Daily Life behind the Iron Curtain

Daily Life behind the Iron Curtain

Daily Life behind the Iron Curtain

Daily Life behind the Iron Curtain

Synopsis

This compelling book describes how everyday people courageously survived under repressive Communist regimes until the voices and actions of rebellious individuals resulted in the fall of the Iron Curtain in Europe.

Part of Greenwood's Daily Life through History series, Daily Life behind the Iron Curtain enables today's generations to understand what it was like for those living in Eastern Europe during the Cold War, particularly the period from 1961 to 1989, the era during which these people—East Germans in particular—lived in the imposing shadow of the Berlin Wall.

An introductory chapter discusses the Russian Revolution, the end of World War II, and the establishment of the Socialist state, clarifying the reasons for the construction of the Berlin Wall. Many historical anecdotes bring these past experiences to life, covering all aspects of life behind the Iron Curtain, including separation of families and the effects on family life, diet, rationing, media, clothing and trends, strict travel restrictions, defection attempts, and the evolving political climate. The final chapter describes Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall and the slow assimilation of East into West, and examines Europe after Communism.

Excerpt

Imagine you are a young Berliner, 16 years old, when World War II finally
comes to an end in 1945 Europe. If you are a boy, you have managed to
escape conscription into the war by an army that was drafting some teen
agers even younger than you. But, for as long as you can remember, you
have lived in a country consumed by angry rhetoric, violence, and now
the devastation wrought by the Allied victory that has crushed the
German army and the cities and towns of Germany along with it. You
are a bundle of mixed emotions because, although your country has just
lost this war and you have lost loved ones in it, the war is—in fact—
finally over. You may be standing in streets filled with rubble from what
used to be beautiful buildings, but at least you are standing. You are alive,
and the fighting is over. No more bombing raids at night or during the
day. Tomorrow may bring many questions about what comes next, but at
least the fighting and the bombing are over
.

As the days, weeks, months, and years progress, you pitch in and help
find ways to feed your family and to start rebuilding your home and neigh
borhood. The end of the war has brought people from different lands to that
neighborhood: American, French, British, and Russian soldiers are regular
sights in the streets and evening places. You have been tossed a few candy
bars yourself by passing American GIs, and they have been luxuries
you’ve treasured. News of the Berlin airdrops has reached your neighbor
hood, and it looks like help has come in the form of food from your

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