Lately we've been learning about The Berlin Wall. November 9th was the 20th anniversary of the fall of this infamous wall. During that week, the History Channel was airing The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall. We recorded the show with our DVR and watched it over several days. It was fascinating. Not only is the story incredible, but this movie has incredible computer graphics and shows exciting escape reenactments along with testimonials of the people who escaped.
I had to write my brother, "The World Traveller", and see if he'd ever been to Berlin. He's been - twice. He said it is one of his favorite cities. He told me about visiting the museum at Checkpoint Charlie. He said the museum documents "the division of the city, the airlift, and the actual contraptions people built to sneak to the west (including a homemade hot air baloon and a homemade plane)."
This morning I was searching for videos and came across this one of the failed escape attempt of Peter Fechter. I don't think it is too graphic, and I love that includes part of the famous JFK speech given at the Wall. It gives a little more background to his famous words, "Ich bin ein Berliner" translated "I am a Berliner".
And here is a portion of Reagan's famous "Tear Down This Wall" speech. (Isn't it amazing that we have access to so much on the internet?)
Two nights ago, we read a book called Talking Walls by Margy Burns Knight. This book has 2-page spreads about various famous walls throughout history. It includes the Berlin Wall, but also walls like the Great Wall of China and the walls of the prison cell of Nelson Mandela. This book is really interesting and we plan on doing some more research on some of these famous walls. I also plan on creating a map showing where the walls are located.
For the past 2 nights, we've been slowly reading The Fall of the Berlin Wall (Days that Changed the World) by Jeremy Smith. This is a pretty complicated book that introduces a lot of new material to Alex. (And, history is not one of my strong points!) This book also covers the rise of the Wall, so we've been talking about Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Gorbachev, Karl Marx, the Romanovs, NATO, the Warsaw Pact, the Iron Curtain... that's why this book is taking us such a long time! I think we got through 4 pages in 30 minutes last night.
And, I'll be sharing this video with Alex today. It is an ABC news report on the fall of the Berlin Wall.