The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall - Konrad H. Jarausch

Important Vocabulary Words From The Video


An impassable barrier is a barrier that is too difficult or impossible to cross. A wall that is impassable is too high or too thick to get through.

  • The bridge was destroyed by a storm, and so the barrier to the city was now impassable.
  • The war has caused so much destruction that the barrier to the city is now impassable.

When you stake something is to put it in front of or beside you to protect it. You might stake your claim on a piece of land by standing in front of it.

  • He staked his claim by planting a flag in front of his house.
  • The company staked its claim by releasing a new product.

To be disloyal is to be disloyal to your country or to your leader. Someone who is disloyal might go against their government or their leader.

  • He was arrested for being disloyal to the government.
  • She was fired from her job for being disloyal to her supervisor.

A watchtower is a structure that is used to watch for enemies or for other dangers. They are usually built on top of a hill or a mountain, so that they can see a lot of territory.

  • The watchtowers were built to watch for invaders.
  • The watchtowers were built to watch for bandits.

When someone defects, they switch their allegiance from one side to the other. This can be a political defection, a religious defection, or a defection in any other kind of war.

  • The soldier defected to the opposing side, and now he's fighting for them.
  • He defected from the church, and now he's a atheist.

To tarnish something is to make it dirty or defective. When you tarnish a reputation, you make it difficult for someone to be trusted or respected.

  • He tarnished his image by cheating on his exams.
  • The new paint is going to tarnish the wood furniture.

Pragmatically means in a practical way. When you say that something is pragmatically impossible, you mean that it's not possible in a way that is practical or realistic.

  • The project is technically possible, but it's pragmatically impossible because it would require a lot of money and resources that the company doesn't have.
  • The proposal is technically possible, but it's pragmatically impossible because it would require a lot of time and effort that the company doesn't have.

To defuse a situation is to calm it down. When a bomb is about to go off, the bomb squad has to defuse it by removing the detonator.

  • The bomb squad was trying to defuse the bomb before it exploded.
  • He tried to defuse the situation by apologizing.

When two groups of people are reunited, they are finally able to be together again after being separated for a long time.

  • The refugees were finally reunited with their families after being separated for months.
  • The two groups of animals were finally reunited after being separated for years.