Blockading Berlin on the Sports Field
As part of the Year 10 Cold War History elective, the students recreated the events of June 1948 in Berlin, East Germany, on the school’s sports field. Following 1948 maps, the students used colored witches’ hats to designate the French, British, American and Soviet sectors of the city, and colored sashes to outline the existing subway lines, then went and stood in their chosen part of the city.
On what would have been June 24th, 1948, some of the West Berliner students were at home or out and about in their sector of the city, but others were visiting friends or attending events in the Soviet eastern sector, and were expecting to take the subway home to West Berlin afterwards. Suddenly, the East Berliner students (in blue vests) decided to throw up a wall (of purple cones) cutting off West from East Berlin overnight, and they also spread out to completely surround West Berlin in their imaginary tanks, pointed in at the West Berliners. Duy and Nicholas were particularly scary. Those West Berliner students coming back from the eastern part of the city found their subway rides truncated when the communists in East Berlin cut off the sash subway lines at the Wall. At first, Soviet officer Liam wasn’t going to let them continue, but then he relented and lifted up the (imaginary) barbed wire and helped Alyssa and the others to climb through. They had to walk all the way home from there. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to organise the drones to simulate the ensuing American air lift of supplies in to the West Berliners, but maybe next time…
The students were able to understand how the Cold War powers agitated to protect their territory and influence, and how the world came perilously close to another war in 1948, based on competing political and economic ideologies.