Twenty years ago today the Berlin wall began to come down. The wall had been a vivid symbol of the Iron Curtain and of the Cold War.
The phrase Iron Curtain came into common use after the speech by Winston Churchill at Westminster College, Fulton College, March 5, 1946.
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.
My first visit to Berlin was March 25, 1978. I took a group there to be able to visit the fabulous Pergamum Museum. In my tour brochure I had included this statement from one of Arthur Frommer’s books. He says that the entire trip to East Berlin “is worthwhile just to see the Pergamon Altar…not even in Greece itself does one get a more solid idea of the glory of Greek civilization.”
I went back to Berlin several times prior to the fall of the Wall, and I have been back several times since then. This photo shows a small portion of the Wall that remains as a reminder of the previous division.