By Michelle Seitz, Staff Writer
On Monday Nov. 20, Jason Johnson, Assistant Professor of the department of history at Trinity University, gave a lecture in Isaac’s Auditorium. He spoke about the cold war conflict on Germany’s frontline.
Johnson is the author of an excerpt in this year’s Common Reading. The sole purpose of his lecture was to explain the impact the Iron Curtain has on the country, specifically a small village in Eastern Germany that gained popularity as the premise of a “Downton Abbey” spinoff series. Currently, the Curtain is represented by a tiny creek.
Many East Germans were restricted access to West German television stations, therefore the wall was the only means of communication the two have with one another. Germans on both sides of the wall communicated with one another and spread news by word of mouth, more specifically by yelling over the wall. Red cloths were used to signify bad news on either side of the wall.
However, in 1983 Vice President George H.W Bush famously gave a speech to tear down the wall. Afterwards, he addressed the London International Financial Center Astana to tell them the wall was a bigger obscenity than other issues they were dealing with.
Most of East Germany consisted of farmers. Its government was very selective in who they placed to live on the border and regularly checked in and removed residents from their homes to meet various security measures.
Williams asked the question “How does this matter”? He explained how in an increasingly militarized village, the villagers have a variety of stress relief methods.
Also, there are a variety of books that describe the Iron Curtain as “a wall between cities.” Local Germans helped to build up its borders through a top-down construction process. The borders look different depending on location.
There is evidence that “there is no such thing as the Iron Curtain,” rather there are many different Iron Curtains throughout Germany and a collection of systems as well. Its division looks different than borders in larger cities because the village is so tiny.
Afterwards, Williams’ final message to the audience was: “Be brave, stand up for people who need help, and be kind”.
President Green attended the lecture, and explained that “it was timely to speak about a topic that is extremely relevant to date” in reference to border control throughout the world.