Power to the People: German Citizens and the Defense of Human Rights

The documentary The Wall: A World Divided uses personal testimonies and historical background to provide the audience with a diversified look at the Berlin Wall and the repercussions it had on the German people. In focusing on the importance and pivotal role the German people played in the Wall’s destruction, the documentary illuminates how politicians and governmental forces may be viewed as the most powerful, but in actuality it is the actions and voices of the people that ultimately serve as a catalyst for change. The Wall itself pushed the bounds and norms of the German citizens, and the film exemplified that many German’s were forced to perform law defying acts and take innovative action in order to maintain their rights as human beings. The blatant disregard of basic human needs and rights by the Soviet Union brings into question the ideology of government and whether it is acceptable to revolt against said government if it neglects to put the needs of its people before its own selfish endeavors.

The film’s interviews with citizens and politicians set up an interesting comparison between the various approaches taken by the two groups. The personal testimonies exemplified the conviction many citizens had in maintaining what they thought they deserved as human beings, regardless of the lengths it took to re-obtain them. Rudolf Muller’s story supports the idea that to preserve their own life, citizens were forced to perform law defying acts, which in Muller’s case was the murdering of an E. Berlin guard. For other citizens, such law breaking was performed to further the education of the German people as a whole. An example presented in the documentary was the secret ownership of printing presses and the distribution of revolutionary propaganda against the oppressive Socialist state. The unification of the German people was quite miraculous, due to the staggering effects it had on the government of the Soviet Union. The explanation of the church’s pivotal role as a safe ground for voicing the importance of freedom and basic rights was innovative and creative, and further highlighted how though Reagan and other politicians pushed for the removal of the Wall, it was the growing dissatisfaction and unification of the German people that in the end resulted in the destruction of the Berlin barrier.

Though the Wall was removed, the blatant disregard for human rights and privacy remains an issue when analyzing the Stazi and the Soviet Union’s continual need to reaffirm their Socialist superiority over the capitalist West. Dieter Wendland’s testimony at minute 21 supplemented the documentary we watched last term, in its exemplification of human rights violations. By being remotely interested in the ideologies of the West, Dieter flagged himself as a threat to E. Berlin and the success of the Socialist East. Not only did the Stazi and Soviet Union infiltrate the private life of Dieter, but in taking it one step further, they systematically planned to ruin his livelihood. This desire to utterly demolish the lives of anyone who stood as a threat displays the inhumanity and stubborn determination of the Soviet Union.

Overall, the power and unification of the German people are what inspire me most about the documentary. It reaffirms that we as people DO have power in numbers and CAN overcome an oppressive state, even if it is gradual and tedious.

Shauntal J Van Dreel Words: 553

ger/102/2012/winter/shauntal_van_dreel-_the_wall.txt · Last modified: 2012/03/12 13:51 by sjvandreel
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