Berit Watkin

In 1989, the Berlin wall was dismantled and by the next year, Germany was once again one country.  That meant consolidating East and West Germany, and often the West’s laws and culture prevailed over those of the East.

University of Oklahoma International Studies professor Rebecca Cruise is an expert on Eastern Europe.

Germany's Fascination With Native American Culture

Dec 3, 2014

Last month marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The University of Oklahoma held a symposium commemorating the event. Guest speakers came from around the world to lecture about their specific knowledge base around the fall of the Berlin Wall. Assignment: Radio’s Hayley Thornton attended expecting to learn about a culture on another continent. Instead she learned about German’s fascination with a culture closer to home.

Berlin Wall
Will Palmer / Flickr Creative Commons

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, surprising not only Germans but people across the world. There were certain signs that change was occurring, but few, if any, predicted the speed at which change, in the form of re-unification, would come to Germany.

University of Oklahoma Professor of Political Science and International and Area Studies, Mitchell Smith was a graduate student doing field research in Germany during the spring of 1989. During a visit to Berlin that April, he saw small signs of change, but nothing that suggested the monumental shift that would occur.

Rebecca Cruise explains why Russia's ouster from the Group of Eight industrialized nations is mostly symbolic with little consequence, and Joshua Landis discusses the implications of the murder convictions of more than 500 supporters of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Later, a conversation with political scientist Fevzi Bilgin about allegations against Turkey’s prime minister, and political instability ahead of Sunday's local elections.

President Vladimir Putin opens an afternoon plenary session at Konstantinovsky Palace during the G20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013.
Pete Souza / The White House

Earlier this week, the Group of Eight industrialized nations said they would suspend participation until Russia “changes course.” The move by the G7 nations is aimed at isolating Moscow as punishment for its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, says the statement is primarily symbolic, with few long-term effects.

Earlier this week anti-American protests in Iran marked 34 years since the storming of the Embassy in Tehran, and the start of the 18-month hostage crisis. Suzette Grillot talks about the anniversary with Joshua Landis, who also provides a brief update on Saudi Arabia's frustration with the U.S. over Syria.

Later, a conversation with Boston University modern European historian Jonathan Zatlin. He says parts of Europe's debt crisis can be explained by religious tension between the Protestant North and the Catholic South.

Raphaël Thiémard / Flickr Creative Commons

Allied powers divided war-torn Germany into four zones of occupation after World War II, with three of those zones uniting in 1949 to form what became known as West Germany.

The Soviet Union controlled the fourth zone, and East Germany remained within the Eastern Bloc’s sphere of influence for the next four decades.

Boston University modern European historian Jonathan Zatlin says the divided nation served as a tripwire for all the tensions of the Cold War, and that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin worried a united Germany posed a security risk.

Voice of America / Wikimedia Commons

Internet users worried about their personal information being intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies should stop using websites that send data to the United States, Germany's top security official said Wednesday.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich also said German officials are in touch with their U.S. counterparts "on all levels" and a delegation is scheduled to fly to Washington next week to discuss the claims that ordinary citizens — and even European diplomats — were being spied upon by the NSA.

Suzette Grillot, the Dean of the University of Oklahoma's College of International Studies, says what Snowden has revealed goes beyond normal intelligence gathering and turned into a major international incident.

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

Hundreds gathered Friday morning at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to mark the 18th anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Hans and Torrey Butzer, along with their partner Sven Berg, designed the Outdoor Symbolic Portion of the memorial while living in Berlin in 1997. As Americans living in Germany, Hans Butzer says that blended environment guided their artistic vision for the project.