The Rise and the Fall of the Berlin Wall Many hardships began for Germany when World War II began, but by the end of the war Germany was in the mists of a disaster waiting to happen. After WWII was over Germany found itself split between France, the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, each country controlling a zone. Berlin, which was surrounded by the Soviet Union, was also divided into four sectors. The Soviet Union was in control of half of Germany, and it happened to be the East half of the Germany. The Soviet Union made East Berlin the capital of East Germany.
The other three counties were each in control of a small part of what was to be West Germany. These three countries decided that they would come together to form one country out of their three sectors. Those three sectors formed West Germany (The Division and Unification of Germany 1). After all the land was divided the Soviet Union controlled East Germany. Just like the Soviet Union, the economy in East Germany was struggling to get back on its feet after the war. While West Berlin became a lively metropolitan area like many American cities, East Berlin became what many thought of as a Mini-Moscow.
In East Germany there was literary nearly nothing. The shelves in the stores were nearly bare, and what was there was of bad quality. Under the dismay of the people of East Germany, the Soviet Union went against their promises, and made East Germany a Communist country. This decision by the Soviet Union even further separated East Germany from the rest of Europe. East Germany was now all by itself, and by the summer of 1952 the border between East and West Germany was closed; only in Berlin the border was still open. On June 17, 1953 the worker of East Germany were fed up, and they started a riot (Berlin Wall Timeline).
By noon the riots had escalated and the workers from East Germany were marching through the Brandenburg Gat into West Germany with intension to consolidate with workers from West Germany. All of this came to an end when the Soviet Union called in tanks, and other troops to take care of the riots. The Soviet tanks shot into the crowds of people killing many, and injuring many others, they even shot into the crowds in West Germany that were rioting (The Division and Unification of Germany 2). The people of East Germany realized that they were trapped in East Germany, and if they wanted out they would have to risk their lives in doing so. In the late 1950 s approximately 8, 000 to 10, 000 people from East Germany left and each day they would move further and further west. Many of these people were from East Berlin, and the government of East Germany knew that they couldnt afford to loose all of these people.
Their economy was suffering already, and with the loss of so many people the economy would be doomed. Many of the people that were leaving were skilled trades men, or members of professions. East Germany did not have any ideas on how to stop all the people from leaving in droves, until some person came up with an idea to build a wall so high, and so booby-trapped that no one would try to get over the wall (The Division and Unification of Germany). This idea, thought up by some unknown person became the infamous Berlin Wall. This infamous symbol of the cold war was built on August 13, 1961 (Berlin Wall Timeline). It stunned people from both East and West Germany.
Workers from East Germany that worked in West Germany were separated from their family that night, and they were separated for years. The Berlin Wall was 96 miles long. It consisted of 67 miles of concrete segment wall which was four meters high, 42 miles of wire mesh fencing, 65 miles of anti-vehicle trenches, and 79 miles of contact or signal fence. There were 302 watchtowers, and 20 bunkers (Facts About Berlin Wall). Many people are mistaken and think that it only divided East and West Germany. The wall did not only divide Berlin through the center and all around the outer part of the city, it was built on the border between West and East Germany, from the Baltic Sea southward through the center of Germany all the way to Hildburghausen.
From there it went east toward the border of Czechoslovakia. When building the wall, houses were tore down, and replaced with mined strips and watchtowers. At this time the people of Berlin new it was more than just their worst nightmare, it was reality (Facts About Berlin Wall). The people of East Germany were trapped in East Germany. There was no way to see relatives or anything for that matter on the west side of the wall. The people of West Germany were granted permission to go to the East side of the wall, but could not take anything with them.
They were allowed to stay for only a week, and could only do this a couple times a year. As I talked to my German roommate who lived in West Germany, he told me about all of the hardships that the people in East Germany went through. He visited East Germany and he told me about all of the hassle he had to go through just to see friends and family. He said he believes it is as bad as being in prison. He also told me that no one could trust anybody. He said best friends would be torn apart because they didnt know if the other could have been a spy.
He told me that he heard that 1 out of every 6. 5 citizens of Berlin were spies, and if someone was caught talking about the government they would be severely punished (Knorr). The people of East Germany knew there was nothing they could do, so they tried to live their lives as best they could. Occasionally someone would try to get through to the west, and would either be shot, arrested, or sometime make the escape to freedom.
In all around 5000 people made it to the west, around 3200 were arrested trying, around 160 were shot in killed trying, and around 120 were shot and injured by trying to make that escape to freedom (Facts About Berlin Wall). Years past and nothing changed, the East Germans still had no freedom. In the mid 1980 s there was a beginning of change in the relationship of East and West Germany (Bowman 38). The Cold War was coming to a gradual end. Mikhail Gorbachev, who was then the leader of the Soviet Union, said that his country, and the world were in need of reform. After Gorbachev got his point across to many people, and even many government officials you could see the end of the Cold War was in close sight.
By September 10, 1989 the Hungarian government had opened the border for the East German refugees. This was a big step for the East Germans freedom. On October 6, 1989 East Germany celebrated its 40 th anniversary of statehood. Then just two days later thousands took the streets shouting no more violence! and join us join us.
Then a group of people that spoke for all of East German citizens said: We, the people, demand: 1. ) The right to free access of information. 2. ) We demand the right to open political discussions. 3.
) We demand the freedom of thoughts and creativity. 4. ) We demand the right to maintain a plural ideology. 5. ) We demand the right to dissent. 6.
) We demand the right to travel freely. 7. ) We demand the right to exert influence over government authority. 8. ) We demand the right to re-examine our beliefs. 9.
) We, the people, demand the right to voice an opinion in the affairs of the state. (The Division and Unification of Germany 4). After this statement by the people of East Germany, the East German government felt obligated to give in to the people. The day then finally came a little over a month later.
On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall was finally opened. The crowds were astounding; thousands of people were at the wall going over to see friends and family that they havent seen for years. The celebrating continued throughout the night, and the next day. On the 10 th and 11 th of November the flow from East to West Germany was eternal. The evening of November 11 th the first concrete slab was taken from the wall, and as this happened the cheers from the crowds were heard from miles away (Ramous). The last step was the opening of the Brandenburg Gate, which was finally opened on December 22, 1989 (Berlin Wall Timeline).
This was the end of the legendary Berlin Wall, and the beginning of the reunification of Germany. During the time of the cold war East Germany went through many hard times, but they had went through hard times before. They did a great job of dealing with all of their hardships. The destruction of the enormous wall that did so much harm to a country that did not deserve it was finally destroyed, and the people of Germany could now live the way they all wanted to live. They could live the live of freedom. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall East Germany has went through a lot of change, and it still isnt easy for all of the people in East Germany (Cooper 57).
But no matter how hard it is for the people of East Germany now, it is better than being alone and separated fro the rest of Europe. Berlin Wall Timeline; web 11/04/99. Bowman, Stephan; Crisis in Berlin, VFW, November 1998; 34-38. Cooper, Belinda; The Changing Faces of Berlin, World Policy Institute; 57-68. Facts About Berlin Wall; web 11/04/99. Knorr, Marco; citizen of West Germany; current roommate; interviewed On 11/17/99.
Ramous, Andreas; A Personal Account of the Fall of The Berlin Wall: The 11 th and 12 th of November, 1989; web 11/11/99; 1-6. The Division and Unification of Germany: The Fall of the Berlin Wall; web 11/11/99; 1-5. All Academic articles or sources have an after them. Works Cited Berlin Wall Timeline; web 11/04/99. Bowman, Stephan; Crisis in Berlin, VFW, November 1998; 34-38. Cooper, Belinda; The Changing Faces of Berlin, World Policy Institute; 57-68.
Facts About Berlin Wall; web 11/04/99. Knorr, Marco; citizen of West Germany; current roommate; interviewed On 11/17/99. Ramous, Andreas; A Personal Account of the Fall of The Berlin Wall: The 11 th and 12 th of November, 1989; web 11/11/99; 1-6. The Division and Unification of Germany: The Fall of the Berlin Wall; web 11/11/99; 1-5. All Academic articles or sources have an after them.