The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer, pronounced [bɛʁˈliːnɐ ˈmaʊ̯ɐ] ()) was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989.
Nov 09, 2019 · The Berlin Wall: Blockade and Crisis . The existence of West Berlin, a conspicuously capitalist city deep within communist East Germany, “stuck like a bone in the Soviet throat,” as Soviet ...
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Berlin Wall, barrier that surrounded West Berlin and prevented access to it from East Berlin and adjacent areas of East Germany during the period from 1961 to 1989. The system of walls, electrified fences, and fortifications extended 28 miles through Berlin and extended a further 75 miles around West Berlin.
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- A Divided Germany and Berlin. At the end of World War II, the Allied powers divided conquered Germany into four zones. As agreed at the July 1945 Potsdam Conference, each was occupied by either the United States, Great Britain, France, or the Soviet Union.
- The Economic Differences. Within a short period of time after the war, living conditions in West Germany and East Germany became distinctly different. With the help and support of its occupying powers, West Germany set up a capitalist society.
- Mass Emigration From the East. Outside of Berlin, East Germany had been fortified in 1952. By the late 1950s, many people living in East Germany wanted out.
- What to Do About West Berlin. With the support of the Soviet Union, there had been several attempts to simply take over the city of West Berlin. Although the Soviet Union even threatened the United States with the use of nuclear weapons over this issue, the United States and other Western countries were committed to defending West Berlin.
Two days after sealing off free passage between East and West Berlin with barbed wire, East German authorities begin building a wallthe Berlin Wallto permanently close off access to the West. For the next 28 years, the heavily fortified Berlin Wall stood as the most tangible symbol of the Cold Wara literal iron curtain dividing Europe.
The end of World War II in 1945 saw Germany divided into four Allied occupation zones. Berlin, the German capital, was likewise divided into occupation sectors, even though it was located deep within the Soviet zone. The future of Germany and Berlin was a major sticking point in postwar treaty talks, and tensions grew when the United States, Britain, and France moved in 1948 to unite their occupation zones into a single autonomous entitythe Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). In response, the USSR launched a land blockade of West Berlin in an effort to force the West to abandon the city. However, a massive airlift by Britain and the United States kept West Berlin supplied with food and fuel, and in May 1949 the Soviets ended the defeated blockade. By 1961, Cold War tensions over Berlin were running high again. For East Germans dissatisfied with life under the communist system, West Berlin was a gateway to the democratic West. Between 1949 and 1961, some 2.5 million East Germans fled from East to West Germany, most via West Berlin. By August 1961, an average of 2,000 East Germans were crossing into the West every day. Many of the refugees were skilled laborers, professionals, and intellectuals, and their loss was having a devastating effect on the East German economy. To halt the exodus to the West, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev recommended to East Germany that it close off access between East and West Berlin.
On the night of August 12-13, 1961, East German soldiers laid down more than 30 miles of barbed wire barrier through the heart of Berlin. East Berlin citizens were forbidden to pass into West Berlin, and the number of checkpoints in which Westerners could cross the border was drastically reduced. The West, taken by surprise, threatened a trade embargo against East Germany as a retaliatory measure. The Soviets responded that such an embargo be answered with a new land blockade of West Berlin. When it became evident that the West was not going to take any major action to protest the closing, East German authorities became emboldened, closing off more and more checkpoints between East and West Berlin. On August 15, they began replacing barbed wire with concrete. The wall, East German authorities declared, would protect their citizens from the pernicious influence of decadent capitalist culture.
The first concrete pilings went up on the Bernauer Strasse and at the Potsdamer Platz. Sullen East German workers, a few in tears, constructed the first segments of the Berlin Wall as East German troops stood guarding them with machine guns. With the border closing permanently, escape attempts by East Germans intensified on August 15. Conrad Schumann, a 19-year-old East German soldier, provided the subject for a famous image when he was photographed leaping over the barbed-wire barrier to freedom.
In the West, the Berlin Wall was regarded as a major symbol of communist oppression. About 5,000 East Germans managed to escape across the Berlin Wall to the West, but the frequency of successful escapes dwindled as the wall was increasingly fortified. Thousands of East Germans were captured during attempted crossings and 191 were killed.
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The Berlin Wall has long since disappeared from reunified Berlin. Memories of it, however, are still very much alive: remains and traces of the former border installations are being preserved for posterity, memorials have been built, and the Berlin Wall Trail allows you to explore the former course of the Berlin Wall on foot or by bike.
Berlin Wall. Introduction. In post-World War II Germany, the Berlin Wall was erected on August 16, 1961, along the demarcation between the eastern sector of Berlin controlled by the Soviet Union, and the western sectors occupied by the United States, France, and Great Britain. East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was a ...
Nov 05, 2019 · The wall was eventually built in 1961 because East Berlin was haemorrhaging people to the West. media caption The BBC reports from the scene as the Berlin Wall goes up
The relationship between the former wartime Allies, although tense from as early as 1942, became increasingly strained as they struggled to reach agreement on the shape of post-war Europe. By 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union had begun to emerge as ideologically opposed 'superpowers', each wanting to exert their influence in the post-war world. Germany became a focus of Cold War politics and as divisions between East and West became more pronounced, so too did the division of Germany. In 1949, Germany formally split into two independent nations: the Federal Republic of Germany (FDR or West Germany), allied to the Western democracies, and the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany), allied to the Soviet Union. In 1952, the East German government closed the border with West Germany, but the border between East and West Berlin remained open. East Germans could still escape through the city to the less oppressive and more affluent West.
It was under the constant surveillance of armed East German border guards who were authorised to shoot anyone attempting to escape into West Berlin. By 1989, the Wall was lined with 302 watchtowers. More than 100 people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall over the course of its 28-year history. But the Wall was just one part of the larger 'inner German border' that separated East and West Germany, and hundreds more were killed trying to cross other fortified border points.
Western media inaccurately reported that the border had opened and crowds quickly gathered at checkpoints on both sides of the Wall. Passport checks were eventually abandoned and people crossed the border unrestricted. East and West Berliners came together in celebration. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the first step towards German reunification. The political, economic and social impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall further weakened the already unstable East German government. Germany reunited on 3 October 1990, 11 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Berlin crisis of 1961, Cold War conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States concerning the status of the divided German city of Berlin. It culminated in the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961 and the solidifying of Soviet and NATO spheres of influence in Europe.