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Old December 11th, 2017, 02:07 PM   #16341
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yeah, but I reckon these ghost stations are operated nowadays, don't they?
Since when were them able to be reached from Eastern Berlin?
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Old December 11th, 2017, 03:49 PM   #16342
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yeah, but I reckon these ghost stations are operated nowadays, don't they?
Since when were them able to be reached from Eastern Berlin?
Some of them in November 1989, only a few days after the fall of the wall - having passport checks in the station. Most of them 1 July 1990, when the inner German border became officially open.
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Old December 11th, 2017, 05:27 PM   #16343
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As an interesting aside, in 1990 - you could (as a Polish citizen) go to the DDR visa free, and by extension, into West Berlin because of the lack of controls performed by West Berlin police on the inner-Berlin border. But even after the economic union on July 1st 1990, Polish citizens still needed a visa for West Germany despite the lack of physical border controls.

What made the situation even stranger was that in September 1990 while East Germany still existed, West German federal border guards took over the job of guarding the external DDR borders.

But going back to the time before the border controls ended - they were still quite strict on non-German citizens. For instance, if you were from the UK and went to West Berlin by air, then decided to cross the Berlin border illegally (there were plenty of unofficial crossing points that didn't have passport controls) - you would be in trouble if you tried to go to Poland without having a DDR entry stamp.

They stopped caring after the treaty on economic union was agreed in May 1990, but as the video from April 1990 shows, they were relaxed but still doing their job at that point.
If you were a Westerner it was very easy to go to DDR and all communist countries like Hungary but the otherwise was not true.
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Old December 11th, 2017, 05:47 PM   #16344
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Some of them in November 1989, only a few days after the fall of the wall - having passport checks in the station. Most of them 1 July 1990, when the inner German border became officially open.
Only three opened before economic unification - Jannowitzbrücke and Rosenthaler Platz with border controls, while Bernauer Strasse opened with the exit straight to West Berlin so no controls were required.

https://www.wir-waren-so-frei.de/ind...object_id/2181 shows how it looked at Jannowitzbrücke.
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Old December 11th, 2017, 06:13 PM   #16345
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If you were a Westerner it was very easy to go to DDR and all communist countries like Hungary but the otherwise was not true.
We still required to get the visa in advance and some other burocracy, it wasn't as easy as travelling between Italy and Austria (or even Yugoslavia), but it was perfectly doable with some planning.
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In real life, electronic toll collection was first introduced in Bergen, Norway in 1986, and well into the 21th century many countries still struggle to implement it.
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Old December 11th, 2017, 07:55 PM   #16346
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For the westerners like for example Italians was very easy because they had big standards of living, unlike the communist states and also the language barrier in the communist countries only Russian was taught.

I think @Kpc21 was explaining here about the low cost of living in Poland compared to that of the west so that was one of the reason why no one ever considered traveling there.

In SFRY we had many tourists for the sea vacation in summer even in 70's and 80's. It was different.
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Old December 12th, 2017, 12:11 AM   #16347
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We still required to get the visa in advance and some other burocracy, it wasn't as easy as travelling between Italy and Austria (or even Yugoslavia), but it was perfectly doable with some planning.
This is where East Germany was a bit odd, as you could just go to East Berlin with a day visa and extend it when in the country. But then, you didn't have that much choice as to where you could go and stay, unlike in Poland for example where controls on tourists (except during martial law) were far less. Poland in the 1970's was quite popular with Polish-American visitors, for example.

I seem to remember that Yugoslavia only started getting insane in the 1980's when Yugoslavs had to deposit a certain amount of cash as a 'deposit' before crossing the border. They could only get the money back after a year, while inflation was running wild and so the money decreased in value by 20-25%.
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Old December 12th, 2017, 02:04 AM   #16348
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For the westerners like for example Italians was very easy because they had big standards of living, unlike the communist states and also the language barrier in the communist countries only Russian was taught.
In Poland, definitely not only Russian was taught (maybe it also depends on the era; basically, in the Stalin times the regime was very strict and then it was getting looser and looser), as some people older than me were telling me that they had some English classes in high school... Although maybe the thing was, when they went to high school, it was already after 1989. But still, for example, my grandma was telling me she had some basic course of French at school, and it was much earlier (although the only she remembers are some very basic words like "bonjour" or "merci" and that French is difficult because the pronunciation differs very much from how you write the words - still, for me personally, it's much more logical than in English).

But the level of teaching those other foreign languages was low and if they were taught, it was usually too short to get any knowledge of the language that would be useful in practice.

That doesn't mean, there were no courses organized by external institutions - for sure there were, how otherwise could those who actually needed that learn them? But learning western languages was not so popular as now, since now it's very needed on the job market. It's much, much easier to find any job now in Poland if you can communicate in English, compared with if you can't. But before 1989 it did not matter at all, so people did not study foreign languages unless they really needed to (like those working in science, in international trade or in politics).

And Russian was obligatory to teach on all the school levels. But, for example, again according to what grandma explained, she had very little Russian at school because of... lack of the teacher.

As for now, I don't really understand WHY the eastern money was practically not recognized in the West, while the western money was very well recognized (and worth much more than the local money) in the East.

WHY were similar goods (not only food, but also e.g. locally produced consumer electronics) so much cheaper here rather than in the West, even though the quality was, of course, lower, but not much lower, and still much higher than plenty of the currently produced electronics with planned lifetime. And why this doesn't end up in avalanche of import of our stuff in the West (even though the eastern countries had very much interest in exporting goods to the West, as they were always missing western money for things like imported components for the produced equipment).
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Old December 12th, 2017, 05:43 AM   #16349
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Originally Posted by Eulanthe View Post
As an interesting aside, in 1990 - you could (as a Polish citizen) go to the DDR visa free, and by extension, into West Berlin because of the lack of controls performed by West Berlin police on the inner-Berlin border. But even after the economic union on July 1st 1990, Polish citizens still needed a visa for West Germany despite the lack of physical border controls.
That's comparable to the present situation with Russia and Belarus. There is no physical inspection at their shared border, but foreign visitors (unless exempt) still need visas for each of them separately and would get in trouble if simply crossing into one country from the other without holding both visas.

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What made the situation even stranger was that in September 1990 while East Germany still existed, West German federal border guards took over the job of guarding the external DDR borders.
This also has some present-day analogue: Swiss border guards monitoring the "external" (i.e. Austrian) border of Liechtenstein.

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They stopped caring after the treaty on economic union was agreed in May 1990, but as the video from April 1990 shows, they were relaxed but still doing their job at that point.
It was an interesting and historically unique transition phase
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Old December 12th, 2017, 10:37 AM   #16350
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Originally Posted by Kpc21 View Post
As for now, I don't really understand WHY the eastern money was practically not recognized in the West, while the western money was very well recognized (and worth much more than the local money) in the East.

WHY were similar goods (not only food, but also e.g. locally produced consumer electronics) so much cheaper here rather than in the West, even though the quality was, of course, lower, but not much lower, and still much higher than plenty of the currently produced electronics with planned lifetime. And why this doesn't end up in avalanche of import of our stuff in the West (even though the eastern countries had very much interest in exporting goods to the West, as they were always missing western money for things like imported components for the produced equipment).
This is very easy to answer. For the same reason why customs exist (protection of domestic goods from the foreign competition/gaining advantage through price-dumping).
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Old December 12th, 2017, 01:24 PM   #16351
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.

It is funny, because in some extend, the English language was taught as well. I remember that my classmates at high school were given English textbooks from soviet era.

Amusing were the dialogues within exercises I bet that had never ever happened, like the English conversation as follows:

- Hi, have you already decided where to spend your summer holiday?
- No, not yet. I cant choose between Crimea and the Socialists Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. What about you?
- I am going to spend a summer around the Soviet Union, especially in Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad and by the Bajkal lake.

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Old December 12th, 2017, 01:59 PM   #16352
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Originally Posted by Kpc21 View Post
WHY were similar goods (not only food, but also e.g. locally produced consumer electronics) so much cheaper here rather than in the West, even though the quality was, of course, lower, but not much lower, and still much higher than plenty of the currently produced electronics with planned lifetime. And why this doesn't end up in avalanche of import of our stuff in the West (even though the eastern countries had very much interest in exporting goods to the West, as they were always missing western money for things like imported components for the produced equipment).
My personal opinion is that the lack of competition in satellite states had made only one available product for many categories being the best on the market. And also I think that the communists used to copy many electronics from the West like for example washing machines.
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Old December 12th, 2017, 02:47 PM   #16353
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Extraterritorial areas of the Holy See in and around Rome. These enclaves are part of Italy (unlikely the Vatican City), but are administrated by the Holy See. They include buildings hosting significant Catholic institutions.

https://www.openstreetmap.org/relati...1.8969/12.4846
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In real life, electronic toll collection was first introduced in Bergen, Norway in 1986, and well into the 21th century many countries still struggle to implement it.
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Old December 12th, 2017, 05:24 PM   #16354
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Sorry for contributing to off-topic, but I have found "the reading exercises in English" book from 1980

just read the chapter titles, especially the Chapter VI



But, to be frank, there were many textbooks without political propaganda Most of them written by decent Czechoslovak teachers with English roots.
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Old December 12th, 2017, 11:35 PM   #16355
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Sorry for contributing to off-topic, but I have found "the reading exercises in English" book from 1980
...
Charles Marx, no kidding!

Anyway, thank you for posting it.
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Old December 13th, 2017, 12:43 AM   #16356
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They were damn right! Imperialist and evil (ups) Americans... A real threat to humanity or to the communism maybe?

But that propaganda was eyed on the west in general......
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Brexit is a disaster for Europe because of the English language itself!

The Western Balkans is already in Europe i.e., it is in the heart of Europe and all of these nations want and deserve to have the same chance,
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Old December 13th, 2017, 01:56 AM   #16357
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My personal opinion is that the lack of competition in satellite states had made only one available product for many categories being the best on the market. And also I think that the communists used to copy many electronics from the West like for example washing machines.
Well, about the copying, they were usually doing it legally, by buying a licence from a western manufacturer. This way we had Polski Fiat 126p (and 125p), for example - but also many consumer electronics items.

However, they were typically of lower quality than the original western ones. One reason was that the quality control wasn't so strict, and also the items of the highest quality were chosen for the export instead of being available on the local "market", another one is that often western components had to be replaced with (in our case) Polish or Soviet ones, which were also of lower quality. And they were less technologically advanced, which is quite obvious, as buying a licence for something very modern would be simply too expensive.

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But, to be frank, there were many textbooks without political propaganda Most of them written by decent Czechoslovak teachers with English roots.
In high school (in the years 2010-2013), I was sometimes using the physics textbooks for high schools from 1970s and 1980s. Because they were simply very good, written using language which was easy to understand, and contained almost all the material we needed for our end-of-high-school exams. And they contained no political propaganda Although I have seen some geography high school textbooks from those times, and there was some propaganda there. Of course, not so much as in this Czechoslovak English textbook But there were some words of criticism against the "rotten imperialist economy" in the US in the chapter about the social-economic geography of North America, for example.

There were also, for example, some events which were not discussed and practically forbidden on history lessons, like the Katyń crime, in which Soviets, in the beginnings of the WW2, murdered very much of the Polish intelligentsia.

And about the geography... again in high school, on the geography class, once we needed to work with world atlases for a moment, but the problem was that almost nobody brought an atlas with him. So the teacher gave away some very old atlases to us, which he found in a cupboard in the geography classroom And told us to take them with us after the class and to throw them away to the waste container next to the school. I took two with me, and I didn't throw them away. I am not really getting his idea. Maybe the political maps are no longer up to date in a big part (considering it, those atlases could now be used as historical atlases on history lessons ), but the physical maps, or those of natural resources, did not become outdated... They could still be used.

The physical condition of some of those atlases was not very good, but they still could be used.

----

I found them. They are from 1955! So, old indeed! And even though they have quite a lot loose pages, they are still not unusable.

But... there are still colonies in Africa in it! And Guyana in South America also has parts being British, Dutch and French colonies (the current countries of Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana). Quite a big part of Africa is simply marked as "French Western Africa" and "French Equatorial Africa".

What's also interesting... Korea is marked as a single country... But Germany is too.

Considering politics, there is a part with all the maps of Soviet Union, or a physical map entitled "European Countries of People's Democracy". "By accident" it incorporates also Austria (well, they didn't really have any other choice, it's not a fault of Austria that it is located where it is), but also whole current Germany. The division into the German Federal Republic and German Democratic Republic is marked with a thin line, as a kind of administrative border (however, such a line was drawn only in Germany).

There is also an equivalent political map. And... in most countries, the division into administrative regions is marked, but in Germany, it is marked in East Germany only, and it's also not marked at all in Yugoslavia - there is no division between the republics at all. Even though it is in the USSR.

But, for balance, there is also a map entitled "Western Europe". But there is no detailed political and economical maps. Same with Scandinavia and with the Southern Europe. There is, however, under the physical map of British Isles, a map of the British possessions around the world. For North America, there is a map with natural resources of the continent, and there is also a detailed physical map of the US, with the division into states marked - so the US was treated quite neutrally.
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Old December 13th, 2017, 05:12 PM   #16358
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My personal opinion is that the lack of competition in satellite states had made only one available product for many categories being the best on the market. And also I think that the communists used to copy many electronics from the West like for example washing machines.
Japanese copied, too, but they understood what the term "quality" means.

In fact, even computers were copied. The Soviet ES EVM series were a direct copy from IBM System/360. Even the design of the front panel was copied:


ES EVM


IBM S/360

I was a member in a student group to make a visit in Minsk in early 1980's. We visited the computer center of a local university, and the staff proudly presented their ES devices. There was a pile of paper on the table, and the very first lines showed in uppercase COPYRIGHT (C) BY INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES.

I asked, with the help of the translator, if the design of those computers had any influence from the Western countries. The professor turned white then green and finally red, and responded: "Absolutely no. The machines are 100% designed and built by the engineers from the Socialist Countries."

Because of the tone of the voice of the response, I refrained from making any further questions. I did not want to risk my return home.

Russians copied the PDP-11 boxes too, and named then SM-4. A few of those were exported to Finland to balance the bilateral trade. One of them was given to the Helsinki University of Technology. The Bulgarian disks were just useless, but after changing them to western ones, the computer worked pretty well. We even acquired an official BSD Unix license, and that was said to be the first official Unix license on a Soviet-made hardware. Changing the disks caused some handwork, because adapters were needed: The boxes were almost compatible but not plug-compatible. The Russian plugs were based on "metric inches" and did not fit into the American ones.
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Old December 13th, 2017, 07:43 PM   #16359
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Gordie Howe Bridge

The planned Gordie Howe Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.

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Old December 13th, 2017, 08:55 PM   #16360
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Here is something about is ES EVM series of computers. They were supposed to be constructed as compatible with IBM/360 in order to be compatible with each other. Why did they choose IBM/360? Probably simply because it was good.

In Poland, we produced R-32, which was also a part of this series:



As Polish Wikipedia says:
Quote:
The R-32 computer was an original Polish construction based on the logic architecture of the IBM 360 model 50 computer. Built by Polish engineers in the TTL technology, it was characterized by its exceptionally small size for its times. Compared with the original IBM 360/50, it was almost four times smaller.
The last unit was still in use at the beginning of the 21st century in one of the factories in Poland. And the Polish R-32 was the most efficient of the ES EVM series computers.

The production of processors and I/O devices was divided between the Comecon countries. Poland produced: R-32 processors (later R-34, a clone of the IBM 3031), PTD communications controllers (a copy of IBM 3705), Mera 7904/5 terminal systems (copy of the Swedish STANSABA, IBM 3270 compatible), DW3 printers and PT-3/PT-5 magnetic tape storage devices.

But we also developed a long and successful series of original Polish mainframe computers - Odra (named by the river on the German-Polish border). I mean, some were produced on license, but some were original Polish constructions. Also after the release of the R-32, which was simply a realization of the "agreements" with the USSR.

The Polish computer industry finished its existence when the Elwro company from Wrocław was sold to Siemens, which shut it down in order to get rid of the competition. A lot of Polish industry was destroyed this way, especially in the early 1990s.
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