Monday, November 10, 2014

The Sentence That Knocked Down the Berlin Wall (But Almost Didn’t)

By Peter Robinson, Nov. 5, 2014, The Intercollegiate Review - In retrospect, what event fails to suggest a certain inevitability about itself, conveying the sense that because it happened it had to have happened? Twenty-five years ago this week, the Berlin Wall finally fell. Of course it did. How could it have remained in place a day longer? For that matter, how could the Soviet Union itself have failed to fall? How could the Cold War have ended any other way than in a victory for the West? History preserves only the events that took place, permitting the alternatives—the contingencies and near misses—to fade, disappearing completely in the end.
 No matter how it may seem in retrospect, there was nothing inevitable about the event that took place twenty-five years ago this week. The fall of the Berlin Wall took place because certain men and women—people including Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Ronald Reagan—took certain specific actions, demonstrating their capacity for reason and courage. And that, really, is why we study history: to remind ourselves that if those who went before us could do the right thing, then we can do no less ourselves. (read more)

Comment: The fall of the Berlin wall was the most monumental positive things to have happened in my lifetime. The cold war did not have to end the way it did. We could still be fighting the cold war with a shrinking number of free nations and spreading totalitarianism, or worse yet the war could have ended in a nuclear holocaust. I know we have our difficulties now, but nothing compared to the dangers we faced when the Communist movement led by the Soviet Union was determined to conquer the world.

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1 comment:

  1. It's a great story. I hope everyone will read the full piece by Robinson, who wrote the speech. The book is excellent and a very touching memoir of his years working for Ronaldus Maximus.