When I was younger, we would wonder aloud amonst each other how countries and peoples who were on the losing side of wars and disagreements would teach them in school. How did the South teach the Civil War? What did they say about Hitler in Germany? When someone is “wrong” how do they say that to the younger generation?
But the world isn’t that black and white. There is not always wrong and right in the moment of decision, only what looks right from what you can see of the near future. It is only now that I am here in Berlin that I am able to get the proper perspective to see how these things happen.
In the United States, we teach our own perspecive. We see how World War I leads to the Golden 20’s and the stock market crash brings on the Great Depression. We can clearly see how the United States enters World War II, but it is foggy to us the idea of why the war began to begin with. How the rest of the world also had this progression of World War I, the 20’s, the stock market, and the Great Depression.
A more grown up and (I hope) wiser version of me is beginning to understand how a country can be so willing to try anything to return to normal. After the great depression, the German government was in shambles, opening the door for a new political group, the third reich, to come to power. No one ever told little me how desperate people were for change and how good Hitler was as convincing people that things were going to be better under his command.
Being here in Berlin, I am able to see more clearly how these transitions happened. I have begun to humanize the past, seeing anew the ways that history changes a place, a nation, a people. Here, representing fourteen countries all around the world, I see how history changes the culture and the ways of living. We are all so different, but we are still all the same.