Saturday 21 July 2012
Western Civilisation: Superior but Brittle
On March 7, 1989, thirty-two-year-old Winfried Freudenberg’s makeshift balloon crash landed, securing him the posthumous honour of last person to die escaping across the Berlin Wall. A month before, on the night of February 6, Chris Gueffroy, aged twenty, was shot ten times in the chest while attempting to flee East Berlin in the vicinity of the Britz district canal. All four East German soldiers involved in the murder of Gueffroy were duly presented with a GDR medal and 150 East German marks. What brave souls like Gueffroy and Freudenberg did not know—and, according to perhaps the most important thesis in Niall Ferguson’s Civilization: The West and the Rest, could not know—was that eight or so months later, on the night of November 9, 1989, an opening would miraculously appear in the Wall.
The article can be read in full at the following link: