Since it has resumed its role as capital of Germany, Berlin has enjoyed an extraordinary and intriguing aura. Formerly the crossroads of the Cold War, it has become a metropolitan city on the frontier of two Europes, halfway between London and Moscow. It has also become one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Compared to other European capitals, Berlin is one of the youngest and perhaps the most subject to the political and military fortunes of its home country and its cycles of defeats and rebirths. After World War I and the fall of the great Wilhelmine Empire, the city was able to renew itself in the Weimar Republic and become an artistically and culturally vital city. Reduced to a grim battlefield during Hitler’s last days, the city was rebuilt brick by brick. Actually, two distinct Berlins were rebuilt, one each for the Eastern and Western Republics, and they physically mirrored two ideologies and different facets of the national identity. Today, in a reunified Germany, Berlin’s strong and dynamic character reflects its history and simultaneously reaches out to the future.
Beda Romano is a journalist and writer who was the financial daily “Sole-24 Ore”’s correspondent from Germany (now from Brussels).
Sergio Romano is a historian, essayist and diplomat who has taught in several universities across the world.