This month, we got our first look at some of the prototypes for Donald Trump's Mexican wall, which have been rushed into production to stave off a pending fiscal deadline. Builders have tried their best to create “a fence that is impenetrable.... unscalable.” That is according to Roy Villarreal, acting patrol chief at the San Diego border. There's only one problem though, walls don't typically work, and the people who build them tend to be on the wrong side of history.
On October 17th, Trump tweeted out a video of what the proposed border wall will look like.
They… look like walls.
But before we go any deeper, let's take at look at the most famous wall in recent history – the Berlin Wall – which was built in 1961 and torn down in 1989.
Built by the Communist East Germany after World War II, the Wall was the physical manifestation of the Iron Curtain – that is, the physical and idealogical line that separated Soviet controlled states from the NATO states led by *guess who?* America.
East Germany was supposed to be a model Soviet state, but there was one big problem: the most well-educated Berliners – the lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc. – kept fleeing to democratic, capitalistic West Germany.
Faced with massive brain drain, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev finally relented to East Berlin’s requests to close the border, supposedly to “keep Western ‘fascists’ from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state.”
The resulting wall was 27 miles long, and its two portions sandwiched a “‘death strip’ up to 160 yards wide that contained hundreds of watchtowers, miles of anti-vehicle trenches, guard dog runs, floodlights and trip-wire machine guns.’
That didn't stop people from crossing, however.
The first escapee, 19-year-old East German border guard Corporal Conrad Schumann, jumped over a three foot high section of barbed wire two days into the wall’s construction. Another trio, the Bethke brothers, famously escaped separately over the course of a decade with a floating mattress, a steel cable attached to a bow and arrow, and a small plane, respectively.
All told, over 5,000 people crossed over and under the wall in the nearly thirty years it was in place.
But the Berlin Wall isn't the only recent wall that was famously destroyed.
Yes, Westoros’ Wall is fictional, as is the Night’s Watch that guards it, but here is another wall supposedly meant to keep undesirables out – the undesirables in this case being the wildlings, with whom the Seven Kingdoms have been warring against since time immemorial.