Tom Stoddart/Getty Images (11/10/1989)

"All alone, or in two's,
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall.
Some hand in hand
And some gathered together in bands.
The bleeding hearts and artists
Make their stand.

And when they've given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it's not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall..."

Roger Waters - "Outside the Wall" / The Wall (Columbia Records 1979)


Although these words were not specifically written with the Berlin Wall in mind they capture the overall feeling of many people in the United States when the album for which this song was recorded, The Wall, was released in 1979. Throughout the decade of the 1980's, as the debate over the futility of the Cold War raged, the Berlin Wall stood as the symbol of all that seemed to be wrong in our world - the symbol of oppression and an uncertain future.  Finally succumbing to internal and external pressures, the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 after nearly 30 years in existence. The fall of the Berlin Wall marks a critical turning point in modern human history. This symbolic act simultaneously closed the door on one era of adverse global human interaction (Cold War period) and opened the door on another, apparently more positive one (comprehensive global economic inter-dependence).

My intention with this five (5) class period lesson is to explore, within the framework of an inquiry based methodology focusing on cause-and-effect relationships, how this symbolic act has affected today’s world as it pertains to the lives of my 8th grade United States History students . In addition to educating the students on factors that have affected their world moving forward, this lesson will also assist me in “setting the stage” for the progression of events leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall as we study United States history in a reverse chronological pattern.