Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. November 9, 2014 celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall.

The Berlin Wall was a physical wall that divided East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. It was also a symbolic wall that separated democracy and communism.

After the end of World War II in 1945, Germany was divided into four zones, each section was controlled by the United States of America, Great Britain, France, or the Soviet Union. There was a similar distribution of the capital city of Berlin. While there was a plan for reunification of Germany, the relationship between the Allied Forces and Soviet Union deteriorated as the Cold War progressed. This resulted in the three zones occupied by the United States, Great Britain, and France to combine into West Germany against the Soviet led East Germany. This also happened in Berlin. However, the city of Berlin was geographically in the location controlled by Soviet Union. Hence, West Berlin was like a small island surrounded by Communist Easy Germany.

West Germany being capitalist was supported by the Allied Nations and it being to grow economically. In fact, it experienced such a rapid growth that it was called an "economic miracle." It also experienced the freedoms of democracy. However, East Germany, being the spoils of war, was being ravaged and oppressed by Soviet Union. This caused many East Berliners to flee into West Berlin. By 1961, around 2.5 million East Germans migrated to West Germany, many through Berlin.

On August 12, 1961 around 2,400 crossed into West Berlin, the highest number in a single day. That night, the Premier Khrushchev gave the order to close down the border for good. A wall was then created separating East Berlin and West Berlin. Beginning that night itself, a makeshift barbed wire and concrete block wall was built in less than 2 weeks. Over time, this wall was replaced with a 12-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide wall of reinforced concrete. It was also topped with an enormous pipe that made climbing over nearly impossible. In order to discourage the refugees even more, the East German side of the wall had a “Death Strip.” This Death Strip consisted of soft sand to show footprints, floodlights, vicious dogs, trip-wire machine guns and patrolling soldiers with orders to shoot escapees on sight.

Before the wall, people could easily move through East Berlin and West Berlin. Many people often commuted in order to work, to shop, to go to the theater and the movies. However, that all changed after the wall was built. No one was allowed unless under very special circumstances and they have to pass through one of the checkpoints.

As the Cold War was coming to an end, the communists were starting to give way a little. On November 9, 1989, a spokesman for East Berlin’s Communist Party announced that starting at midnight that day, people could leave and cross the country’s borders. That weekend, more then 2 million people from East Berlin visited West Berlin in what was called “the greatest street party in the history of the world.”

In addition to just crossing, many people brought hammers and picks to literally knock away parts of the wall that symbolized their imprisonment for so long. Eventually, the entire wall was knocked down and Berlin was united for the first time since 1945. On October 3, 1990, almost one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany were also officially reunified. On November 9, 2014, the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Add new comment

Plain text