No city had more momentous events in the 20th century than Berlin.
Clive James Postcard from Berlin is from 1995. It is a city in flux. Berlin is united and half the city is adjusting from its communist past.
What was once the West German government is pumping money to rebuild East Berlin.
Clive drives around in a Trabant. A symbol of East Germany's car manufacturing industry. This program is worth seeing just for Clive's florid language in describing a Trabant. The car had three speeds to help you go through the Berlin Wall and reverse, to go back when you failed.
It is clear Clive was no fan of communism and when he visits the eastern part he looks at the horrid concrete monstrosities in Karl Marx Allee in disgust. A long road that took you straight to Poland.
The program itself has historical perspective. Clive went just at the right time, six years after the wall fell and the whole places was a gigantic building site. Berlin of today is so different from the Berlin Clive visited 25 years ago.
I visited Berlin a few years ago and noted the changes. Checkpoint Charlie is a grubby tourist trap surrounded by fast food outlets and shops. When Clive visited it was just a grubby tourist trap.
When I admired the historical buildings in Berlin, I could not help wondering. Blimey the Allied troops really did a bad job bombing Berlin. They left all these old buildings intact!
Berlin was bombed to smithereens in World War 2. The historical buildings are new. Those giant cranes that Clive saw above him. They were rebuilding Berlin and its history.
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