"The impulse to preserve or to destroy--whether motivated by nostalgia, desire for prestige or for legitimacy, or even economics--reflects deep seated beliefs about historical identity. "
The wall was as culturally divisive as it was physical. The somber “grayness” of the Soviet Bloc that influenced East Berlin existed in sharp contrast to the counterculture movement of the West. With these two distinct schools of thinking, ways of living, and interpretations of the wall, it becomes incredibly difficult to decide what is true German history.
Prior to reading this section, I hadn’t considered how much of the history we consider fact is really just up to interpretation. What the Berlin Wall, the "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart,” if you prefer, represented differed widely based on perspective. I think it would be fascinating to listen to testimony from either side, to look for the similarities and differences in the meaning they took from the Mauer. The duality of the wall is something Ladd discusses, referring to it as both a symbol of division within the country but also representation of a unified German identity. How the wall was incorporated into the German national identity when compared to the identities on either side of the wall would also be worth looking at.
Ladd also compares Berlin, the “city that never forgets,” to New York, a dynamic place unburdened by the past. When combing the extracts from Ghosts with Matthew Sparke’s discussion of globalization, I think an interesting question emerges: to what extent does the increasingly global nature of commerce, healthcare, technology, etc., influence the “selective memory” of historical preservation? Does the interconnectedness of today’s world encourage a “best foot forward” mentality? I would like to consider this perspective as we delve further into the changing landscape of Berlin.