Sunday, November 9, 2014

The hero of the Berlin Wall

The problem with Communism (other than the mountain of skulls) is that it's essentially running a country by bureaucracy.  It's simply not possible for good decisions to be made, or implemented.

On November 9, 1989 the East German Politburo decided that the crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin was to be liberalized.  However, the communication of what this meant was entirely botched - the border guards were not told what to do, but the head of the East Berlin Communist party made a TV announcement that travel was now permitted.

Tens of thousands of people showed up at the Berlin Wall border gates.  Tension was enormous, because in the past this sort of thing led to mountains of skulls. Instead, Stasi Lt. Harald Jäger- commander of the crossings - told the guards to open them all.  What might have been a riot turned into a celebration televised world wide.

Life has not been kind to Herr Jäger - the reunited Germany had no need of Stasi border guards.  But there's no doubt that Jäger was responsible for preventing dozens or hundreds of deaths.  The world owes him thanks for that.

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