Category: East Germany

Beyond Two Beers: Berliner vs Kindl & Sampling The Craft Beer Scene

May 1945. Berlin was a city of ghosts and ruins. Allied bombing had laid waste to vast swathes of the city centre, decimating the German capital’s infrastructure. Industry was crippled. Large-scale brewing operations had been torn apart by the high explosives that rained from the skies. In the years that immediately followed World War Two, though, two breweries would rise from the rubble and become powerhouses in the period when Berlin was divided: Berliner Pilsner and Berliner Kindl. They would come to define two divergent Cold War cultures in East and West. Berliner Kindl would become the poster child of the Wirtschaftwunder, a microcosmic example of West Germany’s economic recovery. The name was all over West Berlin – the shop front window for Western values behind the Iron Curtain – as Marshall Plan money poured into the city. The war and its immediate aftermath had been nothing short of disastrous for…

Eight Strangest Berlin Wall Escapes

As of Monday the 5th of February 2018, the Berlin Wall will have been down for longer than it stood: 28 years, 3 months, and 28 days. Erected on the 13th of August 1961, The Wall divided Berlin for 28 years during the Cold War and claimed the lives of, as official records currently state, 140 people, until its fall on the 9th November 1989. What started as a ramshackle border fence, comprising mostly of barbed wire and concrete posts, would be continually expanded into a 157-kilometre long fortress consisting of two walls with an armoured ‘no-man’s-land’ running in between – nicknamed, with characteristic German candour, the ‘Death Strip’. Unlike the no-mans land of the First World War, the control zone of the Berlin Wall was entirely in the territory of one power - East Germany - a country determined to stop the flow of citizens escaping West across its…

On this day: Friedrich Engels, Prussian political theorist and ‘gravedigger of capitalism’, is born (28th November 1820)

In 1842, the 22-year-old Friedrich Engels travelled to tend to family business near Manchester, England. Sent by his father to protect the family investment in a cotton manufacturing firm in Salford, with the added paternal hope that exposing his son to the realities of business would rid him of his increasingly radical leanings. Instead, Engels witnessed the misery and desperation that had arrived on the banks of the river Irk. As the steam engine and mechanised textile production had spread across Great Britain and continental Europe in the early 19th century, a new epoch of industrialisation had arrived. The dilapidation, unsanitary conditions, and personal estrangement threatening public health and gruelling labour, meagre pay, and long hours expected of workers proved hard to ignore. [caption id="attachment_4391" align="alignright" width="300"] The family business in Manchester, the offices of Ermen and Engels' Victoria Mill[/caption] Born in 1820, in what was then the kingdom of Prussia,…