Professor White went to Berlin for a meeting from June 11-13 of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Senior Budget Officials. He was invited to give a presentation on “The Challenge of Budgeting for Health Care Programs,” based on work he has done for an OECD project on the topic.
Berlin, as one could learn from Professor Ledford’s Maymester
course, is a fascinating city. As European capitals go it is a new city, becoming a major capital only in the 18th century and a major city only in the 19th. It has crammed a lot of history into a short time –
Prussia, the unification of Germany, Germany’s rise as an empire, its defeat in the first World War, the rise of Hitler and the holocaust, conquest and division, the Wall, and then reunification. So there are contrasts among the imperial residue (the grand buildings of Museum Island and boulevard of Unter den Linden), the Nazi survivals (including the old Luftwaffe headquarters in which the meeting was held),
the drabness of East Germany, the prosperity of West Germany, the efforts to preserve memory, and endless construction. Paris is almost seamless; Berlin is a jumble of contradictions. The currywurst stand, pictured on the left, is across the street from the building where the meeting was held. The building’s history is explained on the plaque.
The fourth picture is of the Brandenburg Gate. It was not used for many years, as it was on the border between West and East. It was built in the late 18th-century as a grand entrance to the Prussian city. At the time of Joe’s visit, the area just to the west of it had been transformed into the “Hyundai Fan Park”, an outdoor viewing area for broadcasts of the German team’s world cup games.