Germans do not think the world is safer since the Berlin Wall fell

November 11, 2014, 9:28 AM GMT+0

Germans are less likely than British people to feel the world is safer or better than it was before the Berlin wall came down

Tens of thousands of people celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall on Sunday, as 8,000 helium balloons were released and revellers enjoyed a “citizen’s party” at the Brandenburg Gate. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said "We can change things for the better. This is the message for... Ukraine, Iraq and other places where human rights are threatened. The fall of the Wall showed us that dreams can come true. Nothing has to stay as it is."

New YouGov research in Germany and Britain, however, finds that Germans are far less confident that the world has improved since the symbolic end of the Cold War.

Only 22% of Germans say the world is better since the wall fell, while 36% feel it has become more dangerous. In Britain, 35% feel the world is safer, and only 16% think the world has become more dangerous. Germans are also more likely to say there has been no change at all (38% compared to 27% of British people).

Attending the event at the Brandenburg gate, former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev warned that “The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some are even saying that it’s already begun”. Germans believe it has, by 45-33%, while British people lean the other way, by 41-25%.

Gorbachev’s ‘perestroika’ (restructuring) and ‘glasnost’ (openness) reforms in the 1980s introduced profound changes in economics and both domestic and international practice, ultimately spelling the end of the Soviet Union. At the Berlin event he said he was “absolutely convinced that Putin protects Russia’s interests better than anyone else.” Adding that failure to achieve security in Europe would make the continent irrelevant in world affairs.

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