From 1945-1989, the city of Berlin was the dividing line between two hostile camps.
West of Berlin lay a coalition of capitalistic liberal democracies spearheaded by the United States – to the East laid a string of communist totalitarian dictatorships dominated by the Soviet Union.
When exactly modern capitalism emerged is a subject of academic debate, but by the beginning of the industrial revolution the most advanced economies in Europe began to transition away from government-backed mercantilist monopolies and towards private ownership of major business enterprises. The expansion of private enterprise was concurrent with a philosophical movement known as the Enlightenment, which emphasized the importance of individual reason and insisted that people could and should make important decisions for themselves rather than being dictated to by a central authority.
These ideas were associated with the rise of scientific rationalism and political liberalism, and the inchoate elements of this new capitalistic model were most pronounced in areas such as Great Britain and the Netherlands, both of which began to experiment with forms of representative democracy. While the system had been acted…