Renee asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 6 years ago

American influence and the Berlin Wall?

Did American pop culture or any kind of pop/rebel influence help bring down the Berlin Wall in any way? I believe that the youth rebel culture helped to indirectly bring down the wall, but I have very little evidence of it. Does anyone know of a book, article, etc that may be useful? Maybe actual personal experience? From what I have read, American pop culture was very popular among the East German youth in Berlin, though officials highly discouraged it.

5 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The summer of 1987 saw West Berlin host a series of open air concerts close to the Berlin Wall. Artists including David Bowie, The Eurythmics and Genesis appeared to large crowds in front of the Reichstag. On the other side of the Wall, thousands of East German fans tried to get as close to the Wall as possible to hear the music coming from the West. They were met with heavy resistance from the guards policing the border, which led to clashes between border guards and young East Germans. Realising that suppressing popular music in the aftermath of the riot would only inflame tensions, the SED attempted to win back the support of East German youths. The following year a series of concerts were organised in East Berlin, designed to counter performances from Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd that were taking place close to the Wall in the West. In East Berlin, Western stars, such as Big Country, Bryan Adams and Marillion performed alongside East German bands like City. On 19 July 1988, Bruce Springsteen performed the biggest rock concert in the history of the GDR in front of 160,000 people.  During the concert Springsteen told the crowd ‘It’s nice to be in East Berlin. I’m not for or against a government. I came to play rock ‘n’ roll for you, in the hope that one day all barriers will be torn down’. Springsteen’s words reflected the mood of young people in the crowd, sparking wild cheering and celebrations.

    "Forget David Hasselhoff," says Erik Kirschbaum, author of Rocking the Wall, referring to the actor-singer whose single Looking for Freedom was No 1 in West Germany in the spring of 1989 – and who famously claimed he brought down the Berlin Wall. "Unlike Springsteen, Hasselhoff didn't go to East Berlin to perform, and neither did he call for the wall to come down a year before it happened."

    In September 1989 the new opposition movement Neues Forum (New Forum) issued a declaration known as Aufbruch 89 (Initiative 89) which called for ‘democratic dialogue’ and ‘a political platform for the whole of the GDR that should enable people from all professions, trades, social circles, parties and groups to discuss and work out society’s vital problems’.

    Historians believe Springsteen's gig, far from appeasing people, simply made them want more. "Springsteen's concert and speech certainly contributed in a large sense to the events leading up to the fall of the wall," Gerd Dietrich, professor of history at Berlin's Humboldt University, told Kirschbaum. "It made people … more eager for more and more change … Springsteen aroused a greater interest in the west. It showed people how locked up they really were."

    In the same month, singer-songwriters Steffen Mensching and Hans-Eckardt Wenzel drafted a document dubbed the Rocker Resolution which was signed by a number of well known artists including Toni Krahl and Tamara Danz, lead singer of Silly. The Rocker Resolution became an important part of the reform movement within the GDR. The state controlled media refused to publish the Resolution, so bands and artists were encouraged to read the declaration out at concerts and other public events to spread the message across the country. The widespread distribution of the Rocker Resolution lead to an extraordinary meeting of the SED’s Committee for Entertainment in October 1989, which resulted in ‘the first official acknowledgement of and reaction to the worsening political situation in East Germany’ (Schulz, Hiltrud, Ear to the Wall:Rock in Late 1980s East Germany, 2008). According to Toni Krahl the aim of the Resolution was ‘not to open borders or to unify Germany, but to democratise the GDR’.

    The fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the beginning of the end for the GDR and symbolized the start of the re-unification process that was completed on 3 October 1990. On 21 July 1990, Pink Floyd performed their album The Wall at Potsdamer Platz, among the ruins of the Berlin Wall, with guest appearances from artists including Van Morrison, The Band, and Bryan Adams. The concert was attended by an estimated 500,000 people, from both Western and Eastern Germany.

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

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  • lwhhow
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Yes and also.... check out how the West German/ West / American pop culture....disrespected and ridiculed the Wall by putting graffiti all over their side of it (even at the risk of possibly being shot). Google/ Bing....'berlin wall images' see. Then you could Google Berlin Wall graffiti/ art too.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    The Hoff was there when it came down so yeah

    Source(s): David Hassellhoff
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    6 years ago


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