I want to be clear up front; believe in the power of rock ‘n’ roll. It is a musical form that has moved generations, caused notable cultural, and world seismic shifts. But being equally clear; I find Erik Kirschbaum’s hypothesis, in the book Bruce Springsteen Rocking the Wall: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World, that Springsteen’s concert was the catalyst for bringing down the Berlin Wall absurd at best.
Kirschbaum, a U.S. born, Reuters correspondent based in Germany for more than two decades seems all too willing to ignore the world political tide at the time Springsteen’s historic, July 19, 1988 concert. Kirschbaum’s liberal panties show when he makes snide comments about conservatives and the impact they had on bringing about the end of the Cold War.
To discount the impact of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and even Pope John Paul II in bringing about a global change in Communist dominated countries from Russia to East Germany and Poland is to ignore reality. Springsteen’s record breaking concert crowd, with estimates of upwards of 300,000 East German’s, was not the cause of freedom, but a symbol of what freedom could bring.
Anyone who has ever been involved in organizing a huge, outdoor, event knows all of the details involved in pulling together so many moving parts that it often seems an insurmountable task. Kirschbaum’s book does offer interesting insight into what had to be a monolithic effort that went into pulling off this historic concert.