Philosopher George Santayana once said, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This quote is an eloquent way of saying, "Don’t do it, it hasn’t worked before, so why try again?"
Despite all the warnings we’re given, humans are defiant and stubborn creatures, that will do as they please. Sometimes, they’ll go as far as claiming they’re going to build a wall along their country’s border and insist that Mexico will pay for it.
While Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been filled with a lot of laughable propositions, his most ridiculous one by far is exactly that – building a barrier along the Mexican-American border, as a way to prevent illegal immigration. Trump also insists that Mexico will pay for this wall.
But to be fair, Trump isn’t the only person in the history of the world who believed in building a barrier as a way to prevent conflict.
In fact, Emperor Qin Shi Huang of China and the German Democratic Republic also thought walls were the way to solve external conflict. Despite all their hopes, both of these vast and costly structures were failures. Why? Here, let's paint a detailed picture as to why the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall were both a hot mess.
Why? Here, let's paint a detailed picture as to why the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall were both a hot mess.
There once was a dude who went by the name of Emperor Quin Shi Huang. Around third century B.C., Huang noticed that he had a problem on his hands – Barbarian nomads. Okay, maybe this problem wasn’t so tiny...
This group of Barbarian nomads always felt the need to enter the Chinese Empire, so he decided to build a wall to prevent them from both visiting and staying.
But the Barbarians weren't the only annoyance the Chinese Empire had. As soon as Emperor Quin Shi Huang passed away, several frontier tribes gained control of northern China. Still, the biggest enemy the Great Wall of China faced was world-class Mongol Genghis Khan.
Not only did Khan establish the Yuan Dynasty, but he eventually controlled all of China and parts of Asia and Europe. Once he acquired his desired territory, he didn’t have much use for the Great Wall of China. After all, it didn’t have any military purposes for the Mongols.
Sorry, Emperor Quin Shi Huang, not only was the wall a complete waste of money and didn’t keep your enemies out, but they didn’t appreciate your architecture as well. Major buzzkill.
However, if there’s any concept that is strikingly similar to Donald Trump’s wall, it would definitely be the Berlin Wall.
Such as in Trump's suggestion, the Berlin Wall was primarily used to prevent immigrants fleeing from Eastern to Western Germany. While Communist leaders claimed that this wall was meant to prevent fascists, history has proven that was a load of crap.
Also, as you can imagine, this wall cost bank. Not only did it include electric fences, but a load of guard towers along the structure. Though more than 100 people fell victim to this wall, thousands of people found a way around the structure. While some were daring enough to climb over the wall, others got crafty and dug tunnels underneath it. A few used hot air balloons to fly into West Germany.
President Ronald Regan famously encouraged Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down the wall." Whether or not Regan was fully responsible for Gorbachev’s decision, the end of the Cold War was nearing and the Soviet leader needed to make change fast. The Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989.
Since history has a tendency to repeat itself, Donald Trump’s wall would probably be a disaster.
To start, Mexico refuses to pay for the wall. As much as Trump insists that country will only need to pay a one-time fee and threatened to cancel visas for Mexicans visiting America, Mexican Treasury Secretary Luis Videgaray said they won’t pay for the structure under “no circumstance.”
More importantly, people will find a way around the wall, as both the histories of the Great Wall of China and Berlin Wall have proven. If a person wants something bad enough, they will go to great lengths to achieve their goals.
America is a land of opportunity and was intended to be a safe haven for immigrants. Immigrants crave new opportunities, which is why many of them will take such huge risks to come to the United States. The fabric of our country is immigrants, we’re the "melting pot," for the love of God!