History, the Concatenation of Human Experiences

Feb 3rd, 2012
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Tufts University
Course: history
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In June 1961, I left Berlin, Germany, with my parents, my sister, and my Swedish cousin enroute to Sweden for what was to be two weeks of Scandinavian fun. The Russian soldiers who processed us through the checkpoints were impeccably dressed in jodhpurs and the shiniest black riding boots I had ever seen. It was obvious they had been carefully selected for this job, which entailed a goodly measure of public relations; the Communists displayed only their best. The soldiers were not only good looking and efficient, processing our papers quickly; on that day they were noticeably relaxed, with genuine smiles on their faces. A week earlier than planned, my family returned to Berlin, driving through the same checkpoints. This time the atmosphere was tense. There were no smiles. Passports and other papers were scrutinized slowly, creating long delays, much to our discomfort.

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