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Did East Germans hear Reagan's "tear down this wall speech"?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
Embalmed
Post 17 Sep 2010, 00:42
or for that matter did any of the Eastern Bloc countries?

and if so what did they think of it?

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall

eta: Thanks Mabool.
Last edited by Szabo on 17 Sep 2010, 01:55, edited 2 times in total.
Now what is this…
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 17 Sep 2010, 00:55
Most East Germans watched Western television, so yes. I don't know if it was mentioned in state media, but if it was, it was certainly accompanied by massive criticism and a detailed deconstruction of the contents of the speech.

edit:

Quote:
Noch konnte er selbst nicht wissen, welche Wirkung seine Rede haben würde. Die westdeutschen Zeitungen referierten Reagans Berlininitiative, allerdings oft ohne große Begeisterung. Die östlichen Medien reagierten wie erwartet. Die KPdSU-Parteizeitung "Prawda" giftete "Daraus wird nichts! Der antifaschistische Schutzwall bleibt!", und das SED-Zentralorgan "Neues Deutschland" schrieb: "Reagan hielt eine offen provokatorische und militante Rede, die ganz im Geiste des Kalten Krieges gehalten war."


http://www.welt.de/wams_print/article93 ... _wall.html

translation:

The man himself couldn't know yet what kind of effect his speech would have. The Western newspapers reported on Reagan's initiative without much euphoria. The eastern media reacted as expected: The CPSU party paper snarled, "Not gonna happen! (The German text really uses a colloqualism here, but I doubt that Pravda would have written in such a tone) The antifascist protective barrier stays!", and the SED central paper "Neues Deutschland" wrote: "Reagan gave an openly provoking and militant speech in a very Cold-War-like attitude."
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 May 2010, 07:43
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Post 17 Sep 2010, 02:42
Didn't he make the speech somewhere where they thought the Germans in East Berlin at least could see and hear the commotion, and possibly the speech? Or is my imagination of Western Cold War machinations running amok and giving me crazy ideas? I seem recall my German history teacher make a point about the location and such, but I don't remember exactly what she said.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Sep 2010, 04:15
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Post 17 Sep 2010, 05:26
Radio Free Europe probably broadcasted it, and those who were able to listen in on it past the jamming probably could get it.

What Mabool posted is inline with what the media in the DDR would have interpreted the event.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
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Post 17 Sep 2010, 13:15
Quote:
Didn't he make the speech somewhere where they thought the Germans in East Berlin at least could see and hear the commotion, and possibly the speech?


Reagan made the speech at the Brandenburg Gate, which I don't think was too far away from the wall (?)

I always thought his speech was more about making Gorbachev see 'sense' to reason with him, than to provoke him.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Nov 2010, 07:17
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Post 25 Nov 2010, 22:57
Reagan gave the speech infront of the Wall near the Brandenburg Gate. The Bradenburg Gate was on the eastern side of the wall and was located within the so called 'death strip' that lay between the concrete wall and the barbed wire and electric fences on the eastern side of the wall. However do to the historic significance of the Brandenburg gate the barbed wire and electric fences were actually replaced by flower beds near the gate itself on the Eastern side. The Brandenburg Gate, because of its location was off limits to tourists. I've read that occasionally, East German tourists agencies in conjunction with the Grenztuppen der DDR (Border Troops) gave well organized and closely watched tours of the Brandenburg Gate. Do to the flower beds and lack of other measures to prevent escapes in the area near the Brandenburg Gate other then the concrete wall itself, the Brandenburg Gate was heavily patrolled by the Grenztuppen.

Most pictures of the Brandenburg Gate during that time period show Grenztruppen on guard near the wall. For this reason some Grenztruppen soldiers may have heard the speech but I doubt it swayed them politically. The Grenztruppen on duty in Berlin were controlled by the Stasi and recruited by the Stasi seperately from the rest of the Grenztruppen do to the unique nature of their duties in Berlin. Unlike their counterparts on the Inner German Border, they had to deal with Allied Military Liason Missions, high profile spy exchanges at the Potsdam Checkpoint, and of course the occasional East German defector. The East German Government needed to ensure they were politically reliable so they let the Stasi control it.

But I digress, back to your average East German citizen. Do to the fact that the closest an East German could've got to Reagan was a couple hundred yards away and the fact that their were fences and a concrete wall in between them and Reagan it is doubtable any East German heard his speech. They may have seen Reagan if they were standing up on one of East Berlins buildings with a pair of binoculars though. All in all, at the time the speech wasn't considered that big a deal. Reagan's evil empire speech in 83 caused more of a politcial backlash then his speech in West Berlin in 87. It was only after the wall came down two years later that Regan's speech gained the historical significance that it has today.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Feb 2009, 02:54
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Post 26 Nov 2010, 02:34
East German's had tv's and radio's and watched and listened to Western media, right? It would have been, therefore, almost impossible for them to hear it. East Germany was not so excluded, it was, certainly not like, we could say, North Korea in that sense, or any other really lol.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Nov 2010, 07:17
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Post 26 Nov 2010, 22:29
Thats actually a good point, East Germany wasn't secluded as much as the other Warsaw Pact states, which is why I have a bit more respect for them than the others. They didn't outlaw religion for example, or at the very least didn't purge the church like what happened in the Soviet Union. Infact the East German Government even allowed Billy Graham to come into East Germany in the 80s for a revival.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
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Post 27 Nov 2010, 00:29
That's not a good example, because the churches in germany weren't as powerful and corrupt as the russian orthodox church. They warrant different treatments after a revolution.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Nov 2010, 07:17
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 03:50
As I am not well informed on the Orthodox Church and its relation to the Czarist Government of the Russian Empire, maybe you could enlighten me as to why they deserved to be purged?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 May 2010, 07:43
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 04:16
Abridged history:

The Tsar was seen both as a secular ruler as well as a religious figure/leader, and the Orthodox Church basically had a lot of power in its ability to influence culture due to the prevalence of the Orthodox faith among the Russian peasantry—in some ways, they could even be said to have helped sustain the legitimacy of the tsarist autocracy for centuries, and in return they received certain privileges, such as property and money.

The Orthodox Church in Russia has always traditionally held a lot of power. The government in Tsarist Russia starting with Nicholas I attempted to legitimize their rule based on an "Official Nationality" ideology, derived from the slogan "Orthodoxy, Autocracy Nationality" (Правосла́вие, самодержа́вие, наро́дность, "Pravoslavie, Samoderzhavie, Narodnost"), partially as a response to the ideological foundation of "Liberty, equality, brotherhood" (Liberté, égalité, fraternité) of the French Republic in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. Basically those ideals were partially seen as a source of disorder and the root for why the First French Republic went the way it did.

The Bolsheviks acted against the Orthodox Church first because religion was seen to be incompatible with socialism, and second because a large number of clergy had a vested interest in the restoration of the monarchy and the benefits this would bring to them. A large number were against the revolution, and due to their historical cultural influence, the Bolsheviks perceived them as a threat.

Of course, the radical anti-religious campaigns were carried out with the belief that forcibly eliminating religion and educating the devout with rationalism and Marxism-Leninism would have the effect of getting them to abandon their faith. Remember that in the early revolutionary period, the Bolsheviks did believe that history was on their side and that they were in the right. As such, they also believed that rationalism and atheistic socialism would triumph over the old, traditional, superstitious beliefs of old-fashioned peasants and the like, who just needed to be educated. These anti-religious education campaigns and purges of the Orthodox Church were carried out through the early revolutionary period until the Great Patriotic War to prevent anti-revolutionary clergy from entrenching themselves in the church structure and also just to promote atheism in general in accordance to how the Bolsheviks believed events would unfold.

When the war broke out, Stalin allowed the church to take a greater role in society and allowed greater toleration for religion for the purposes of raising morale and to appeal to encourage patriotism. Due to how Orthodoxy had strong cultural influences and became an "official" part of Russian identity that the tsars sought to promote, which I guess we could say was not entirely unsuccessful, there were definitely Soviet citizens who even by Stalin's time still took religion seriously, even though with them it became more of a private matter. The Church was basically revived again to support the state and the socialist government in a time of war, and then they largely left it alone afterwards.
“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals” - Mark Twain
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Nov 2010, 07:17
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 04:26
There are those that would say Jesus was a socialist, so why are socialism and religion incompatible?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 04:52
Religion and Socialism most certainly are not incompatible. Religious institutional power, however, is incompatible with Worker's institutional power.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Nov 2010, 07:17
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 04:55
Quote:
Religion and Socialism most certainly are not incompatible.


But why are they not compatible? Whats wrong with the seperation of church and state. How is believing in a god harmful to socialism?
Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 05:00
I said they're not incompatible, not that they are incompatible. Re-read my post.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 May 2010, 07:43
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 05:05
No, Dagoth said they're not incompatible.

The thing is that in early revolutionary period, they followed the belief that religion was, as Marx put it, "das Opium des Volkes"—in short, a way of numbing people from the reality, to wish for a good afterlife and accept their position as an underling, and ignore the harsh reality of oppression under capitalism and in the case of the Russians, the autocratic tsar. This is primarily due to the way imperial Russia did not have separation of church and state, and because of the "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality" ideals, religious institutions were perceived as upholding the tsarist autocracy and feudal and capitalist oppression.
“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals” - Mark Twain
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 05:17
Komissar_KW wrote:
No, Dagoth said they're not incompatible.


Correct. And to further elaborate my belief in God reinforce my belief in socialism.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Nov 2010, 07:17
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Post 28 Nov 2010, 18:37
Quote:
I said they're not incompatible, not that they are incompatible. Re-read my post.


Oh...my bad.
Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Post 29 Nov 2010, 03:27
Komissar_KW wrote:
No, Dagoth said they're not incompatible.
There are differing views on this subject Harry - not everyone shares Dagoth's view that religion and socialism are compatible in spite of his best efforts to convince us otherwise.
We've discussed this just about everywhere actually. For starters:
http://www.soviet-empire.com/ussr/viewtopic.php?f=108&t=47858
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 May 2010, 07:43
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Post 29 Nov 2010, 03:32
That is also true. Some of us here are avowed atheistic socialists, but others are religious socialists, and it has led to some conflicts between us on this site. But that's settled down and now we typically have a "live and let live" attitude here.

But yes, the traditional view has been that religion impedes the development of socialism by maintaining preventing people from recognizing the problems of material reality, and by keeping people rooted to the superstitions of the past—which means less likelihood of rejecting the past. There's also the issue that the clerics tend to be on the side of the establishment, and that the religious establishment usually supports the existence of the current order and uses its cultural influence to keep it that way.

The religious debate should be saved for another thread, though, or you can look through some of our arguments on here.

I've gotten way too damn apathetic about religion myself, to be honest, to get involved in any of these arguments, though I would say I'm an atheist, just not very serious about it.
“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals” - Mark Twain
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