Sunday, September 14, 2014

Alyssa Buren
Composition 117
When the Wall Came Down
Serge Schmemann      
Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006
51 pages
“Die Mauer ist Weg! Berlin ist wieder Berlin!” (page 15)
The quotation above means “The wall is gone! Berlin is again Berlin!” which read the popular German paper B.Z. after the Berlin wall was knocked down in November of 1989. The Berlin wall was put up to keep the western people from entering the eastern side and demolish the socialist state. The other reason it was put up was to keep many of the eastern people from leaving the eastern side and moving on to the west. The simply showed the differences between two governments.
The first half of the book When the Wall Came Down explains that Serge Schmemann was a New York Times chief correspondent in Germany during the time of and fall of the Berlin wall. Serge was based in the western part of Germany. He explains how the west part of Germany was free and they lived in a secure place while east Germany was poor and gloomy. The people of Berlin were celebrating as all of the eastern people poured into the west after the wall was knocked down. Serge just looked on the excitement taking in what he could for his next days article.
In the reading, we go back to how World War II had a large impact on Germany and Berlin. It left much of Germany, including Berlin in Ruins. After this war, Germany was split into four different sectors. The cold war then set in after World War II. The four sectors were controlled by America, France, Britain, and the Soviet Union. Later the three allied countries were combined into one large sector. After this, the Soviet Union also got allies and then officially split Europe into two different enemy portions of the continent. These events lead up to the famous Berlin Wall being built.
When the Wall Came Down is a book from a person’s point of view who is living with the wall. Being able to see what it was like for Serge who actually lived around the wall and had to deal with its side effects really helps give this book a special impact on me as the reader. It shows how the country and the people were affected by this wall. All of these people were once one country who get split apart, because of outside countries controlling different sectors of the Germany after World War II. These people had friends and family who were getting split up and not being able to see any of them and with the fighting going on between the two sides really affected all the people and their countries.
What if Iowa was split into two parts? Thinking of Germany being split up makes me think of what it would be like it say Iowa was split up through Des Moines all the way to the south and north. Splitting Iowa up would limit us westerners from the east part of Iowa and vice versa like the Europeans were split up. Thinking of it being split up would limit all of our travel and visiting if you had family or friends on the opposite side of the state. Everything you did would be limited by the separation of the sides of the state. 
The first half of this book has been very enlightening on a lot of history of the problems over in Europe that I have never known much about. It is interesting with it being written by someone who has experienced some of these events first hand. I am excited to continue reading on to read more of his experiences and learn more about the history of what is to become the wall.


  1. Good! Quote matches with the blog. Ask question for the reader, possibly, otherwise it's good!

  2. I like the quote that you used to start the blog, but I think that maybe you could have said the name of the book sooner than you did. Only because I was kind of wondering what book it was when I was reading the blog. I really like all the information you gave in the beginning though, so you actually know what's going on. I also like your examples. Good job!