I have visited Germany several times – I lived there for about a month while a student (in the Moselle area) and briefly attended a Gymnasium school in the town of Ahrweiler, but have not yet been to Berlin, the capital. I have always had a good time in the country – the Rhineland is as impressive as the photos suggest – and this article by Tyler Cowen at his Marginal Revolution blog definitely makes me want to get on an aircraft and go there. I’d probably avoid it in the height of summer, though, not to mention the harsh Prussian winter.
Inevitably, when the name of Berlin comes up , it raises the issue of that palaver of 1939-45. Anthony Beevor’s book about the attack on Berlin in 1945 is a must-read. I remember there was an old guy who used to live in my parent’s village who was on pathfinders (Mosquitos) during WW2, and he played a part in the near-flattening of that city.
And of course, like many people of my generation, I vividly remember those scenes as beamed around the world of the Berlin Wall coming down, and imagining the joy of people in the East who were no longer treated like cattle in their own nation. I sometimes wish, naively, that there was more sense of shame among the hard left about its support for such a state of affairs. Let’s not forget that that overrated smart alec, JK Galbraith, made light of the wall and what it represented.