Saturday, November 06, 2004

Specter of West Berlin

I happened upon a book that deals with the development of the two Berlins that was written in 1988. TH Elkins' Berlin: the Spatial Development of a Divided City has been made obsolete by the fall of the Berlin Wall (I sure he kicked himself when it occurred only one year later).

Elkins' prognosis for West Berlin was grim. The city was an island separated from the Federal Republic. It relied on all sorts of financial assistance from the main country, especially for transportation. The federal republic could do little for West Berlin that did not requires diplomacy with the DDR. Politically, West Berlin did not have full rights as a German Land. It could not vote for the federal chancellor, and it could not select its federal representatives by popular vote. There was a sense that West Berlin was becoming alien to the federal republic: it was developing differently, and there was a sense that this once-great metropolis was becoming provincial. According to Elkins:
West Berlin, it can be argued, so rigorously shut off by an unsympathetic neighbor, is no longer an essential component of German life.
By comparison, East Berlin was the legitimate capital of the DDR and a thriving city. The futures of the two half-cities could not have contrasted more. In the 1980s the ruling SPD considered negotiating a new status for the city--neither east nor west, a bridge between the federal republic and the people's republic.


At 2:18 PM, Blogger Rik said...

I like your blog,it's interesting to read.
Good stuff,so keep writing :)
[My blog][avatars and funny stuff]


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