For within the Soviet sector, the Allies
For twenty-eight years, the Berlin Wall separated friends, families, and a nation.After the second World War in 1945, the victorious Allies, the US, Britain, France,Russia divided Germany into four sectors, each under the control of an ally. The US,British, and French Sectors combined to form a democratic state, The Federal Republic ofGermany, or West Germany.
The Soviet sector became a communist state, The GermanDemocratic Republic, or East Germany, on October 7, 1949. A barrier now separated east and West. Winston Churchill named this barrier theIron Curtain. Even though Berlin lay deep within the Soviet sector, the Allies thought itbest to divide this metropolis.
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Therefore Berlin was also divided into four sectors. Againthe US, British, and French Sectors combined to form West Berlin. The Soviet sectorbecame the East German capital, East Berlin.The governments of these two new countrieswere set up by the occupying forces, not the populous.
Most of the residents of EastBerlin and East Germany did not like the communist regime. In fact, most people wereThe Berlin Wall, though not part of the iron curtain, was a reminder of it. Thewall was made of steel, cement, and barbed wire fences with traps and explosives.
Therewere guard towers with machine guns and other weapons. It was almost impossible tocross this barrier without the communist government’s permission. Conrad Shuman was a nineteen year old border guard when he witnessed familiestearfully separated. He realized he was not protecting his country, but imprisoning itspeople. Three Days after the border was closed, he leapt to freedom. The people of East Germany became dissatisfied with the economic and politicalconditions of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Private trade was outlawed, aswas the ownership of private land.
People were forced to work on collective state ownedfarms. There were food and supply shortages. Onehundred-sixty thousand refugeescrossed the border from East Berlin to West Berlin between January and the beginning ofAugust of 1961 in search of a better life. This upset the East German government and theSoviet countries. (East Germany was a Soviet satellite, but was of special interest toNikita Kruschev, the Soviet premier of that time ordered the Berlin wall built tostop the flow of refugees. The GDR began building what they called “the anti-fascistprotection wall” on August 13, 1961, using barbed wire and anti-tank obsticales.
However the East German citizens were still escaping. The GDR added tanks atimportant streets some supplied by the red army. They tore up the streets to use theThere were many escape tunnels dug under the wall. The tunnel system was anextraordinary resistance movement dug by hundreds of East Berlin students withthousands more willing to help. The first successful tunnel was in an East BerlinGraveyard.
Mourners brought flowers to a grave and then dropped out of sight. A womanwith a baby accidentally found the tunnel and escaped leaving the baby carriage. Thepolice found the carriage and closed the tunnel. The largest tunnel was in the basement ofa house at number sixty Wernerstrasse, twenty-nine people were freed from this location. On August 23, 1961, the GDR stopped the subways, the railroads, and thetelephone lines going to West Berlin.
The people of East Berlin were no longer allowedto enter West Berlin, including the sixty-thousand workers who worked in West Berlin.However East Berliners still managed to get out. Some of them bribed their way out withcigarettes and money. After some people managed to scale the wall, there was a ban onOn September 20, 1961, the GDR began to demolish all of the houses near thewall.
They began construction of a more permanent concrete wall. When completed thewall was onehundred-sixtysix kilometers long, and an average of four meters high,topped with concrete tubing and barbed wire. Behind the wall was a trench to stopvehicles. After that was a patrol track with a corridor for watch dogs, watch towers, andbunkers. Behind that was a second wall.
This area of no man’s land cut offCheckpoint Charley was the main crossing point for the American sector of WestBerlin. It was sixhundre-eighty feet west of the Brandenberg Gate. On October 27, 1961,the Unites States sent tanks, jeeps and soldiers to Checkpoint Charley go guarantee USDuring the twenty eight years the wall was standing, over five thousand peopletried to escape. Over one-hundred died in the attempt. most were shot by the GDR borderOn August 17, 1962 near Checkpoint Charley, Peter Fechter, age eight-teen, wasshot down and left to bleed to death by the border patrol as he tried to climb over thewall. After Peter’s tragic death, riots broke out in West Berlin, and the West Berlinersbegan to resent the Americans for failing to help the bleeding youth. This prompted USPresident John F.
Kennedy to visit Berlin to ask East Germany and the USSR to tearThe Wetzels and the Strelzycks secretly purchased many small amounts of nyloncloth. They made a hot air balloon large enough to lift four adults and four children.Close to midnight on September 15, 1979 they drove to a deserted field and took off.Twenty three minutes after liftoff the gas burner died ant the balloon fell. Soon theyrealized that they had triumphantly landed on West German soil. After their escape,purchases of lightweight fabrics were limited in East Germany.
The beginning of the end of the German Democratic Republic and the Berlin Wallwas when Hungary (another communist state) opened its doors to the west. Migrationbetween Communist states was unrestricted, therefore, East Germans would go from EastGermany to Hungary and from there to West germany, or any other Western EuropeanThere were large demonstrations in Leipzig on Mondays. East Germany began toreform. On November 9, 1989 at about 7:00 PM, the leader of the East Berlin communistparty, Gunter Schabowski, announced that the boarder with West Berlin would be openedfor “private trips abroad”.
Wall “woodpeckers” started to use hammers and chisels toknock out pieces of the wall. Shortly thereafter, a massive emigration of East berliners toThere were mass celebrations at the important places in both cities, including theBrandenberg Gate and Kurfstendam in West Berlin. On November 10, 1989 and later onDecember 22, 1989 checkpoints were opened for pedestrians at Potsdamer Platz and theBrandenberg Gate. Finally on July 1, 1990 East and Wast Germany were united. Theyassumed West Gernamy’s old name, The Federal Republic of Germany.
All restrictions,travel and otherwise between East Germany and West Germany were dropped. The entirewall was taken down except for the areas of historical importance such as the section infront of the parliament of Berlin and the places with graffiti artwork. The reunification of Germany was a great victory for the German people and thenations of the west.but the Berlin Wall has left economic and emotional scars that canonly be healed by the hard work and understanding of generations to come.Finally, my research found many residents of the GDR who welcomed theCommunist Government both during the time the wall was up and to a greater extentimmediately after reunification when unemployment and inflation in East Germanysoared, it remains our conclusion that most East Germans did not like the communistregime. In support of this position is the fact that while thousands of people tried to crossthe wall from East Germany to West Germany and over one hundred people died in theattempt, there does not appear to be a single case of anyone climbing the wall in the otherdirection.
Overall the arrising and destruction of The Berlin Wall proved to seperate twonations, but overtime brought those nations from being allies to comrads.Bibliography: