Freshman US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) drew a parallel between President Trump's long-promised border wall and the barrier that divided Berlin in the last century — but plenty of people said she was missing out on some important details.
"No matter how you feel about the wall, I think it's a moral abomination," Ocasio-Cortez said of Trump's plans for a barrier on the US-Mexico border during a livestream.
"I think it's like the Berlin Wall. I think it's like any other wall designed to separate human beings and block out people who are running away from the humanitarian disasters. I just think it's wrong," she added.
Her remarks drew attention on Twitter, with many users saying that, simply put, the Berlin Wall was designed to keep people in, while the Mexico wall would keep them out.
Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) says the wall is “a moral abomination. I think it’s like the Berlin wall”— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) 18 февраля 2019 г.
The Berlin wall was built to stop East Germans from escaping into West Germany
The goal of the border wall is to stop illegal immigration and trafficking pic.twitter.com/MbFWitkFBi
Rulers wanted the Berlin Wall to keep the people from escaping. US voters want the Trump wall to keep the border of their beloved country secure
— Sax (@OllieSax) 18 февраля 2019 г.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) 19 февраля 2019 г.
@AOC Berlin Wall? Do you have any idea what the history of the Berlin wall is about. Do YOU know history?
— Mike Houston (@rhouston6) 19 февраля 2019 г.
The lack of understanding of historical context is astonishingly dangerous and reckless.— De McDonald (@WriteBrainMedia) 18 февраля 2019 г.
Following World War II, the four victors — the USSR, Britain, the United States and France — divided Germany and its capital into four occupation sectors.
Sectors under Western control were incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949; the move was followed by the creation of the German Democratic Republic later that year. West Berlin, which was located deep inside the USSR-controlled territory, remained under the control of the Western powers. Its citizens could reach the rest of West Germany via road, rail and air.
In 1949-1961, when the border between West and East Berlin was still open, more than 2.7 million people fled the GDR and East Berlin. In 1960 alone, nearly 200,000 East Germans moved to the West.
The USSR and the West clashed over the status of the German capital city. In November 1958, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev demanded that the Western powers withdraw their forces from West Berlin within six months, so that Berlin could be made a free, demilitarised city. After the allies refused to meet his demands, a three-year political crisis broke out, resulting in the erection of the Berlin Wall by East Germany in 1961.
Although stringent measures were put in place to curb illegal border crossings, people still found ways through, including sewage pipes and secret underground tunnels.
Between 1961 and 1989, at least 136 people were killed or died at the GDR border: 98 people were shot and killed while attempting to climb the wall, 30 people who had no intention of fleeing were shot dead or died in accidents, and eight GDR border guards were killed while on duty. In addition, 251 people, both from the East and West, were killed at Berlin checkpoints before, during or after a border crossing.
On November 9, 1989, the GDR government lifted travel restrictions between East and West Berlin. The wall was eventually demolished; the last piece of the original border fortifications remains standing and has been made part of a popular memorial.