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Death at the Berlin Wall$
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Pertti Ahonen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199546305

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546305.001.0001

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The Wall goes up

The Wall goes up

(p.16) 1 The Wall goes up
Death at the Berlin Wall

Pertti Ahonen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with the erection of the Wall on 13 August 1961 and moves on to analyse the ways in which the barrier was promptly instrumentalized for political purposes by both Germanys. It draws on Western and Eastern reactions to the death of the first person shot at the Wall—Günter Litfin, killed on 24 August 1961—and on public discourses about the Wall more generally to highlight important precedents that were set in the immediate aftermath of the Wall's construction. In an effort to use the Wall and its victims to bolster the legitimacy of their own polity and to undermine that of their arch rival, both Germanys developed aggressive public discourses about the ongoing events in Berlin, discourses that were rich in Nazi analogies and displayed many structural similarities despite their mutually incompatible specific content.

Keywords:   Berlin, Berlin Wall, Germany, GDR, division, escape, Günter Litfin, legitimacy, death, Nazi

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