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Stories Without BordersThe Berlin Wall and the Making of a Global Iconic Event$
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Julia Sonnevend

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190604301

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190604301.001.0001

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(p.99) 6 Counter-narration
Stories Without Borders

Julia Sonnevend

Oxford University Press

The chapter examines the narrative that the East German and Soviet party-controlled press and television constructed for the East German border opening between the accidental day of November 9, 1989, and the ceremonial day of December 22, 1989 (the opening of the Brandenburg Gate). The chapter argues that the East German and Soviet media framed November 9, 1989, as an undistinguished moment in a complex, deliberate, and continuous reform process. Instead of a unique and dramatic event, a stand-alone item, the “new travel regulation” was presented as part of a chain of occurrences. This counter-narrative was no less accurate than the Western coverage; it may in fact have been more accurate. The “Eastern” coverage did not strip the border opening from its larger social, political, and cultural context. Instead, the coverage kept the border opening embedded in a broader web of social actions and political circumstances.

Keywords:   counter-narrative, narrative, East German, Soviet, fall of the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall

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