Read Part 1 here
On June 4, 1961, Khrushchev and Kennedy met in Vienna in hopes that the two could exchange views in a personal meeting.. . .During the summit, however, an emboldened Khrushchev demanded an immediate peace treaty to reunite Germany under Communist terms. That failing, as it must, he vowed to sign a separate peace treaty with Communist East Germany which, by his way of thinking, would then be unleashed to cut off free-world access to West Berlin. If a peace treaty were signed “the state of war would cease and all commitments stemming from the German surrender would become invalid. This would apply to institutions, occupation rights, and access to Berlin, including the air corridors.” (State Department, Feb. 1970, p. 41) The three Western powers replied that no unilateral treaty could abrogate their responsibilities and rights in West Berlin, including the right of unobstructed access to the city.1
Right here, we have it in simple language, lovingly worded by the always fair and balanced US State Department to make it sound as if a call to peace is some kind of violent act, merely a month prior to the the closing of the border there were talks specifically to avoid that exact action. It was simple, that Germany be reunited on "Communist terms"—the terms of Communists who liberated the concentration camps and Berlin in the first place—or a treaty would be signed with the GDR itself and it would cut off access to the fascist stronghold consolidating itself to the West, to which the Western powers responded the way the Western powers always have, by asserting "rights" of access to the world enumerated unto them by exactly no one. This resulted in a stalemate.
We remind the reader at this point, the absolute peak, of "former" Nazis in the Fourth Reich was this year, 1961. Over half of the Justice Ministry was composed of "former" Nazis, the Interior Ministry at this point peaked at 2/3rds "former" Nazis, 45% specifically from the Sturmabteilung.
The rate of "former" Nazis in government here climbs in tandem with the fleeing of "refugees," it hits its peak and ceases to climb the year the border is closed. This isn't a coincidence. A barrier was built speedily, within days, to cut off a supply line of fascist defectors, literal Nazis and their sympathizers and collaborators from the world: the Antifascist Protection Rampart.
The author proudly pushes forward, telling a story of how the wall was built that we're sure would all be quite horrifying if we did not have statistics on exactly who was running the day to day operations of the imperial puppet state on the western side of the wall thus mostly comes off as someone impressed by the amazing feat of engineering and planning that went in to this project.
It leads in to a particular paragraph, the pacing of the article indicates this as a sort of crescendo:
Among those at the train station was the American journalist Robert H. Lochner, director of RIAS radio. He had been driving through East Berlin recording what he saw. Now at the train station, he watched as an elderly lady walked up to a border guard and asked when the next train would go to West Berlin. The border guard laughed. ‘‘That is all over now,’’ he told her. “You are sitting in a mousetrap.
This mousetrap quote is wonderful, considering it's a moment of perfect and open honesty trying to be wielded against the GDR by a mouthpiece of the imperial powers that created the rat-line.
Have we ever considered for a moment that maybe this security forces, from the border-guards to the Stasi knew exactly what their function was?
"Denazification" was a meaningless slogan in the Fourth Reich in the West but it was actual policy on the antifascist side of the wall. This "mousetrap" notion was never in dispute. The physical, observable architecture of the Antifascist Protection Rampart makes this clear; the design is meant to drive fleeing fascists into a chokepoint to make them easier to shoot--you can clearly see it in the blueprint:
What cannot be glossed over, yet always is, is what was on the outside of the wall. The entire narrative of a "captive population" falls apart when you see in the numbers that the "Federal German Republic" is a literal Nazi stronghold, growing by the day, with guaranteed unlimited backing from the imperialist United States. It is also very telling that today, a majority of East Germans miss the DDR.
This was not done in response to stop helpless innocents fleeing from the evil Communists (Nostalgia for the DDR is as high as ever).
This was a defense fortification in response to the Wester power's rejection of a peace treaty. These "refugees" that once flooded into West Berlin knew exactly who was running the show there. It was a feature, not a bug, nor some unknown quantity.
This gradeschool-level Red Scare article (by the grace of God) finally begins to draw to a close with a statement about the efficacy of the Antifascist Protection Rampart:
It wasn’t until almost three decades later that the Berlin Wall came down. By then it was almost impossible to breach, with tripwires all around and every inch patrolled by border guards equipped with machine guns and mortars. Yet between 1961 and 1989, over 5,000 people escaped, with at least 140 dying in the attempt, including one in a homemade hot-air balloon that crashed. East Germans dug 70 escape tunnels, and 19 of them were used successfully, including a “senior citizens” tunnel started in a chicken coop by 12 elderly people.
To be fair, these are reasonably successful statistics. The seepage of fascists into the west was rampant, into the seven figures when the AFPR went up, then between '61-'89, only ~5,000 rats made it through the trap? Only 140 deaths? Reading from this paragraph it should be 139; nobody is responsible for Ur-Balloon Boy's death except for him. 70 escape tunnels dug out with a sub-30% success rate? This only reads like a case against "The Berlin Wall" if for some reason you think it was built for no reason at all within a socio-political vacuum.
And at last dear reader, the final--and delightfully trite--paragraph is upon us:
The fall of the Berlin Wall is often described as the end of an era, and in one way it was, but we still live in an era of walls. Today, over 70 countries have some kind of barrier or fence, and many draw inspiration from the one built in Berlin in 1961. The politics behind these walls varies, but there is perhaps one thing they all have in common: Wherever governments build a wall to stop free movement, people will try to get over it, or under it.
The fall of the Antifascist Protection Rampart on the anniversary of Kristallnacht was absolutely the end of an era, the end of the era of a physical defense against the spread of fascism; the breaking of this barrier has ushered in nothing good. The German Democratic Republic didn't know homelessness, hunger nor wage-slavery. The destruction of the Antifascist Protection Rampart changed all that, immediately. The capitalists took their longing memories and slapped them on T-shirts and coffee mugs, called it "Ostalgie" and sold it back to them to spit in the ruins of what they built back into their faces every day and pocket a profit on it.
Many governments build walls, and as this author says, the politics behind them vary... Yet she seems curiously uninterested in asking a single question about the politics at play on either side of this wall. Yes, when a wall is built to restrict movement, the people it restricts will attempt to thwart it--everyone from refugees to fentanyl smugglers. When you climb over or go under the bounds of impotent liberal orthodoxy however, you realize you can, in fact, ask questions about who's climbing, who's digging. What's behind them? What are they running towards?
Following the end of WWII some 3 million "refugees" move through the border before it was closed and walled off in 1961. Were all of them "former" Nazis? Waffen-SS? Collaborators? Sympathizers? Genuinely impossible to know how to count. What is possible to count however is that the Third Reich established over 44,000 prisons, slave labor operations, ghettos and death camps within its borders and territory, 18 million Wehrmacht soldiers that never revolted, 8.5 million registered members of the Nazi Party as mentioned before, approximately 22,000 members in the SS-Totenkopfverbände ("Death's Head Unit") administered the daily operations of the death camps that killed over 11 million people2: ~7 million Soviet civilians and ~6 million Jews, 3 million Soviet POWs, 1.8 million Polish civilians, over 300,000 Serbs, ~250,000 disabled, 250,000-500,000 Roma, and the list still does not end there, all of this leading into the Eastern Front where 27 million people3 were gave their lives in the righteous process of stopping of this insatiable death machine fueled by blood and slavery from expanding its reach at all costs.
Anyone who can dig through that many bodies to find the presumption of innocence is suspect. Suspect the way someone apparently running for their lives from the liberators of Auschwitz, the enders of the Holocaust, towards an imperial occupying force running a ratline for Nazis is suspect. Suspect the way millions of people who were impervious to the sound of screaming and the smell of burning flesh piercing and wafting outward from their local slave and death camps are suspect.
The Antifascist Protection Rampart is a target for demonization in the imperial core some 30 years after it was dismantled because while it stood it absolutely did exactly what it said on the tin, unambiguously. The last thing they, the capitalists, the exploiters, the would-be death squadrons want anyone to do is learn from a good example.4
Sydnor, Charles (1990) . Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933–1945 (pp.34)
Krivosheev, G. F. (1997). Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century
This is in reference to the following memo from the state department where they admitted that Cuba’s main threat to the “US way of life” is that it would set a “good example” to the rest of South America: The masses suffer from poor housing, malnutrition and illiteracy. In many countries large rural groups, which include most of the Indian peoples, are not integrated into the economic and social life of the nation. The poor and underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution, are now demanding opportunities for a decent living