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East Side Gallery. Berlin.


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East Side Gallery. Berlin.

People who are not interested in Street Art, the art of the fresco or the mural think that the Berlin Wall fell on November 9th, 1989. However a section of the wall is always upright… 

East Side Gallery is the longest section of the Berlin Wall still upright.
Painted in 1990 by 118 artists of 21 country it is the longest fresco with open sky of the world with 
106 frescos out of 1,3 km. (1.316 meters).

Thanks to East Side Gallery one can say that the town of Berlin is the world capital of Street Art 
or the Art of
the street. 

This wall has a sad history. Its fall is the victory of the individual freedom of the people over the madness and the greed of the men. The wall separated many families and of the friends, it prevented most of Eastern Europe from reaching comfort and progress.

The Berlin Wall is a strengthened wall which separated East Berlin from West Berlin of August 1961 in November 1989, it was set up on the initiative of the German Democratic republic (RDA). 

During more than 30 years, the wall was one of the principal symbols of the cold war and the “iron curtain” separating Western Europe from the Member States of the Warsaw Pact.

The Second world war and the Soviet occupation of Berlin which follows bequeath at the East-German State a critical economic situation. The seizure of the government on industry and agriculture, as of the creation of the State in 1949, causes the escape of many citizens towards the West. They are approximately 2,7 million to take the road of the exile until 1961, often by West Berlin, then occupied by the armed forces British, French and American, the USSR controls the fourth zone.

The wall is built in the night of August 13rd, 1961, at the border of East Berlin and West Berlin.

To stop this exodus which weakens GDR, the government of Erich Honecker orders to the soldiers and with the militia, to build a wall, in the night of August 13rd, 1961, at the border. These fortifications are quickly replaced by cement wall a 47 km height length and 4 m, punctuated by firmly armed watchtowers. This political border leaves only two points of passage, kept well. It is not consequently possible any more to leave GDR.

There were also 140 km of barbed wires, supervised by 160 watchtowers to separate the Berliner zone under Soviet control from those occupied by the allied armies, the wall divides the city in two. It prevents any emigration of GDR towards FRG. Symbol of antagonism opposing communist bloc and Westerners, the Berlin Wall prevents each of both Allemagnes from formulating the interests which each nation defends out of diplomatic matter because of an territorial integrity which does not exist any more. Only the fall of the Honecker mode in GDR and the thaw of the international relations following the come to power of Mikhaïl Gorbatchev allow the “wall shame” to crumble, in the popular jubilation, on November 9th, 1989.
The major reasons of the erection of the wall exceed by far the only question of the East-German exodus. Indeed, the peaceful coexistence then knows tops and bottoms. The context of 1960-1961 is with the cooling of the East-West relations, because of the business of U2 (an American plane shot down with the top of the USSR) and incapacity of the diplomacies to settle the question of the statute of Berlin (neutralization or maintenance of the partition). Khrouchtchev meets Einsenhower (1959) and Kennedy (1961), but there does not seem to be possible payment. 

This situation thus clarifies very other light the erection of the Berlin Wall. If, according to usual rhetoric, GDR announces officially that the wall constitutes a measure “antifascist” intended to prevent any attempt at invasion on behalf of FRG, it is acted in fact of a decision allowing practically and symbolically Khrouchtchev and Honecker to reinforce the iron curtain and to reaffirm the force and the cohesion of the communist camp.

The anti-tank obstacles and the ditches which run along the wall show that it is set up to block clandestine immigration. The fear of a social destabilization on the hottest zone of friction with the Occident and NATO also marks its print this decision. But it does not remain about it less than the construction of the wall depends closely on the international conjuncture.

As of the first weeks of the erection of the wall, attempts at escape show the failure, and sometimes even by a death by ball, in No man' S Land which separates East Berlin from West Berlin, underlining with brutality the one period beginning of East-West confrontation which culminates in 1962 with the crisis of the rockets. Between 1961 and 1989, at least 70 people find death while trying to pass the wall, with foot, out of car-ram, by the airs…

November 9th, 1989, the opening of the borders between GDR and FRG a crowd in jubilation involves on the Berlin Wall, symbol of the division of Germany, whose fall was the prelude to the collapse of the Communist regime in GDR and the reunification.

Carried out by the German authorities and an impressive crowd citizens is and West German, the demolition of the wall begins on November 9th, 1989, whereas the social crisis and East-German policy become so acute that the mode crumbles. Lived in a great collective euphoria, this “fall” is an event which has a planetary repercussion.

December 22nd, 1989, the grand opening of the door of Brandebourg restores the unrestricted passage between the two Allemagnes and underlines the extraordinary release which has been 
just played around the wall.

The private museum, the souvenir shops and crowd of tourists who has a presentiment of themselves today near the vestiges of the wall point out the existence and maintain the collective memory it, while testifying to the force with which it impregnated the consciences. Several surveys carried out at the dawn of the third millennium show that its history, the episode of its destruction in particular, remains, with the eyes of a majority of men and women, one of the principal symbols of the history of one xxe century marked by the communist adventure of Eastern Europe. For this reason, it constitutes one of the principal 
places of memory of the past century.

East Side Gallery is a little the memory of the wall, this section of the wall is located at Mühlenstraße in Berlin Friedrichshain. The first fresco was carried out by Christine Mac Lean in December 1989, immediately after the fall of the wall. Others followed, realized by Jürgen Grosse alias Indiano, Kasra Alavi, Kani Alavi, Jim Avignon, Thierry Noir, Kim Prisu, Herve Morlay, Ingeborg Blumenthal, Ignasi Blanch Gisberti, and so much of others… (on the whole 118 artists originating in 21 country.)



See also :
Best of Street Art.

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