History of the Berlin Wall (1961-1989)

History of the Berlin Wall (1961-1989)
The Berlin Wall which was built in 1961 is a real symbol of the Cold War. This 28-mile wall separates East Berlin controlled by the Soviets and West Berliners supported by the Allies.

Parts of the border are tightly guarded, even around the walls coated with barbed wire and minefields.

With the construction of this wall, Germany is automatically divided into two. East Germans who used to work in West Germany or vice versa could not work in the previous place. Similarly, families living on two different sides cannot meet.

About 191 people died trying to cross into West Berlin and around 5,000 were more successful. The existence of the Berlin Wall itself lasted for thirty years.

Background to the Construction of the Berlin Wall

After World War II ended, Germany fell in Allied and Soviet Influence. The Allies established their influence in the western part of Germany, while the Soviets in the east.

In May 1949, a West German government was formed with the capital in Bonn. Meanwhile, on October 7, 1949, a communist East German government was formed with a capital city in East Berlin.

Entering May 1952, the border between the two regions was closed. Only the border between East and West Berlin is still opened and is the only main gate of traffic from the two regions.

In the years between 1949 and 1961, around 2.5 million East Germans fled East Germany and entered the West, including an increasing number of skilled, professional and intellectual workers. Their presence is feared to destroy the economic viability of the East German country. On the other hand, the East German government was also worried about the entry of capitalism from the West German region.

In response, East Germany built a barrier to close East German access to West Germany. The barrier was first built on 12-13 August 1961, as a result of a decision issued on 12 August by East German Volkskammer.

The first original wall was built of barbed wire and cinder blocks, then replaced by a series of 5 meter high concrete walls which were topped with barbed wire and guarded by watchtowers, gun cannons, and mines.

In the 1980s, the Berlin Wall was electrified and expanded 28 miles (45 km) across Berlin and then extended by another 120 km to separate all East and West Germany.

The fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall symbolizes Cold War in Western Europe. This separation between the two regions caused a huge gap in prosperity.

In general, the population of West Germany is more prosperous and free than the population of East Germany. As a result, East Germans tried to cross the barrier.

About 5,000 East Germans managed to cross the Berlin Wall (in various ways) and reach West Berlin safely, while another 5,000 were captured by East German authorities and 191 others were killed during the breakthrough attempt.

The wave of democratization that hit eastern Europe, resulted in the fall of communist rule in East Germany in October 1989. On November 9, 1989, when the Cold War began to subside in Eastern Europe, spokesmen for the East Berlin Communist Party announced the opening of borders with West Germany (including West Berlin )

The opening of the barrier was celebrated with joy by the German population. More than 2 million residents from East Berlin visited West Berlin in a week to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.

With the opening of this wall, the inhabitants of East Germany could freely travel to West Germany. Then the wall ceased to function as a political barrier between East and West Germany until it was finally destroyed. West and East Germany itself finally united on October 3, 1990.

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