Berlin Wall Education Forum
Public Education Forum on Berlin Wall Diplomacy
November 13, 2009
Produced by the U.S. Diplomacy Center, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State
"I was alerted at one minute past midnight that the East Berlin radio had started to announce that communications within the city were cut. The Wall started with work crews tearing up the street and laying rows of barbed wire. It turned out that the cutting of the city in half was so effective that they started breaking up the streets simultaneously at all the points where later the Wall was constructed."
Robert Lochner, Director, Radio in the American Sector (RIAS), Berlin, 1961-1968
To commemorate the twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. Diplomacy Center hosted a public education forum bringing together high-level diplomats in a moderated discussion. Attendees heard behind-the-scenes personal accounts from the diplomats who were on the ground, advancing their government's agenda during a chilly and hostile time. Attendees also heard what it was like to be a diplomat during a time when relations between the U.S., Germany and Russia were cold. How did diplomats, on either side, work with each other, advance their agendas and maintain relationships?
The moderator for the forum was Dr. Karen Donfried, Executive Vice President, The German Marshall Fund of the U.S.
The panelists for the forum were:
Klaus Scharioth, German Ambassador to the U.S (current); Ambassador Scharioth also delivered a keynote address
Richard Barkley, U.S. Ambassador to East Germany, 1988-1990
Dr. Istvan Foldesi, Hungarian National Security Advisor, 1988-1989, Hungarian General for International Economic Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1989-1992
Date, Location and Time:
Friday, November 13, 2009
George C. Marshall Conference Center
U.S. Department of State
9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
For further information on the Berlin Forum, please email Lauren K. Fischer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
"People simply said, 'We want to go across, can we go?' They said, 'OK, go ahead.' Try to imagine a couple of checkpoint guys sitting there looking at huge mobs of people and wondering, 'What are they going to do? I can't shoot; I have been told not to shoot. What do I do?' So of course all the cameras were there and they started to go through. And of course it was jubilation. People saying, 'This is crazy. I can't believe this. I don't know what is happening here.'
Richard C. Barkley, Ambassador; German Democratic Republic, 1988-1990
The forum complements the launch of USDC's online interactive exhibition on Berlin Wall diplomacy Voices of U.S. Diplomacy and the Berlin Wall. The exhibition covers the U.S. diplomatic presence in Germany from after World War II until German unity in 1990.
"East Germany... was the point where the two great forces, East and West, came together and where there was more to be risked and more to be lost by reckless policy. We assumed there would be a more cautious approach to reform in East Germany than anywhere else."
G. Jonathan Greenwald, Political Counselor, East Berlin, 1987-1990
For further information on this online exhibition, please contact us at email@example.com.