Back to walls. I still vividly remember Ronald Reagan contemplating the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987, imploring, ”Mr. Gorbatschow, tear down this wall!" Note pre-Merkel Chancellor Helmut Kohl as usual grinning, this time in the background.
In 2019 another wall has emerged as a protagonist of world history, as a symbol of the struggle for humanity and freedom with POTUS demanding, "This barrier is absolutely critical to border security."
|This is how German cartoonist Klaus Stuttmann© "saw" POTUS on television|
Since Mexico will pay for it Democrats see no reason to yield to the president’s demand for 5.7 billion U$ to finance "his" wall. Subsequently, POTUS refused to raise the US debt ceiling thus forcing his government into a shutdown. Government institutions stopped working and their employees are no longer paid. As a tourist, I once lived through a shutdown in Wahington, DC, in 2013.
POTUS is desperately trying to fulfill his campaign pledge where he promised to build a 1,000-mile concrete southern border wall. Now he calls the wall whatever you like a steel barrier, sometimes even a fence (wooden?), although he has frequently rejected suggestions that it is just a fence.
In an interview Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer mentioned a wall of 20 feet high, but as historic examples show it is more important how deep a wall reaches into the ground in order to fight a technique called tunneling.
Since the ancient times, people have dug tunnels to “undercome” walls. Here as an example is what the French troops under the command of General Louis Hector de Villars achieved during the siege of Freiburg in October 1706. Mineurs* (sappers) approached the city in approches* (covered ditches) until they were in reach of the wall when they started to dig tunnels. After having filled the tunnel stub with gun powder and igniting the fuse they hoped for a breche* (breach) in the wall.
*note that all those military terms are French
|French mineurs approaching Freiburg's walls from the west in 1706.|
The fortifications were built by the famous French architect Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban
thirty years earlier.
|Built escape tunnels are marked in red|
|These were long tunnels of about 50 meters (©Onetz.de)|