When you think about the Berlin Wall, you probably aren’t thinking a place that is typically “badass”. You’d be right to do so – a lot of prejudice and fascism went into the conception and realization of the Berlin Wall. But, that doesn’t mean some cool shit didn’t happen because of its existence. There were some epic moments involving a great escape by a bold man in a tank, some triumph of the human spirit, as well as a very angry Reagan smashing down the wall with the big hairy fist of American freedom.
Watch out, kids – this one’s going to be rugged. Keep reading to see why we here at VK Nagrani think that despite most of the evidence going for it, the Berlin Wall was actually a pretty badass place.
1. The Great Tank Escape
Wolfgang Engels (you can tell by his name that this dude is going to be a badass) was a new conscript in the East German army and was tasked to help set up the barbed wire perimeter fence that was at some point going to metastasize into what was later known as the Berlin Wall. As a native to Berlin, this was a particularly shitty job. He had to fence off half of his home town and essentially seal himself inside of it.
But, Wolfgang’s mama didn’t raise no punk, and after some quiet strategizing over homemade sauerkraut sandwiches, he came up with a daring plan to escape back to his side of the wall. The plan was pretty simple: hijack a tank and smash it right through the concrete and rebar structure.
He was a badass, not a genius.
After some snooping around, Wolfgang found that the super genius in charge of the fleet just left the keys inside the tank. During a parade showing off the big-swinging balls of East German military power, Wolfgang made his move and drove the tank straight through the wall! Although, he never did any preliminary running-the-tank-through-shit tests and the Berlin Wall fought back.
The tank didn’t clear the wall and Engels’ back end was in East Germany and his front was in the West. He hopped out of the tank to make his move on foot, but slipped and got caught in some barbed wire. He was shot in the back and laid there tangled in the rubble, but just as he thought his clock was punched, some brave West Germans came to his aid and pulled him to safety – and gave him asylum.
2. Reagan Smash!
The Berlin Wall came to be the symbol of Cold War-era Communism’s reach into the Western world. It was a unique representative of the violent and empty banality of post-war society. It came to be viewed as the singular ideal behind all human ineptitude during the time of the Cold War. And man, was it awesome to see Reagan call for Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!” It became an iconic speech that has been used as a reference point to rally in the end of the Cold War.
The Berlin Wall has been completely dismantled now and you can freely move from one side of the city to the other – without the fear of being harassed. But, there still is a monument in memory of the wall that details its dark history, lest we forget the circumstances that arose to call about its erection.
Keep reading to find more historical value in our Badass Places series at the VK Nagrani Blog.
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