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An American in Berlin - Marc Fisher remembers the fall of the Wall

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An American in Berlin - Marc Fisher remembers the fall of the Wall


Federica Bonacini – euronews: “The events of November the 9th, 1989 marked the end of the cold war and had a big impact on the society as well. Marc Fisher was a young reporter for the Washington Post at that time and had just started his posting in West Germany. You were a young witness to the events. What did you feel that night and what was your perception of what was happening?”

Marc Fisher – Washington Post columnist: “I was actually just beginning my time as the bureau chief for the Washington Post, that fall, and was still enrolled in a language course in a small village in Western Germany, the day before the Wall came down. I was out to dinner with my wife. We were staying in the home of an elderly couple. When we arrived back at their house, the old man was waiting for us and in the simpliest German he could muster he said, “The wall has fallen, Washington has called, you must work”. And so I made my way from that small village to Berlin to see the immediate impact of the Fall of the Wall. It was one extraordinary emotional reunion after another and a time where each individual hour remains absolutely riveted in my mind even twenty years later.” Federica Bonacini – euronews: “Can you tell us what were the reactions in the US not just in the Washington Post but in general in American society?” Marc Fisher – Washington Post columnist: “I think this was a tremendously stirring moment for many Americans, of all ages but particurilary for those generations who had grown up during the Cold War, in the aftermath of WWII and through the whole period of great tension, nuclear tension through the 1960’s and 70’s. For that generation, to wake up one morning and see that the people they have always been told were enslaved, imprisoned, behind the Iron Curtain, had the gumption and really the people power to step forward on their own and take action against an oppressive state. This was a tremendous fulfilment of the hopes and dreams of a great many Americans.” Federica Bonacini – euronews: “From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to a Germany which was later unified, what was your view of that?” Marc Fisher – Washington Post columnist: “Well beeing on the ground in Germany I perceived what happened in the reunification of Germany in a very different way from the way it was portrayed by the US Government and by some other European Powers. They tended to see this as a political and diplomatical story, as the success of Nations coming together at the diplomacy table. But from the ground, going from town to town and seeing the pressures on both the East and West German Governments it really had a different cast to it. It was clear from that perspective that this was a revolution from the ground up this was not the top down kind of revolution what some history books making out to be.” Federica Bonacini – euronews: “And today twenty years on what is the perception?” Marc Fisher – Washington Post columnist: “Unfortunately I think these events are beginning to fade in the collective memory of Americans. This has in part to do with the rise of the internet and the decline of the traditional press. There is simply less awareness of foreign affairs than there was twenty years ago. Generally most Americans are not as exposed to foreign affairs. And so the story of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism is something that young people learn in history books now and they are too young to have experienced it itself. They do seem very interested and curious because there is this emotional connection between the Fall of the Wall and our own history our own founding story as a Nation.” Federica Bonacini – euronews: “Mr. Fisher it was really interesting talking to you and hearing your views of those days twenty years on, thank you so much for talking to euronews.”

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