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Geography Archives: Germany

1892 Hamburg cholera epidemic

Socialism, capitalism, and cholera in 19th-century Hamburg

I certainly didn’t expect to spend the start of 2020 wading through nearly 700 pages about the 1892 Hamburg cholera epidemic, but I’m glad I did. Death in Hamburg, British historian Richard J. Evans’ social history of the epidemic, is a page-turner, his passion for the topic nothing short of infectious.

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Asparagus and bombers

While prices and recipes for asparagus, dates and restrictions for re-opening dominated the media and many conversations, a far more significant matter found little attention. Ever since 1955 an estimated twenty American nuclear bombs have been stored underground at the U.S. Air Force base in Büchel in Rhineland. A German politician recently proposed spending $3 […]

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

What can normalcy bring?

With COVID-19 figures flattening downward, Germany is limping back to some kind of normalcy. Auto and bike shops, book dealers, barbers and most shops less than 800 m2 can now re-open (with customers 5 ft apart). Bigger shops and department stores are squabbling: “Why not us?”

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Corona and what then?

Berlin, like many of your hometowns, is a ghost city. Except for those offering groceries, medicines or medical care, everything is shut tight. Luckily, no-one here has to stay inside, we can stroll around outside but, aside from families, we may not “assemble” in groups of more than two (if any cops are around).

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Breakthroughs

The right-wing menace, its violence and threat of a genuine fascist take-over, is far from ceasing with the happy ending of a Grimm fairy-tale. Thuringia is where the Nazis gained their first foothold in 1930 and the AfD leader here today, Bjorn Hoecke, is the most vicious and dangerous man in Germany.

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

A fascist coup

While millions this week stared at Iowa and Washington with worried amazement, confusion or anger, Germany, too, had its own messy confusion–which turned into a frightening alarm signal!

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Defender and spearheads

Troop movements today promise anything but peace. Every two years military maneuvers encircle Russian borders; every nine months a new brigade of 4500 U.S. soldiers was flown over to “gain experience”. This year it will be a division of 20,000, joined by soldiers from 18 countries, 37,000 in all.

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

A tale of two murals

No-one on Berlin’s main eastbound traffic artery could miss one of the two murals, five stories high, 2745 square feet in area, in shiny bright, red, green, yellow and blue colors up to the gabled rooftop of an older, isolated apartment building.

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Big rallies and big differences

Looking out my window at the wide Karl Marx Allee boulevard below, I have seen many a big May Day parade march by in the old GDR days, and many a passing bicycle race or Marathon. Recently, for the first time, I saw a slow, endless column of green or yellow tractors.

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

The Wall and General Pyrrhus

A stern, history-based evaluation awakens doubts that, despite the paeans in the world media, the fall of the Berlin Wall was not purely a peaceful revolution, a choice of freedom by the masses, another successful victory for freedom and justice as in past centuries.

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

The Berlin Wall thirty years later

Even thirty years have not accustomed all ex-GDR citizens to seeing youngsters in the streets with their ragged dogs and paper cups for charitable donations, concert violinists begging money with Mozart in cold subway stations or, on icy nights, homeless huddled figures in sleeping bags on the stations’ concrete floors.

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Warnings ancient and modern

Before the Berlin Wall was torn down we all made sarcastic jokes about its official designation by East German (GDR) party leaders as “anti-fascist protective barrier”. But hearing racist ranting by AfD leaders now hoping for victories and seeing gangs of marching thugs with barely–paraphrased Nazi slogans we must wonder if perhaps that scorned terminology […]

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

A fateful tug-of-war

On June 2nd Christian Democrat Walter Lübcke was shot dead in front of his home. Stimulated by fascist blogs, one of them that of a prominent adherent of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the murderer, a dyed-in-the-wool fascist, had been plotting the attack ever since hearing Lübcke’s fierce reply to vicious anti-foreigner catcalls at a public event […]

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Snow queen and Bremen hopes

In late June, some 5000 protestors camped out, as part of the “Stop Air Base Ramstein Campaign,” drawing attention to Germany’s increasing militarization via NATO. They demanded the U.S. Army base at Ramstein—where the top generals direct troop movements in Africa and the Near East, and deploy drones to murder anyone the Pentagon decides is […]

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