The Berlin Wall was an icon of the Cold War and a physical embodiment of the divide between East and West. Its rise and fall was a microcosm of the conflict and its fall marked the beginning of a new post-Cold War world.
Today on the podcast Dan is joined by two eyewitnesses to the wall to hear first-hand its physical and psychological impact. First Dan speaks to Sir Robert Corbett. His military career was book-ended by the wall as his first command as a young officer in the Irish Guards was in Berlin during the 1960s and one of his last major commands before retiring was as the last Commandant of the British Sector in Berlin. He describes the tension and challenges of operating in Berlin and the ever-present possibility of conflict between the two sides. He also provides an eye-opening account of how the euphoric moment of the wall coming down was also a moment of grave danger and could have led to serious violence without his careful diplomacy.
Secondly, Dan is joined by Margit Hosseini. She grew up in the city and witnessed events of the 1950s and 60s as the wall went up before leaving to live in London. She remembers her experiences of what it was like to be surrounded by the wall as it went up and to witness family's, including her own, be divided by its ominous presence.