Page 151. " There were many bunkers in the GDR, for the Stasi to save themselves in and repopulate the earth - if they remembered to take any women with them. "

This film gives a tour of one such bunker, just north of Berlin. It was opened to the public for just three months in 2008 and has since been sealed with concrete. As the tour guide says, "you can really feel the danger and the fear from that time". More information is available here and, for a more in-depth tour, watch this DW-TV film:

Page 153. " Herr Christian's job here was to hunt out the cars which might have stowaway East Germans in them trying to escape. "

This article from Spiegel Online reports on the destruction of the service station at Michendorf in 2008, to make way for motorway expansion, despite attempts by locals to save the historic site.

Page 160. " Immediately after the war ended the Allies divided up their conquered enemy. "

Page 160. " massive injections of funds from the Americans' Marshall Plan "
The Marshall Plan (officially called the European Recovery Program) was the United States' plan for rebuilding the countries of Western Europe after World War II. As well as rebuilding physically, The Marshall Plan also aimed to strengthen the economic foundations of these countries, and prevent future Communist activity. It was named after Secretary of State George Marshall, who gave a speech expressing his desire to assist the recovery in June 1947.
Page 161. " In Dresden once, on a blue bridge over the river Elbe, I saw a plaque commemorating the liberation of the East Germans from their Nazi oppressors by their brothers the Russians. "

The 'Blue Wonder' Bridge, Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe 'Blue Wonder' Bridge, Dresden, Saxony, Germany - Credit: Stefan Kühn

The Blue Wonder
is the popular name for the Loschwitz Bridge, completed in 1893. Though locally loved, the name is a pun: ein blaues Wunder erleben means 'to experience a nasty surprise'.

Page 165. " In late 1946 the Communists founded the Junge Pioniere, a youth organisation designed to instil in young children a love of Marx and country. "
For a gloriously nostalgic look at the Junge Pioniere, this film combines the anthem Wir Tragen die Blaue Fahne with a montage of images – a fine example of the power of propaganda. The logo 'Seid Bereit' translates as 'Be Ready' – just one of the elements that has drawn comparisons with the scouting movement.

Page 165. " For the older ones the Free German Youth was established. The scheme mirrored exactly the Nazis' Pimpfe for small children and the Hitler Youth for adolescents. "

Celebrating the founding of the Berlin FDJ in Friedrichstadtpalast on 2 November 1947 – note the FDJ emblem on a banner behind the children
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCelebrating the founding of the Berlin FDJ in Friedrichstadtpalast on 2 November 1947 – note the FDJ emblem on a banner behind the children - Credit: Kolbe
The Free German Youth was known in Germany as the FDJ, the Freie Deutsche Jugend. This photograph shows the founding of the FDJ in Berlin on 2 November 1947 – children line up in front of a banner showing the FDJ emblem.

This piece on Spiegel Online reports on the recent re-emergence of the FDJ.


See the propagandist leaflet and read more about the history of the 'Stop the American Beetle' campaign here.

Page 169. " I find myself looking away, and the girly calendar catches my eye. It can't meet my gaze because its head is cut off. I look at its map of Tasmania in the forest. "

Unfamiliar with Tasmanian geography? This map might clarify the joke...

Google Map


Page 172. " The Wall has been erased so quickly that there is hardly a trace of it in the streets. Only a small part of the most colourful section remains, like a gaudy headstone. "

Dmitri Vrubel's painting of Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev, part of the East Side Gallery
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDmitri Vrubel's painting of Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev, part of the East Side Gallery - Credit: Joachim F. Thurn
This colourful section of remaining wall has been preserved as the East Side Gallery. As the official website says: 'The Berlin Wall East Side Gallery is a 1.3km-long section of the wall near the center of Berlin. Approximately 106 paintings by artists from all over the world cover this memorial for freedom and make it the largest open air gallery in the world.'

This satirical painting – showing Erich Honecker and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in an amorous embrace – has become one of the most famous images on the wall, indeed in the whole of Germany. There is some debate over whether the remaining sections of the wall should continue to be conserved and repaired. The original of this painting by Russian Dmitri Vrubel was, in fact, completely destroyed, much to the artist's anger.