Berlin is the capital city of Germany and one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.4 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city and is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany on the River w:Spree, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has about 4½ million residents from over 180 nations.
First documented in the 13th century, Berlin became the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–33) and the Third Reich (1933–45). Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II, the city, along with the German state, was divided - into East Berlin — capital of the German Democratic Republic, colloquially identified in English as East Germany — and West Berlin, a political exclave (surrounded by the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989) and a de facto (although not de jure) state of the Federal Republic of Germany, known colloquially in English as West Germany from 1949 to 1990. Following German reunification in 1990, the city was once more designated as the capital of all Germany.
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- I remember vividly in 1974 being in the mass of people, descending the streets in my native Lisbon, in Portugal, celebrating the democratic revolution and freedom. This same feeling of joy was experienced by the same generation in Spain and Greece. It was felt later in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Baltic States when they regained their independence. Several generations of Europeans have shown again and again that their choice for Europe was also a choice for freedom. I will never forget Rostropovich playing Bach at the fallen Wall in Berlin. This image reminds the world that it was the quest for freedom and democracy that tore down the old divisions and made possible the reunification of the continent. Joining the European Union was essential for the consolidation of democracy in our countries. Because it places the person and respect of human dignity at its heart. Because it gives a voice to differences while creating unity. And so, after reunification, Europe was able to breathe with both its lungs, as said by Karol Wojtiła. The European Union has become our common house. The “homeland of our homelands” as described by Vaclav Havel.
- And for us in this country to think of having, for example, a dictatorship—a popular form of government in many countries to-day—would, on our part, be an act of consummate cowardice, an act of surrender, of throwing in our hands, a confession that we were unable to govern ourselves...In this country we do not want what I call the "get-rich-quick" mind. Speed and efficiency are very good things, and they are, perhaps, the idols of this generation. But they do not necessarily go together. Acceleration, as I have often said, is not a synonym for civilisation. It is quite true the State coach of this country may be going through heavy ground, the wheels may be creaking; but are you quite sure that the wheels of the State coach are not creaking to-day in Moscow, in Berlin, in Vienna? Are you quite certain that they are not creaking even in the United States of America?
- From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.
- An attempt is being made by the Russians in Berlin to build up a quasi-Communist party in their zone of Occupied Germany by showing special favors to groups of left-wing German leaders. At the end of the fighting last June, the American and British Armies withdrew westwards, in accordance with an earlier agreement, to a depth at some points of 150 miles upon a front of nearly four hundred miles, in order to allow our Russian allies to occupy this vast expanse of territory which the Western Democracies had conquered. If now the Soviet Government tries, by separate action, to build up a pro-Communist Germany in their areas, this will cause new serious difficulties in the British and American zones, and will give the defeated Germans the power of putting themselves up to auction between the Soviets and the Western Democracies. Whatever conclusions may be drawn from these facts - and facts they are - this is certainly not the Liberated Europe we fought to build up. Nor is it one which contains the essentials of permanent peace.
- To illustrate how dramatically populations can displace each other over time, the historian E.M. Kulischer once reminded his readers that in A.D. 900 Berlin had no Germans, Moscow had no Russians, Budapest had no Hungarians, Madrid was a Moorish settlement, and Constantinople had hardly any Turks. He added that the Normans had not yet settled in Great Britain and before the sixteenth century there were no Europeans living in North or South America, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.
- Neil Howe, Richard Jackson (2008) The Graying of the Great Powers: Demography and Geopolitics in the 21st Century. p. 15
- Poor but sexy
- Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit on Berlin, 2003. Quoted in "Once ‘poor but sexy’ Berlin bounces back as start-up hub", The Financial Times, 25 March 2019
- Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
- In their native countries, Roosevelt and Churchill are regarded as examples of wise statesmen. But we, during our jail conversations, were astonished by their constant shortsightedness and even stupidity. How could they, retreating gradually from 1941 to 1945, leave Eastern Europe without any guarantees of independence? How could they abandon the large territories of Saxony and Thuringia in return for such a ridiculous toy as the four-zoned Berlin that, moreover, was later to become their Achille’s heel? And what kind of military or political purpose did they see in giving away hundreds of thousands of armed Soviet citizens (who were unwilling to surrender, whatever the terms) for Stalin to have them killed? It is said that by doing this, that they secured the imminent participation of Stalin in the war against Japan. Already armed with the Atomic bomb, they did pay for Stalin so that he wouldn’t refuse to occupy Manchuria to help Mao Zedong to gain power in China and Kim Il Sung, to get half of Korea!… Oh, misery of political calculation! When later Mikolajczyk was expelled, when the end of Beneš and Masaryk came, Berlin was blocked, Budapest was in flames and turned silent, when ruins fumed in Korea and when the conservatives fled from Suez – didn’t really some of those who had a better memory, recall for instance the episode of giving away the Cossacks?
- I see Berlin as the capital of the West; to me, it's a city where everyone can find a home, where everyone can find freedom, it's the last bastion against oppression.
- Deborah Feldman, 2016. Quoted in "Unorthodox: Deborah Feldman's escape from Brooklyn to Berlin (interview)", Deutsche Welle, 29 July 2016
- It is true to say that Berlin had far fewer memorials associated with colonialism than imperial cities such as London or Paris. Two memorial stones Two memorial stones and one obelisk were erected to the memory of those soldiers who died in the colonial wars in China and German South-West Africa. Although Imperial Germany saw a major debate about a larger memorial for all Germans who died for the fatherland in the colonies, no specific plans were realized before the outbreak of war in 1914. A central memorial to the memory of the German colonies was only erected in 1932, and then it was built in Bremen and not in Berlin. However, the capital of the imperial nation saw the creation of an “African quarter” in Berlin Wedding. In 1899 the first two streets were named Kameruner Strasse and Togostrasse. 21 other names followed, names of colonies, of particular places in colonies, of famous colonizers and colonial generals. The renaming of streets with a colonial theme continued into the 1920s, demonstrating the strength and the appeal of colonial demonstrating the strength and the appeal of colonial revisionism in the Weimar Republic.
- A disgusting city, this Berlin, a place where no one believes in anything.
- Boston is among an increasing number of municipalities, universities, and private foundations that have announced plans to divest from fossil fuels. In late October, ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, better known as COP26, Auckland, New Zealand; Copenhagen, Denmark; Glasgow, Scotland; Paris; Rio de Janeiro; and Seattle announced commitments to divest from fossil fuel companies and increase investments to make cities more sustainable. Also last month, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott signed a bill that requires the city’s three pension funds to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Those are in addition to divestment commitments made last year by Berlin; Bristol, England; Cape Town, South Africa; Durban, South Africa; London; Los Angeles; Milan; New Orleans; New York City; Oslo; Norway; Pittsburgh; and Vancouver, Canada. “Cities are at the forefront of tackling the climate emergency and there is real momentum to move investments away from fossil fuels and toward climate solutions,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is chair-elect of C40 Cities, a network of mayors working to confront climate change, said in a statement. “I will continue to encourage more cities to join the movement, and urge national governments and private finance institutions to mobilize more finance to invest directly in cities to support a green and fair recovery.”
- I'm guided by a signal in the heavens
I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.
- And now we come to the most lurid Underworld of all cities — that of post-war Berlin. Ever since the declaration of peace, Berlin found its outlet in the wildest dissipation imaginable. The German is gross in his immorality, he likes his Halb-Welt or underworld pleasures to be devoid of any Kultur or refinement, he enjoys obscenity in a form which even the Parisian would not tolerate.
- Berlin stimulates like arsenic.
- Berlin has become the paradise of international homosexuals.
- There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.
- Few at the time or since have questioned the costs or the risks associated with Berlin in 1948–1949. From that time until the end of the Cold War, the Allies’ presence in West Berlin remained the embodiment of Soviet frustration and, despite the city’s real vulnerability, of America’s commitment to halt aggression. Berlin became an important intelligence site for both sides—an opportunity to dig listening tunnels, recruit spies and counteragents, and monitor the other’s activities—but for the West it also provided an invaluable means to observe the communists’ military personnel, formations, and equipment. Moreover, less than four years after World War II, two million West Berliners—and, by extension, the entire population of western Germany—were suddenly transformed into America’s democratic protégés. Truman’s actions in 1948–1949 replaced appeasement with firmness and selective engagement with an expansive definition of US interests and prestige. The Berlin airlift also redefined America’s view of its Cold War partnerships to include populations unwilling or incapable of defending themselves from aggression, who would be rescued by decisive US action. In real as well as symbolic terms, the “Berlin syndrome” wiped out the Munich nightmare that had haunted the West for a decade.
- Carole C. Fink, The Cold War: An International History (2017), p. 71
- It was Berlin itself he was hungry to meet; the Berlin Wystan had promised him. To Christopher, Berlin meant Boys.
- That absurd trickle called the Spree, for instance, in Berlin, does not deserve the name of river.
- Cities like London, New York, Berlin, Paris, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, or Glasgow are high spots of slavery in comparison to Albania, Bulgaria, or even Central Africa. The slavery of the watch and clock, the bourgeois, anthropocentric slavery of material prestige and successful competition (to slave in order to keep up standards), the wage slavery of the proletarian, the school slavery of the children, the conscription slavery of the adolescents, the road slavery, the factory slavery, the barrack slavery, the party slavery, the office slavery, the parlor slavery of manners and conventions — all these slaveries make political "freedom" appear a bitter joke.
- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd (1943), p. 85
- So there is no single European people. There is no single all-embracing community of culture and tradition among, say, Warsaw, Amsterdam, Berlin and Belgrade. In fact, there are at least four communities: the Northern Protestant, the Latin Catholic, the Greek Orthodox, and the Muslim Ottoman. There is no single language - there are more than twenty. (...) There are no real European political parties (...). And most significantly of all: unlike the United States, Europe still does not have a common story.
- Few areas of the national life of those Western European countries failed to benefit from the decades of parasitic exploitation of the colonies. One Nigerian, after visiting Brussels in 1960, wrote: “I saw for myself the massive palaces, museums and other public buildings paid for by Congo ivory and rubber.” In recent times, African writers and researchers have also been amazed to find the amount of looted African treasure stacked away in the British Museum; and there are comparable if somewhat smaller collections of African art in Paris, Berlin, and New York. Those are some of the things which, in addition to monetary wealth, help to define the metropoles as developed and “civilized.”
- Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972), p. 186
- To my mind, imperialism is something very simple and clear and it exists as a fact when one country, a large country, seizes a certain strip of territory and subjects to its laws a certain number of men and women against their will. Soviet policy after the beginning of the second world war was precisely this. There is no difficulty in pointing this out, but the difficulty lies in the fact that when one quotes from memory one will forget one or other argument. Because the Russians, thanks to the second world war, have quite simply annexed the three Baltic States, taken a piece of Finland, a piece of Rumania, a piece of Poland, a piece of Germany and, thanks to a well thought-out policy composed of internal subversion and external pressure, have established Governments justifiably styled as Satellites, in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest, Tirana and East Berlin - I except Belgrade where the regime is unique thanks to the energy and courage of Marshal Tito. If all this does not constitute manifestations of imperialism, if all this is not the result of a policy consciously willed and consciously pursued, an imperialist aim, then indeed we shall have to start to go back to a new discussion and a new definition of words.