THE COLD WAR.
When i was in front of a classroom with kids from the age about 16 years during my young veteran presentation about my mission in the Middle East i was suprised by the lack of knowledge about our recent history. My story always begins with 1985, the time when i was 18 and entering the military service (draft).
I always explain that the situation then was totaly different from the situation now.
The end of World War Two divided centrall Europe in two parts.
The free and democratic Western part and the communist eastern part. It was the time when the western countrys secured there freedom with the NATO membership. An attack on one of them was an attack on all of them. The communists kept their borders closed because the people from the east wanted to go to the free and democratic west.
To keep the people in they created the Berlin wall and on a greater scale the Iron curtain armed with border gards which fired on people which wanted to escape.
In the millitary there was a continious threat of nuclear attacks, both sides kept great numbers of weapons, called the arms race.
|A nuclear explosion|
A typical Cold War tank was the German build Leopard main battle tank, no modern elctronics these days which ables a modern tank to drive and fire at the same time. enjoy the clip.
|The reality with tension between east and west.|
The iron curtain and the Berlin wall .
To stop the outgoing flow of people which wanted to live in the democratic west and wanted to escape from the supressing Communist one party system in the DDR, the DDR build a wall in the eastern part of Berlin and later this was a part of what Churchill called an Iron curtain from the Baltic to the Adriatic (see the map above).
The guards at the wall had permission to shoot and they posted two men on a watchtower which came from different parts of the DDR. In this way they tried to hold them in and the communist system had a secret service (Stasi) which build up massive archives about all the details from the men and women in the DDR.
But thousends of people tried to escape from this system.
A world famous escape is from Conrad Schumann.
Conrad Schumann jumped on 15 aug 1961 three days after the DDR started with "the anti fashist barrier to protect the DDR".
In the propaganda from the East the barrier was promoted as a victory.
But Conrad knew better and jumped to the free West.
This picture has become iconic for the Cold War and a divided Europe in a free Western part and a Communist Eastern part.
The picture was made by Peter Leibing with an East German (!) Exakta camera.
The picture was made on the junction Bernauer Stasse and
Conrad Schumann after the jump. (19 years old)
Its sad that his mother reported his letters to the East German secret service after he jumped to the West.
Conrad suffered also from depressions and hanged himself at the age of 56 in 1998.
In remembrence of the jump in 1961 this silver soldier was made
and placed in Berlin in 2009.
|Today at the Military Event in Assen, DDR army vehicle GAZ.|
|The borderguard with license to shoot|
|Cold War Civil Defense (Dutch BB) with Magirus air cooled|
diesel engine, the tools and equipment truck.
|Dads Army ?|
|The fuction from a person in a city was|
visable near to the front door of a house