IN TIMES GONE BY, cities built walls to keep their citizens safe from those Hungary who were considered to be dangerous outsiders. Walls limit the number of entry points, allowing goods to be taxed and visitors checked as they pass through a controlled Hungary gateway. We still build walls of one sort or another, Hungary though the construction may be mesh fences topped with razor wire, sea patrols augmented by aerial surveillance and intelligence, or computer software that blocks Hungary the theft of private information.
Where is Hungary? – Hungary Map – Map of Hungary Photo Gallery
Prisons and concentration camps have walls to keep people in but, in my lifetime, such barriers have also been erected to prevent the exit of whole populations. Those who are a bit older will think back to the Cold War when, as stated by the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his1946 Sinews of Peace speech (see chapter 19, ‘Up to date in Kansas City’), ‘From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe … and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.’
Events soon proved the great orator to be right. While, with the help of the Marshall Plan, Western Europe recovered from the devastation of the Second World War and became progressively more prosperous, the dead hand of totalitarianism limited enterprise and freedom in the Eastern countries for more than four decades. Many of the more adventurous seized any opportunity to leave. Nowhere was that more obvious than in the divided city of Berlin where the Western sector (controlled till 1949 by the occupying forces of France, the United States and the United Kingdom) was totally surrounded by the Russian-dominated German Democratic Republic.