, as well as its ramifications today, with a lecture by Hope Harrison on Nov. 30. An associate professor of history and international affairs at The George Washington University and an expert on relations between the Soviet Union and East Germany, Harrison will present “The Berlin Wall After 50 Years” from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Clark Hall Room 309.
Based on extensive research in archives in Moscow and Berlin, Harrison will illuminate the behind-the-scenes maneuvers between the East German and Soviet leaders that led to the building of the wall, including her surprising findings about the ways in which the aggressive East German leadership pushed the reluctant Soviets into agreeing to seal the border in Berlin. She will also discuss recent debates in unified Germany about the history and legacy of the Berlin Wall, based on her extensive interviews and research in Berlin on the subject.